Say YES to life!

Saying yes to life is living with your arms wide open. 

It's a word that contains the possibility for magic to rise from. 


It doesn't mean we say yes to a person or project we don't feel aligned with - we must practice discernment so we can say yes with clarity and courage to follow the things that sets our soul on fire.

It's about trusting in the goodness of life - the unconditional opportunities and abundance. 

It requires us to accept all aspects of life - without rejection or fear of the places that are uncomfortable or unknown.  

When we live from this space, we welcome the ebb of flow of our existence - we can be fully aware and engaged, yet maintain a healthy and expansive perspective, knowing that all things flow within a natural state of expansion and contraction. 

This is a moment to moment practice of welcoming in the flow of Shakti, or the creative power and force of life within and all around us.

Awakening Shakti brings us deeper into our connection to that which is higher than ourselves, so we may see life as a Divine lesson, guiding and teaching us all that we need to know, in order to help us realise our potential. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

My Sweet Spot: Bali


Bali is breathtaking and diverse in landscapes, cultures and the people its attracts.

The island is unique with roughly 90% of the population Hindu followers. The familiar (good) scents of India - the burning of sandalwood and nag champa mixed with the sultry breezes of fresh flowers follow you down the streets. As you explore the island, you weave through sidewalks lined with small poojas - banana leaves, incense and other offerings for the gods. These poojas are such small, yet profound reminders of why I love the Eastern cultures and their practices. In Bali, these simple rituals hold deep meaning and remind us of our potential to connect with the Divine in any moment.

Besides the beauty of the local culture and ancient traditions, this island is a hotspot for those looking for a diverse paradise to play, create, learn and simply be within. 

Below are my favorite things about Bali and my top suggestions to include in your journey!

1. Get lost in Ubud:

Ubud is a magical, bustling little town filled with locals and foreigners who are both a part of a rapidly growing eco-friendly community. It's become a hub for creativity, attracting a blend of travelers, healers, artists and everything in between. It's eclectic and bohemian vibe has put it on the map as one of the most inspiring places in the world. It's abundant with cozy cafes offering high quality organic plant based food, juices, smoothies and sweets. Rich with art and culture, yoga studios (with internationally recognized teachers) and ample wellness spas, boutiques and funky bars, Ubud is one of the most diverse places to get lost in. Minutes outside of the hustle and bustle of the center, you are surrounded by pristine nature - rice paddies, jungles and lush gardens are immersed within ancient temples and ruins. 

Stay: You can easily stay at one of the hundreds of home stays (most families live in little complex's off the main roads with gorgeous courtyards and gardens, and often rent a private room with bathroom to guests) which is a nice way to stay reasonably in the heart of Ubud. There are also many beautiful boutique hotels and bohemian style eco-resorts for all sorts of budgets.

Eat: Kismet, Kafe, Soma, Bali Buda, Down to Earth, Lotus Cafe, Anomali (coffee) Seniman (coffee), Gaya Gelato stand and so many more!

Yoga: Yoga Barn for classes, workshops and trainings: live kirtans, Tibetan bowl meditations, estatic dance parties, Ayurvedic & holistic healing workshops, and so much more! 


The Green School is world famous as it is built out of 100% sustainable resources (mostly Bamboo) and focuses on teaching children life skills, awareness about the earth and academics. Watch the TED talk here.

Gunung Kawi Temple is nestled deep in the rice fields are the ancient ruins of the temple. You can spend hours here enjoying the landscape and soaking up the peaceful energy.

Tirta Empul Water Temple is a prominent complex of water temples, rich with sacred and holy mountain spring water. 

2. Chill out in Bingin' Beach:

Bingin' is a stunning beach with dramatic views from limestone cliffs, overlooking the brilliant blue Indian ocean. Bingin' is a surfers paradise with world class waves that go on for miles. The town is still somewhat sleepy which appeals to those looking for somewhere quiet and serene to spend vacation time. There is just the right amount of artists and funky shops, high quality food and local Warungs, as well as chill out cafes and bars to soak up the sunset from. Bingin' is slowly becoming more widely known for more than its surf as an enchanting place which attracts a diverse blend of travelers and tourists. 

Stay: You'll find a blend of small boutique resorts, private villas and guesthouse bungalows, which are walking or scooter distance to the beach. My top favorite is The Temple Lodge is a beautiful hidden gem. This boutique hotel is unique with it's rustic Balinese charm - old doors and artifacts painted soft pastels and lush gardens give off a dreamlike vibe. The Temple Lodge sits high atop a cliff with a pristine pool overlooking the unmatched sea views and volcanoes in the distance. The hotel boasts relaxation and well-being with daily yoga, healthy food and peaceful grounds. 

Yoga: The Temple Lodge

Eat: The Cashew Tree, Kelly's Warung, Drifter, La Baracca, Bukit Cafe, Single Fin, Coco & Poke, and so many more!

3. Sunset at Uluwatu Temple:

This mystical temple is perched on the southwestern tip of the peninsula, atop sheer cliffs that drop straight into surf below. With an arched entrance, adorned with statues of Ganesha, the walls inside are covered with intricate carvings of Bali’s mythological creatures.

The views of the endless swells of the Indian Ocean from cliffs are expansive and soulful. At sunset, walk around the clifftop to the left (south) of the temple to more quiet and less busy areas of the temples and soak up the setting sun.

4. Play in Canggu:

This up and coming beach village is mixed with sophisticated spa resorts and boutiques, as well as earthy and chilled cafes, yoga spaces and surf shacks. It's a mecca for surfers and sun-worshippers, and has a thriving culture of chic venues, bars and parties offering a lively and creative vibe that attracts a diverse mix of travelers. 

Eat: Betelnut, Canteen, Crate Café, Milk & Madu, Watercress Cafe

Yoga: The Practice, Samadi Bali

4. Bliss out in the Gili Isles:

These pristine isles lie off the coast of Bali (2 hours by boat) and are known as the 'banana pancake trail' by travelers, because they are small, flat and filled with banana trees. These islands are truly unspoiled and feel like a hidden paradise, as there are no cars or motorbikes, only bicycles and horse drawn carts. Bask in the sun, snorkel and dive, practice yoga or lounge in a hammock - these islands are made to relax and invite you to nourish by doing little or absolutely nothing at all!

