Lauren Chaitoff

Lauren Chaitoff

When did you start practicing yoga and why?

I was fortunate to have been introduced to the practice of yoga during my college years.  I initially practiced yoga for the physical conditioning and as a form of workout. Similar to many young girls in college I suffered from an eating disorder and poor body image; yet, there was something about yoga class that was uniquely different than all the kickboxing and spin classes that I also participated in at that time.  My yoga teacher was gentle and kind, and did not push me to achieve a certain goal, which in hindsight were important values in a teacher as I familiarized myself with the practice. Each week I looked forward to that Thursday yoga class. It was a safe, non-judgmental space that I craved, which enabled me to make yoga an essential part of my life.

What got you hooked? 

After college I moved to Los Angeles and fully immersed myself in my yoga practice throughout gyms and studio venues across the City. It was a Vinyasa class at Crunch Gym on Sunset Boulevard where I really got hooked to the practice. There was a fantastic teacher named Will and his class was a strong Vinyasa Flow, which ultimately became a moving meditation for me. After each class I left feeling a clarity of mind and ease in my heart and I knew I was obsessed!

Where did you do your training?

I completed my teacher training at YogaWorks. I was in the first training that Chrissy Carter ever led!  (I actually told her a few weeks ago that I had no idea I was in her first training.) Chrissy was so knowledgeable and such a fantastic instructor that I thought she had been teaching for years! 

Tell me about the studio you currently teach at.

I am the founder of Yogi Beans, a kids yoga company based in New York City.  During my teacher training practical I was told that I have a lot of energy, and that I may want to "tone it down for a class."  It was well-meaning constructive criticism; however, yoga is about honoring your authentic self. Rather then tone my energy down I thought to utilize and apply my gifts for my highest creative endeavors and to the benefit of young-minded people and families alike. This is where the idea to teach yoga to kids sprouted from.

What’s your favorite pose and why? 

Triangle pose. It just feels so good!  

What advice would you give someone looking to get into yoga? 

Find a teacher who resonates with you. Don't give up if you take a class and don’t love it. Try another class with a different teacher or try another style of yoga.

What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level?  

Change it up! Try a style you’ve resisted in the past.  If you are someone who loves Vinyasa perhaps take an Iyengar or restorative class and vice-versa. Do what scares you or what you resist – that’s the only way to grow!

Anything else you want to share? 

I am primarily a kids yoga teacher and I remember when I first began Yogi Beans someone I respected averred that kids yoga was a "gimmick."  The comment really stung. Yes, kids yoga classes are certainly different from adult yoga classes. For instance, a three year old is not going to hold Vira II for five breathes. However, the concepts we teach are ageless, highly personal, and so important for the development of kids. For example, in every Yogi Beans class we teach that "yoga is a practice – not a perfect;" and we introduce the mind-body-heart tools of yoga and mindfulness. Our programs enable kids to experience and explore learning techniques that are inherently noncompetitive, and offer methods of regulating their physical bodies, managing their mental faculties, and fostering happier and healthier people.