Meet the Exotic Yoga Retreats Team: Lauren Lalita Duker, Client Relations

Image by Paige Eden.

Image by Paige Eden.

Here at Exotic Yoga Retreats, we want traveling with us to be a one-of-a-kind, unique experience.  One of the most wonderful aspects of joining an Exotic Yoga Retreat is the interaction you have with our wonderful team of experts.  

From the moment of your first inquiry, until you say goodbye to the new friends you’ve met on a retreat, it is our goal for every interaction you have with all of us at Exotic Yoga Retreats to be a reflection of our values.  

As part of this, we want you to get to know our team!  This month, we are featuring Lauren Lalita Duker, Exotic Yoga Retreats instructor and client relations leader.   Read this interview with Lauren to learn more about her yoga practice and style, and some insights into who she is and what she’s all about. 

Lauren with flowers-Paige-Eden.jpg

Exotic Yoga Retreats (EYR):  Lauren!  We are so excited for our Exotic Yoga Retreats clients to get to know you a little bit better.  First, tell us about how you got started with yoga. What inspired you to begin practicing?

Lauren: I have always been enchanted with the mysteries of existence: the deepest reaches of space, the smallest particles, the origins of existence, the nature of consciousness. 

Those yearnings led me to an undergraduate education in physics at an engineering university. To ensure that all of us nerdy types exercised, the college required gym class for everyone. Eventually, the college partnered with a local yoga studio and let us get our gym credits there. I jumped at the chance; anything was better than timed miles and push-ups. 

You see where this is going, I fell in love with yoga. My tension headaches disappeared. I loved the breathing exercises and the post-yoga euphoria. Enthralled, I delved into the philosophy that underlies the practices of yoga. Ancient yogis had asked those same questions about God, the universe, and the human experience that had inspired me since I was a child. 

When I tell people that I left physics to teach yoga, they say, “Wow, that’s a switch!”  But it wasn’t, really. Yoga is the internal exploration of the universe, the microcosm held within the macrocosm. I’m still enchanted! 

EYR:  We are so excited you will be teaching on retreat this year, beginning with our Holiday retreat at Xinalani in Mexico.   Which traditions and practices influence your teaching?
Lauren:  My physical asana practice is inspired by Anusara Yoga and the Bowspring method, the perfect antidote to the postural tuck and slump of modern life. My spiritual tradition is one of bhakti (devotion) in the Shiva-Shakti tradition of my guru, Shree Maa of Kamakhya. 

EYR:  You have a wide variety of yoga knowledge, both the physical and the spiritual.  How do you bring all of this knowledge to bear on retreat? 

Lauren:  I approach our yoga on retreat like a story. Every retreat is a unique confluence of energies of the place and the humans who come together in an evolving transformative journey. Everyone has their own part to play.  

EYR:  And when you teach a class, what do you hope your classes leave in the minds, bodies and hearts of your students?

Lauren:   I aim to make my yoga classes into a moving meditation. My classes journey into the realms of body, mind, and spirit in whatever way the student most needs at that moment: sometimes a bright and awakening energy or, at other times, a calming and restoring vibe. 

EYR:  That sounds amazing- and exactly how we want to feel at the end of class.  We can’t wait! Now, to get to know you a little bit better. We love to use some of the questions from the Proust Questionnaire, which was popularized by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist. Proust believed that through answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.   Are you ready for some of life’s big questions?

Lauren:  Absolutely! I love big questions! 

EYR:  First off, what is your idea of perfect happiness?

Image by Paige Eden.

Image by Paige Eden.

Lauren: A hike out to a beautiful place in the wild, then lounging around on a blanket with my journal. 

EYR:  Yes, that sounds amazing!  What is your greatest fear?

Lauren: Ah, the wonder and magic of life fading. 

EYR:  What is your greatest extravagance?

Lauren:  Air travel. In a changing climate, it’s such a luxury that I can’t quit. I hope they make electric planes soon. 

EYRWhat do you most dislike about your appearance?

Lauren:  What I dislike most about my appearance is that I sometimes dislike parts of it! My labor of self-love is to rewrite those old stories that say my appearance is anything other than whole, complete and perfect. 

EYRYes!  We adore this message of body positivity and self-love.  Thank you! What’s your current state of mind?

LaurenMellow, expansive, ready 

EYR:  Getting to work with you every day, we can definitely appreciate these things- particularly your mellow-ness!   OK- Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Lauren:  I’m a frequent, loud laugher. Also probably every other text message I send says “hahaha!” 

EYR:  You are a terrific laugher!  And can laughter ever really be overused?  Ok, a deep one. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Lauren: Thriving in the face of a disaster. In the wine country fires of 2017, my house and everything I owned burned down, my job burned down, and my partner of over 3 years left me. All within 8 days! Those events hurled me into an epic cycle of growth and transformation that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Given the choice, I’d take the fire again. 

EYR:  Wow.  What an incredible achievement indeed, and an important insight about the growth and transformation that comes along with some of our greatest challenges.  Thank you for sharing that! Now, what or who is the greatest love of your life?

Image by Paige Eden.

Image by Paige Eden.

Lauren:  My partner, Jeremy! I could write volumes, but what astounds me the most about him is his seemingly infinite capacity for love.

EYR:  Awww- and he’s lucky to have you!  We love this one: When and where were you happiest?

Lauren: Last year, I had this incredible month traveling to a remote goddess temple in Assam with my teacher. It was a wild, wonderful ecstatic journey. Every day I would wake up and say, “Is this my real life? Is this the happiest I’ve ever been?” The joy just kept expanding

EYRWhat an amazing adventure; we are so glad it brought you such joy.  What do you most value in your friends?

Lauren: Joy, depth, passion, and playfulness

EYR:  And finally- do you have a personal motto?

LaurenYum! My favorite author,Tom Robbins, says, “There are only two mantras. Yum and yuck. Mine is yum.”  

EYR:  What a great note to end on- Yum!  Thank you so much, Lauren, for sharing so much about yourself with us and with our Exotic Yoga Retreats Family.  We are so lucky to have you as a friend, colleague and teammate! And, we hope our clients get to meet you somewhere exotic in the world soon.