Gili Meno is quiet and the most basic out of the three islands, with incredible snorkeling directly off the beach - turquoise waters & colorful red, blue & yellow corals entice the eye. 

Gili Trawangan is more lively, with lots of backpackers and beach parties.

Gili Air is a blend between the two - not the full bustle of Gili T, but not the simple and minimalist vibe of Gili Meno. For many it's just right!

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Live within Magic


The more we choose to look for the good and see the beauty, the more our lives become infused with magic.

It often requires us to slow down enough to truly notice, experience and embrace the small moments and transitions of our day to day experience. 

And when we do, we awaken to deeper connection and meaning. Life becomes sacred, even during the seemingly mundane.

It’s through our own personal experience of this Divinity that we feel it within the rest of the Universe. 

We can embrace and move towards living life open to the potential of a consciously co-created space where magic arises from.

And it doesn’t always have to be grand or idyllic - often the most magical moments are free because they are created by your willingness to see and feel.

For me it’s listening to the sounds and song of the birds and allow my imagination to run wild with their message...feeling the sunshine on my face and let its vitality be a guide throughout the rest of my day...tasting each flavor of my food and visualizing it nourishing my body...or simply returning to my breath and reminding myself of my life force.

The truth is, we are each our own Universe, complete with millions of magical moments, just waiting to be felt in the body and dreamed up in the mind.

It only takes minutes to remember that life is full of beauty - that we are rich in creative potential and mystical beings infinitely supported by the vast web of life.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

22 Reasons to get Unstuck

1. Your health. That's an easy one-- if your body machine is breaking down each day can feel like a struggle. What if I told you that you can affect your health just by shifting your thoughts? 


2. Your purpose. You're passionate about something. Either that something just popped up in your heart and you felt a pang of excitement, or you're shaking your head claiming you have no idea what lights you up. Either way, aligning your life with your passions & purpose is the fastest path to abundance. What are you waiting for?

3. Your authentic gifts. If you think that JUST YOU arrived to the planet without special talents you're a nut. If you haven't discovered them yet it just means you're restricting the flow, not that they don't exist. How amazing would it feel to honor your authentic gifts? 

4. Your family. Want to make a real difference in the lives of people you love? Fill your own tanks first so you can overflow. Be an example they can look to, not a critical voice. Getting out of your own way also invites your spouse, partner, children, parents, siblings, etc. to step into their personal power too. Are you ready to massively influence the lives of those you love?

5. Your community. Once you impact your family, they start to influence the people in their lives too. All of a sudden the lights have turned on in you, your family, their friends and family, the community, the town, the state, the country, the world. This is how we start a revolution! Change begins within you first. Did you know changing the world simply started with loving yourself first?

6. Your bank account. Oh snap, now we're talking. It's easy to think that 'rich' people are selfish-- but in actuality and by definition, if you're struggling financially and only able to think about yourself.. that can be selfish. When you don't have to worry about your finances you can start to see beyond your own situation and overflow into the lives of other body machines who need help. The only way we're going to change the world is if we all start to see beyond our own situations. How wonderful would it be to not have to worry about money anymore? 

7. Your love life. You attract what you emit. Want to find the sexiest, smartest, most loving, most outgoing, most charismatic, wealthy, healthy partner? You gotta be there first. Then, it's Law. The Universe HAS to reciprocate according to the energetic Law of Attraction. Life is so sweet when shared with someone you love-- ready to find them?

8. Your sex life. Intimacy is near impossible when you're in your own way. Confidence and vulnerability are prerequisites, and both of these are not characteristics of someone that's in their own way. This life is meant to be a sensual experience. There's no coincidence that orgasms feel good-- they're meant to feel good and you're meant to enjoy them. When you learn to relax and let go in your own body, you get a 1-way ticket to Abundance Land. And as you know, once you arrive to abundance land everything you want and need is within reach. 

9. Your deep friendships. Again, you can only attract what you emit. For the longest time I thought that friendships were a fluffy concept and that it made me 'strong' to be able to survive alone. Now I see that the quality of my friendships directly correlate to the heights in which I am brave enough to rise. You deserve deep love, deep trust, deep partnership-- and you have to be there first to attract those types of friendships. When you start this journey of self-discovery you'll become a magnet for others who are also on the path. How high will you rise with true friends by your side?

10. Your hope and faith. No progress can be made without hope and faith. Hope and faith allow us to believe before we see the 'proof'-- and, as we know, we're conscious creators so our thoughts of belief are the seeds upon which the next reality can grow. It's freaking hard to believe in a better life for yourself when you're stuck in the dark fog of Lack Village. How powerful would you feel if, regardless of your situation, you had a way to tap into your hope and faith to attract something new?

11. Your happiness. You know joy is my jam. I have such reverence for the power of joy because I lost my joy for a long time. I thought punishing myself was the path to success-- and not only did I dislike the journey, but I never reached my destinations. Happiness is available regardless of the balance in your bank account, your relationship status, or the number on the scale. So often we toss our happiness away to other people and things, are you ready to reclaim your happiness?

12. Your clarity. I can be broke AF, sick, tired, alone and scared shitless-- but if I have clarity about what to do and where to go, I can have hope for a greater tomorrow. Do you want clarity around your next steps and how to get there? Do you want to know how to get back to clarity when you're overwhelmed? 

13. Your time. We can't stop the clock but we can surely manipulate how we take up space in every moment. Most of us feel victim to our schedule instead in of a creator of our reality-- what do you wish you had more time for?

14. Your curiosity. There is so much to see, feel, taste, touch and hear on this magnificent planet. The more we explore, the more we fill our tanks with the majesty of pure existence. Curiosity is the fuel for continued growth and expansion. What are you missing out on?

15. Your confidence. Self-esteem and empowerment provide the foundation for so much of *the good stuff*. When you're confidence in who you BE (not what you do), deep connection is available to and with the nouns you love. When you emit power, you attract back the biggest, boldest manifestations you desire. What could you accomplish if you believed in yourself?

16. Your quality of sleep. A good night's sleep can greatly influence the quality of your days. When you trust yourself and the big U, there's no need for sleepless nights. 

17. Your energy. The stakes are high-- you're manifesting more of what you're emitting. If you want to keep attracting more of what is, then by all means-- carry on! If you're ready for something new, you must think and be something new. What do you want to attract? How do you want to feel? 

18. Your vitality. Feeling sluggish and foggy has become an expectation because we've been taught that life is hard and exhausting. Really, you're sluggish because you're swimming upstream. When you start to flow with the current, tiredness is a result of a life well lived, not a habitual result regardless of how much you sleep. How would it feel to have loads of energy to give to your work, your partner, your children and/or your passions?

19. Your trust. 'Titanium trust' (as my friend Amber calls is) is the most powerful component for change. Learning to believe before you see is the only way to create something new. What do you trust? Do you trust yourself?

20. Your new opportunities. If you are no longer an energetic match for your reality, new opportunities will pour in. If you're ready to receive, the Universe will flood you with new people, places and things that match your greatest desires. It's only when we restrict our possibilities that the opportunities cease to present themselves. What new opportunities do you want to see in your life? 

21. Your impact. Whether you positively effect one person or 1 billion people in your lifetime, your influence is invaluable. How do you want to impact your family? How do you want to impact your community? How do you want to impact humanity? 

22. YOU! There is only one of you that'll ever exist on this planet in the history of humanity. You were born to reach your highest heights and the only thing stopping you from taking the first step right now is... you. The great news is all you have to do is make the choice to surrender and all will start shifting.


TORY DUBE is a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is the founder of Tory Dube Holistic Health (formerly 'Hotchickpea', founded in NYC). Tory writes for several health publications, is a children's book author, hosts international wellness retreats, and works with clients around the world. Follow her here:

Step into the fire of your Heart

It's far better to live your own path imperfectly, than to live another’s perfectly.

― The Bhagavad Gita



I believe we are all seeking more liberation.

We want to be free from oppressive energies and have a healthy sense of autonomy to express our individual nature with authenticity. 

We want to live a creative existence, connected to our passions to bring more joy and purpose. 

And at the core of our being, we want to live a simple existence, aligned with our own bodies rhythms and nature's cycles. 

These are some of the underlying Universal currents that pulse life with reason, meaning and well-being. 

They're a recipe that lead us to living a more fulfilled existence and awaken us to our capacity to live in harmony. Life is not meant to be an overwhelming game of survival with constant stress. At our essence, we are illuminated beings, born to thrive in every way!

Living from this place of harmony requires a deep commitment to our personal growth. We must stay open and willing, and hold the ability to self-reflect. We have to believe in ourselves and the magic of the Universe, to trust in the unconditional support that is always abundant within and around us. And with commitment and consistency, we are guided forwards one step at a time, and can expand into places we didn't even know were possible.

The process of personal growth is aimed at leading us to who we truly are, beyond any fears, doubt or limitations.

Our true nature is a loving, soulful being that has passions, pleasures and purpose. And our highest Self yearns to share our creative gifts with others to positively impact the world.

The more we connect to these aspects, the more we live in alignment with ourself and unique calling, our Dharma. When we move closer to this purpose, we become lit up - revitalized and radiant from an inner fire that burns bright within our Spirit.

Life becomes a sacred existence rich with opportunities for greater freedom... 

This freedom is felt from a deep connection to Self and the ability to make empowered choices. Our capacity to treat our physical, mental and emotional bodies with respect and love, directly impacts how we move in the world and our experience of it. 

I didn't know it, but when I first began yoga I was seeking greater freedom...

At the time, I had little understanding of my eco-system as a whole - I felt disconnected to my true desires, myself as a woman, and to my creative purpose. I felt trapped and lost living in a system I didn't feel supported by, and for a long time, reacted by defying everyone and everything that tried to put boundaries on me. I identified as a rebel wild child and denied my own inner voice, which so desperately wanted to be seen and heard. My teenage years were filled with destructive behaviors and addictions. 

And as unhealthy as this time period may have felt, it was exactly what I needed to awaken... 

In life, we will always experience situations that don't serve our highest Self (and will throw us out of alignment) in order to learn the best way forwards for the future. These parts of our journey are to be embraced and acknowledged as normal and very necessary. 

Often the moments we feel trapped, lost, and confused express themselves in uncomfortable ways to show us signs that we are not living in harmony with our heart. These moments have potential to be a catalyst for growth and transformation, if we listen.

When we do, we usually enter a phase of deep purification, which can literally feel as everything we once thought to be true is no longer valid. This serves as a clearing to make space for new information, ideas and actions to arise.

At 19, I finally listened to the signs of destruction and stepped on my yoga mat for the first time. I was opened to a practice which led me to more clarity and spaciousness. From this place I could better receive the wisdom my Soul embodied and hear the clarity of my inner voice who sang with desires to live an existence with greater freedom in my body, mind and heart. 

The pivotal shift came after I graduated University when I chose to learn more about yoga and explore the world. I wanted time to discover my own gifts, and the thought of job searching brought a heaviness to my heart. Instead, I bought a one way ticket to India to volunteer at a yoga retreat. I listened to what I felt would ignite my Spirit and as the Universe always provides, I was supported to expand into parts of myself I didn't know existed. My own values, dreams and health began to fall into greater balance and led me to follow a path of lifelong study, practice and teaching. 

But first, I had to listen within and take a leap of faith to follow an inner calling that burned bright...

And to be honest it was the first time I truly felt free. 

Ironically, I had only a few hundred dollars in my bank account, was living in a plywood hut shared with six Nepali boys and had a small backpack with some belongings. I had no idea what would come of the experience, but I felt immense freedom from making an empowered choice, guided by my own inner voice which sparked a new wave of enthusiasm, passion, vitality, creativity and love.

Fast forward years later, and my life looks slightly different from the outside in regards to my intentions, values and vision - however the practice remains the same. 

Each day I choose to see the opportunities of how I can live more freely, and ask myself the following questions: 

How can I nourish my body and mind to stay connected to its wisdom? 

What empowered choices can I make to live in more alignment with my highest Self? 

How can I be of service to those around me and the Earth? 

Often the answers that arise are simple. They come as little reminders to follow my path, one day at a time...

My hope is that we all see the vast (and simple!) support systems available to live in greater connection with our own hearts.

Every moment is an invitation to receive our inner guidance, directing us to fearlessly take the next leap of faith and rise into who we are meant to be. There is never a better time than now!

May we continue to commit to our paths and aim for our highest visions, awakening the inner fire of the heart!


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

10 tips for leading Retreats

Retreats are beautiful spaces to immerse ourselves in nourishment. Healing happens through yoga, nature, food, rejuvenation, knowledge, seclusion and community — essentially retreats are a ‘time out’ of our daily lives and a ‘free pass’ to devote every moment to ourselves. 

As a teacher, being able to create these sacred spaces for students is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences. 

So when do you know if your ready to lead your own retreats? 

Well, here is the big secret, you’re never ready unless you ARE ready. Being ready means feeling confident in what you offer as a teacher. It doesn’t matter the style of yoga, level of experience or amount of minutes you can sit in meditation…if you can 100% authentically deliver and express your teachings to students in a safe, accessible and inspiring way, then you have something valuable and worthwhile to share with the world. 

If you feel strong, healthy and empowered as a teacher then read through my simple tips which can help you organize and share your best possible self on retreats. 

1. Have integrity: What is your intention behind leading a retreat? Sure, retreats are a great way to experience new cultures and also give yourself a break from daily routines (yes, teachers have loads of fun and relaxation on retreats too!), but never plan a retreat with ulterior motives because ultimately it should be about sharing your practice and dedication with others. Know as a teacher that leading retreats is much more than a gorgeous place in the world and a suntan…it is an opportunity to experience, learn, grow and challenge yourself.

2. Activate your Pita (inner fire and organization!): Planning retreats takes a minimum of 5 months. Give yourself 1 month to create your retreat - choosing a theme, solidifying the venue and putting together your marketing. You will then need a minimum of 4 months for promotion leading up to the retreat. Use Google Drive so you can easily access and update your documents - your retreat plan, contracts, expense and student booking form and marketing files. Highlight most retreat details on your personal website and create a more personalized and detailed PDF which you can send to potential students when they inquire. 

Attention to detail, consistency and organization from the first day of your planning will only help to ensure smooth the behind the scenes work and actually retreat is smooth and enjoyable.

3. Finances: When you are planning your retreat, work out your personal costs and calculate how many students minimum you need for the retreat to be financially and energetically successful. Give yourself a deadline before the retreat (one where you won’t lose out on the full deposit for the venue) in case you need to reassess your logistics or postpone the retreat for a later date. Overall, start small and begin with a retreat where you only need 4 students to cover your costs so you can be sure the retreat will take place.

4. Choose wisely: One of the biggest aspects of your retreat is where you will host it, this includes which part of the world and in which type of venue. What you want to offer, what feels authentic to you and your student demographic should all determine your selection.

The options for creating a unique retreat which aligns best with you are endless. 

Choose a theme and create a program that are personalized and will interest students. Instead of simply ‘Hatha', why not offer ‘Hatha and deep relaxation through yoga nidra', ‘Hatha and art to boost creativity’, ‘Hatha and sacred circles to tap into your hearts true desire’ — give students something unique to remember your retreat by! 

Offer a retreat in the same way you would enjoy one. It should be an experience that is well-rounded with different practices and plenty of extra touches. Most of the time these ‘extras' are free, all you need to do is get creative - think juicy savasana adjustments, fresh flowers, tibetan bowl meditations, meditation walks, communal circles.

Knowing your unique theme and who the majority of your clients are will help you to narrow down your options of where in the world to host your retreat in and which type of accommodation to look for (basic, comfortable or luxury.) 

My first retreat I ever hosted was in Costa Rica (a country known for its nature, yoga and beauty) at Nautilus Hotel, which I knew would appeal to a broader demographic as it was in between basic and luxury. It was a comfortable and affordable (in relation to other yoga retreats in Costa Rica) boutique hotel, with charm and in a quiet location minutes from pristine beaches. One of the reasons why I chose to host my retreat at Nautilus was because it was family run and I personally connected with the owners. It was obvious that they were committed to helping my retreat be a success with their attention to detail, flexibility in meal preparation and consistent communication. I chose to support Nautilus because they have similar ethics and standards. It is important that you feel good about the place where you are hosting your retreat, and trust that they want your retreat to be as successful for you as it will be for them. 

Hosting your retreat at a well known venue can also be helpful in bringing students as they already have a student base and websites with very high google rankings. Most often they will help with marketing (promote on their own website and social media) and will naturally attract guests as they will have trusty clientele who continue to invest in holidays year after year due to the high standards. Note that while most of these retreat centers (while beautiful) may be much more expensive which means a higher overall retreat price. 

5. Be proactive: This is one of the most important (and sometimes most scary) aspects of leading a retreat - how to ensure you will have enough to make it financially and energetically sustainable? Even if you have a steady clientele of students, they may not be in the position to go on a retreat during the dates you offer, so don’t count solely on them. Look for ways to promote locally within your community to potential students who may be able to personally meet with you and/or come take a class before signing up for the retreat. From my experience, 75% of students on retreats know you somehow through a friend, family member, coworker, etc. Of course there are many useful websites (just to name a few,, which act as yoga search engines and can expand your demographic beyond your local yoga scene. Look for sites which have high traffic and will also market for you on their social media pages. 

Whether you enjoy it or not, self promotion can be extremely useful. Social Media is a great tool to connect and reach a more personalized demographic - people who may contact you because someone they trust knows you and/or your yoga. Although it can feel like an uncomfortable ‘ego boost’ to post about your personal events, when done with genuine enthusiasm, there is nothing wrong with these posts. Personally, I would much rather my newsfeed be filled with inspiring cultural/spiritual events than negative status updates, so I actually appreciate when a friend shows excitement about their own hard work and shares it on their social media. 

Building an ‘online foundation’ for yourself is key. Not only using social media, but investing in a website for yourself is vital. A website is a landing page which essentially becomes a live portfolio and peek into your career and lifestyle. A website gives you professional credit and can be showcase your teachings in a unique and creative way. Website builders like Squarespace are user friendly (for both designers and users) and has my vote for simple, clean and fresh templates. Using high quality images are key in creating a site that is visually appealing and professional. Tory DubeNora WendelMeg Jamison are a few recommended designers who can help to create you online presence.

6. Be professional: Always maintain a professional attitude towards this ‘getaway’, but work to find the balance between being the coordinator, teacher and friend. Retreats are overwhelming and entail lots of organization from the moment you begin planning. Students require your attention and efforts before, during and after the retreat - make sure you are ready to support them with minor details such as arranging travel before hand via email, or on the mat when they open up and may share personal stories and experiences. Be present and tune in. Step back from your ‘leading role’ as often as the group allows, and enjoy the community dynamic without always feeling as if you need to be ‘center stage.’

7. Plan a schedule: But be willing to alter it, everyday if need be. Planning for a retreat is absolutely necessary to ensure you are clear in what you plan to offer, which brings essential stability to the program. This will automatically send signals to your students, telling them to trust you as their guide, sit back and fully relax. However, be ‘flexible’ in your program (mind!) to change timings, classes, activities and even themes once all of your students have arrived as a group and the retreat is in full swing. Know that being in a group community people naturally reflect one another’s energies. Keep in mind that any immersion into yoga (detox from daily comforts, change in routine and environment, etc.) will act as a cleanse and be transformative for people. Depending on their frequency of practice and health, it is natural to have students feel as if they have hit a ‘breaking point’ or struggle as they work through deep rooted blockages. When your students arrive to their mats feeling exhausted, know its your job to gently guide them into yoga nidra and skip ‘awakening the core’ for another day, or maybe even another retreat. Be incredibly intuitive and let go of your own ego and expectations for what you thought you ‘should’ offer. Instead, offering students what they truly need moment to moment is a natural gift of wisdom, and one which any true teacher embodies. 

8. Expect the Unexpected: Flight delays, illness, injuries, grumpy and hard to deal with participants — I have heard all kinds of stories from friends who have been leading retreats for decades, and have even witnessed many of them myself. As the teacher (leader) you must not be swayed by any of the ‘negative’ circumstances. Maintaining your inner strength, focus, determination, compassion and pure love is key, especially during circumstances that are challenging. If you truly believe that each experience happens for a reason, then you should easily integrate these real life problems (even when in paradise on retreat) into teachings…ultimately moving any darkness out and making room for more light.


9. Grab a friend :: A great way to dive into the world of leading retreats is with a trusty friend! Even better if it is someone who has had previous experience leading retreats or is a mentor to you. The most important factor is that you have a healthy relationship with this person and value what they can offer your students. Clearly map out your professional ideas and roles to ensure you have a similar vision. It is vital that you respect each others unique teaching styles and personalities, while finding a balance to fuse your differences together to offer a more specialized retreat (why have 1 amazing teacher when you can have two!?) 

Co-leading retreats are extremely useful in terms of reaching a larger network and can help to take off some of the pressure as you will ultimately have a larger network, more time and double the amount of energy. And the best part of leading a retreat with another teacher? You give one another unconditional support throughout, and at times, the opportunity to learn and enjoy the retreat through the eyes of a student.

10. Stay positive :: While retreats are immense amounts of hard work and effort, be ready for the hard work to pay off in the most rewarding ways, and be prepared for them to happen at any random times. Usually these are the most simple and profound moments that remind us of why we do what we love - seeing your students completely blissed out during savasana, witnessing the group bonding over nourishing foods, or a long nurturing hug from a grateful participant. 

Still overwhelmed? Start locally! Even if you are confident to lead an international retreat, take the opportunity to organize a retreat locally. At the time when I hosted my first retreat, I was living in Costa Rica. It was important that I could visit the area and hotel where I held my retreat so that I could personally feel confident giving my students advice. Since I knew what to expect, I could easily translate this to students, giving them a sense of security before they even arrived. 

By planning shorter long weekend retreats closer to your home, you can advertise through local studios, grow your network of students and build a foundation. This foundation gives you experience which leads to trust in you as a teacher, allowing you to make smoother transitions when leading groups to new parts of the world you may not have even explored yet. 

Remember! Stay open to suggestions, feedback and ways on how to improve every retreat. This will help you to transform your retreats so each one can be more smooth, enjoyable and an in depth experience. Think back to your very first yoga class you ever taught - and now fast forward to your most recent class you've taught - witness your personal growth. Know that just as your classes have evolved, your retreats, too, will organically grow and flourish over time with patience, effort and dedication. 

Go into each retreat you lead (the first or twenty-fifth!) with the same enthusiasm, devotion and passion. 

Embrace the imperfections, be open minded and willing to grow, while maintaining your confidence by staying true to your unique and beautiful self. 

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Sacred Solstice Blessings


The Solstice marks the seasonal turning point of the Universe which reminds us of the essential and elemental duality of life.

All around the world, we have the opportunity to honor the new cycle, whether we are in a Hemisphere that is welcoming Summer or Winter. 
Today represents a sacred opportunity to step into a new threshold, on all levels - physically, mentally and emotionally. 

In Tantric philosophy, the opposing forces of darkness and light are inextricably connected, and both hold equal weight for alchemy. The teachings encourage us to seek liberation within the world, not from the world. From this perspective, we can utilize each experience as a catalyst for our personal growth. 

And as we come to the full circle of our yearly calendar, we have the opportunity to welcome this precious transition with honesty to help us awaken into our highest Self in the New Year. 
Take time to sit with all that you've experienced, learned, accomplished and are feeling grateful for from 2017 and make a list of how you want to feel as you move into 2018. Reflect on what your heart is truly desires and how you can live in greater alignment with your values, intentions and dreams. 

May we clearly see and honor all that we are, both shadow and light. 

May we listen and follow the inner callings of the heart.

May we know the power we each hold to live each day with more freedom and love - and may we remember that by living from this place, we light up the entire world around us.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

If not now, when?


For too long I stayed small, in fear of the life I could live and who I could be. 

I denied myself of my power and heart truths by ignoring the inner voice of intuition, which so clearly knew I would carve my own path. 

Just like you, I am meant to live in alignment with my creative purpose and power. 

I want to love and be loved. 

I crave freedom and adventure, pleasure and play, supportive community and to impact the world positively for future generations.

I desire a connection with my Spirit and the Divinity that guides us all. 

But it can be challenging and downright terrifying to follow these values when we live in a society which normalizes the disconnection to nature, and condones a separation from other human beings. 

From a young age, the majority of us are conditioned and told lies that our authenticity and wildness is too much, our dreams are too big, and living in a space of magic and love is unattainable. 

But I’m here to tell you it’s all bullshit. 

In my 29 short years in this body, I’ve learned that there are many illusions which don’t serve me. 

It’s required me to cut away familiarity and comforts to uncover the depths of what my own version of health, abundance and joy is. 

It asks me to stand strong in my values, despite what anyone else says, and it encourages me to be compassionate with those around me who may not understand my path. 

This journey continues to lead me to the deepest shadows within...but more often it continues to show me the most radiant light I can so beautifully shine with the world.

Many people, places and practices are to thank for guiding me further onto the path of Self-realization, however, I have to thank myself for first listening, believing and following my heart. 

Because the truth is no one can do that for you. 

You are the only one who can initiate yourself into the next stage of your evolution. 

The heart has to be open and the desire clear to move you through the next threshold of consciousness. 

It’s not always easy to speak and live your truth, but I promise it will be the most rewarding and fulfilling decision you’ll ever make.

I’m here to tell you that your desires and dreams do matter. 

I want you to remember that happiness is your birth right. 

I encourage you to peel back the layers to get to know yourself in the most raw, intimate way. 

I dare you to see and feel just how powerful, beautiful and creative you are...inside and out. 

While I believe time is infinite and we have many lifetimes ahead of us, I also feel that there is no time to waste in this precious lifetime. 

If not now, when? 

Now is the time to trust in and surrender to our own heart to support and strengthen the collective heartbeat of the world.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Live from the Heart


Finding your true purpose in life is one of the most illuminating experiences. It is a journey of rediscovery and remembrance...a process of uncovering of the layers, returning to the roots, and allowing your true nature to unfold. 

It's not always the easiest choice to make in the beginning, we have to be willing to leave our comfort zone and all that is known, and be open to trust in the great mystery of what lies ahead.

I found yoga at a time in my life when I didn't know exactly who I was or what I wanted, but I knew that there was something more. I craved deeper connection, freedom, and to wake up everyday in love with myself and the life I created.

So I left everything I knew behind, packed a backpack and bought a one way ticket to India. I followed my desire to explore the world and immerse myself in the practices. I had no idea what would come from the experience, but the deepest part of me knew that if I followed my hearts desires, it would lead me to my path. 

A year later I completed my first yoga teacher training. I was completely inspired by my own growth, that I knew I had to share it with as many people as possible...

The practices of yoga take us on a voyage of self-discovery to awaken us to our greatest potential. It's a creative process that takes time, commitment and trust and often we are the only ones standing in our own way. Yoga helps us to build strength physically, mentally and emotionally in order to feel more alive, clear and easeful in our lives. It reminds us to return to our essence, of who we truly are: what ignites us, what is it that we desire, and how we can be of greatest service to others. 

It's a practice which evolves and is never invites us to surrender and let go -- to become the channel for the life force to flow through as we create and express it in different forms. 

Yoga provides a pathway that leads us to live in alignment with who we are really meant to be -- to treat our bodies with love, to open our minds, and follow our intuition. It's a true practice of transformation and awakens us to our innate power, abundance and love, the forces that are always guiding us. The more we feel this, the more we can share this -- with loved ones, our communities, and those we don't know. By changing our own lives we begin to change the world, one breath at a time. 

What would it look like to follow your heart?



LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Kirsten Merinda

Meet Kirsten, artist, dreamer and creator.


RYB: How and when did art become a part of your life?

KM: I was an artist before I held a brush, from beyond as I imagine this for every one of us.

RYB: How have you seen your art evolve over the years?

KM: Pencil was my first love, as soon as I could pick up a pencil. As an adolescent, I was introduced to oil paint, which then evolved to working with watercolor, encaustic and now mixed media. I have arrived where I always saw my art, which is large scale, expansive, oceanic and celestial.

RYB: Currently, what are 3 themes (or aspects) that are influencing your art?


  • Nature and my dreamworld.
  • The experience of observing the world shift and evolve.
  • Recent risk taking, stepping into new territory and growth.

RYB: What are 3 simple pleasures that always bring you inspiration for your art work:


  • Water, sky and the unknown.
  • Integrating obstacles and gifts.
  • Incorporating natural remedies in my daily self care routine.

RYB: When your not creating art, where can we find you?


  • Homebodying.
  • Creating and painting.
  • In the sunshine and water, either somewhere totally comfortable, or somewhere totally new. I love both stability and adventure and am learning to love every step in between.

RYB: When/how did your love for yoga begin?

KM: During high school, though more intentionally in college. Since then, it's evolved to both a physically active experience as well as real time, real life experience. When I remember to surrender, everything seems to fall into place.

RYB: How has yoga shaped your art?

KM: It shows up as a reminder that we can and do survive and grow through uncomfortable experiences.

RYB: How has your art shaped your yoga practice?


KM: Life is yoga, yoga is art, art is life. They all weave together and feed one another. 

RYB: What is a dream you would like to manifest in the next 5 years? 

KM: Living half of the year in Hawai'i, feeling free and peaceful...and sharing this with the world with my and my husband's other companies, TruthPaste and

RYB: What is the best piece of advice you would tell your younger self? 

KM: Trust yourself. Trust the happy moments and the harder moments. Trust the unfolding. Read and travel and love.


Santa Teresa: a slice of heaven

One of my favorite places in Costa Rica is Santa Teresa which lies on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. It's an enchanting and and eclectic surf and yoga hotspot, located in one of the worlds 5 Blue Zones: a geographical area where people live the healthiest and longest lives. 

Some of the best things to do in Santa Teresa is so soak up the sunshine and local flavours. Bohemian boutique hotels and design shops, organic markets, bakeries and juice bars, wellness centers and surf hostels sprinkle the main street and hidden dirt pathways leasing to the jungle and ocean.

The area is infused with a blend of expats and Costa Ricans, sharing in the like-minded mentality of 'Pura Vida' or 'Pure Life'. It's a unique beach village that creates a dynamic hub for those looking to immerse themselves in an international community who value a slower pace of life, connected to nature and inspired by the energy of an international crowd.

Santa Teresa is truly a small slice of heaven and there's something for everyone! It's powerful energy comes from the raw elements of the wild Pacific coastline, and it boasts a magic in the air from the diverse travelers and creatives it attracts. 

Below are my top suggestions on what to experience while in Santa Teresa!

Sunrise/sunset: The beach becomes a daily playground for health enthusiasts at these sacred transitions during the morning and evening. Surfers, runners, yogis, hula hoopers, dancers and everything in between show up to embrace the greatest show on Mother Earth.

Local organic market: This small market comes alive once a week boasting fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade cheeses, yogurt, natural food products and artesian goods. 

Green World Store: Health food store with superfoods, natural products and fresh produce!

Natutilus/Olam: Stay at one of my favorite small boutique hotels! Nautilus is the perfect size with 6 villas and a cozy garden area, located in one of the best parts of Santa Teresa. They have the most amazing cafe (Olam) with the best salads and smoothies under the sun! Enjoy the entire menu which plant based and curated with heart and intention. Practice in their shala and experience various types of yoga.

Earth Cafe: Cute bohemian style cafe with healthy eats - delicious fresh smoothies, acai bowls and breakfast/lunch options for Vegans/Vegetarians!

Zwart Cafe: A funky little cafe, sprinkled with artwork and a lovely menu for breakfast/lunch.

Katana: Delicious menu of all flavors Asian with many beautiful Vegan/Vegetarian options!

Koji's: Sushi lovers this is for you! A rustic shack which boats a cozy atmosphere and has a menu filled with beautiful, fresh seafood options. 

Bakery: Conveniently located in the heart of the center (near la Crusa) this small but busy bakery has all the delicious treats and coffees you could ever dream of!

Pranamar Yoga Retreat: Stay onsite in their Balinese inspired cabanas, show up for daily practice in their shala or simply enjoy their beautiful fresh plant based menu! Practice with the incredibly seasoned yogini, Nancy Goodfellow, who leads students deep into their heart through a creative flow, mantra, mudra and philosophy. Pranamar is a sanctuary not to be missed.

FlorBlanc: Daily classes in their shala space with Stefano, a charming Italian yogi who will lead you through traditional practices blended with his own unique charisma.

Rocamar: Sunday evenings are great for all ages as they often have a DJ, bonfire on the beach, hula hoopers and games. 

Banana Beach: Lounge in one of their chill outs at sundown with a cocktail, and soak up the beach vibes by doing nothing at all! The perfect spot to unwind. Often they have live music and reggae throughout the week. 

Montezuma Waterfalls: Get lost on an ATV ride through the jungle and arrive in Montezuma with idyllic postcard beaches and coves along with a 3 tiered waterfall with a swimming hole! 

LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures. Read more about her here

The Japa of Teaching

An inspiring and impactful teacher is forever a student.


They hold reverence for these two roles with equal weight, as they go hand in hand and support one another seamlessly.

At certain times we move through one stage more intensely than the other, however, the more we attune to our lives as a continual practice of yoga, we experience the cyclical nature of the two. We see ourselves within the ebb and flow of life, as both the student and teacher, at all times.
It is a continual pulsation of practice, refinement, and growth...

Adihkara (studentship) invites us to 'empty out' and return to the beginners mindset with humility and receptivity. It's an essential aspect of learning, and creates healthy space for us to receive, digest and integrate new teachings.
The power of our personal studentship is directly reflected in our teaching...

How we show up for ourselves in our own practices, is how we show up for our students as their guide. In the same way that our Sadhana requires commitment, presence, intention, enthusiasm and inquiry - our teaching practices are fueled by the strength and love that shines through these qualities. Each time we meet ourselves in an opportunity for self-study, whether it is in a workshop, amidst an immersive training, or in mentorship, we ignite the process and practice of learning which awakens and expands the teachings within us.

From that place of personal experience, the teachings can land within us. As teachers, our duty is to offer our authentic voice - to openly share from our unique spectrum of experiences and allow our innate wisdom to flow through us with confidence, courage and love.

As a teacher I am continually humbled each day by all that I don't know, and at the same time, all that I do know. It's clear that the interplay between these two parallels and the Japa (repetition) invite deep growth and transformation, and is what continues to fuel my inner desire to support others on their teaching journey. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

From Sadness to Self-love


When I tune into the constant heartbreaking news around the world it's easy to slip into self-defeat mode and feel as if I'm not making a large enough impact, fast enough, and like there is no hope for a more conscious, peaceful way of existence. So I sit with the deep pain and allow the uncomfortable sensations to arise in the moments of uncertainty, when I question it all...

For me it isn't fear that arises, but an inner rage that is so fucking angered by the widespread inequality, violence and abuse...and after some time it subsides to a deep, overwhelming and heavy sadness.

I'll let myself be here for as long as I need, but at some point I know I have to drag myself out of the darkest places that my mind can travel to, because feeling sorry for the world isn't going to help it heal. I know I have to take small action in any way possible and integrate back into life...

I turn off the endless news feed and go outside to feel the sunshine on my face.

I make eye contact and strike up a conversation with a stranger, just because.

I have tea with friends who fuel my soul with their loving presence and authentic conversations about spirituality, politics, love and how to make any sense of it all.

I spend time with family who I can count on to make me feel seen, heard and safe.

I unroll my mat and breathe.

I teach and share the yoga practices with others.

I come back to my essence...the part of me that knows and believes that I am here as a change-maker and can make an impact, even during the darkest times, in small ways.

But it all begins within...when I come back to Self care my heart becomes full, clear and open again.

I move back into a state of infinite trust and let gratitude flow through my veins - for the simple things, and for everything.

The teachings that have revealed themselves to me over the past days are ones that remind me to seek the practices that bring us beauty, love and connection, even in times of so much destruction, aggression and turmoil...especially during these times.

Time outs are necessary and healthy, but we must step back onto the path before too long. It's a disservice to the world to feel guilty or shameful for continuing to live our lives. We should start slowly and be gentle with ourselves in the process, but at some point we have to begin again.

The healing of the collective begins within - and every thought, word and action we take in response to the everyday, very real, and often uncomfortable situations in life matter.

It's our duty to take care of our hearts to be brave enough to reconnect to our truths, no matter how far we feel from it some days.

And so I move myself from sadness to Self-love, one breath of fresh air and quiet moments of gratitude at a time...and I repeat within...

My heart is open and strong.

My heart heals those around me.

May I be of service to the world.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Let your light Shine

 Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

From my own personal journey and work around self development, it's become more clear that fear lies at the root of all our illusions. Many of us are afraid to step into ourselves and truly own who we are...our natural gifts, successes, failures and flaws...for the fear of rejection. 
So instead we spend far too much time hiding what we truly want to express, and play it 'safe' so we don't overstep and make others feel uncomfortable. 

But the truth is when dim our inner light, we turn down the lights on the entire Universe. 
The more we share who we truly are with the world and take inspired action towards living the life we've always dreamed of, the more we clear the pathways for others around us to do the same. And while it can feel scary, overwhelming and incredibly difficult to step into ourselves authentically (and own it fully without apologies, shame and guilt) in the beginning, the process becomes easier and easier. Every time you speak or act from a place of truth (love) you unveil a layer and feel lighter, brighter and supported infinitely. 

Your greatest gift to the world is your radiance. 

Let it flood through you and pour out of you to everyone who is fortunate enough to meet you on your path. Pave the way for truth, love and radiance.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

3 Steps to Mindful Eating

 Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Eating mindfully lies in what and how we eat. It doesn't matter whether the diet is vegan, raw or paleo, mindful eating is all about creating a healthy, sustainable diet. Equally as important to the food you ingest is the 'how'  you ingest, and is quite possibly more important than what is being served on your plate. Mindful eating habits nourish your body, mind and soul and help you to digest your food properly, from a place of relaxation and presence. Eating mindfully becomes a powerful practice of self-care. 

Like with any practice, eating mindfully requires continual awareness to create healthier habits. I follow these three easy steps to remember that how I eat is an extremely important part of my diet, and since I love eating, it is also an extremely important part of my overall lifestyle!

The Before

Preparing food is as much a part of the diet as actually eating. Try to spend at least 10 minutes preparing your meals. You will notice that the more thought and energy you actually invest in the preparation of the food, the better it tastes.

Once you have finished preparing your meal – stop! Take a moment and look at your food to be grateful and appreciate it. You can do that in whatever way feels most natural – close your eyes and silently give thanks to the food in front of you, repeat a mantra or take a few deep breaths. Even taking a beautiful picture and posting it on instagram can be your way of showing appreciation and gratitude!

 Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

Photo by Romy Pauline Rinke

The During

From the kitchen to the table, the real challenge is in consciously eating without multitasking.  This means no instagram scrolling, no Netflix on the side and definitely no working on the side. Technology pulls us out of presence, therefor distracting us from our have just prepared a delicious meal, enjoy it wholeheartedly with all your senses!

That doesn't mean you have to be alone to stay present with your food -- not at all! Enjoying food with the company of loved ones is a beautiful way to enjoy your meals. Sharing food with others is one of the oldest traditions and creates a collective celebration of sharing in nourishment and pleasure. 

The After

Finish (and I really mean finish!) your last bite and wait a little moment before rushing off the table! Feel the sensations of your body and filled stomach. It is an amazing feeling – make sure to appreciate it and acknowledge that healthful and delicious food every day is a choice and practice. Healthy food nourishes the body and the way you eat your food has the power to nourish the mind and soul.


Sabrina is on the journey to self-love, self-care and connection. Through Yoga and Meditation she learned how to truly connect with and channel the positivity within. Sabrina balances life between her many passions and desire to make a difference in her own life and those around her. Follow her here

The Core of Growth

 Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

To be vulnerable is to expose and express parts of ourselves without hiding or suppressing them. It requires us to let go of the curated, perfect mask and is an invitation to show up courageously and authentically, with all of our flaws. It requires us to soften the walls of protection we have put up and to trust that we will be received with open arms by our loved ones, communities and the Universe. Although vulnerability often feels like we are taking a massive risk as we leap into unknown territory with no certainty of outcomes, it is the true catalyst to our growth and evolution...

The times we find ourselves most vulnerable and open to feel all of the emotions of our human existence, are the ones which teach us the most. Whether it's traveling outside of our comfort zone, transitioning through a relationship, launching a project, or sharing our story — these moments leave us raw and exposed. Yet through these experiences, we receive some of life's biggest lessons and find ourselves on the other side with more strength, clarity, courage, and wisdom...

The more we take risks and allow ourselves to be vulnerable throughout our life story, the more we heal and find freedom. This comes from the process of vulnerability — learning to have innate compassion with ourselves first and being able to let go of outcomes, building stronger connectivity with others as a result of sharing/living our truth, and from fully embracing each stage of our journey — acknowledging that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

The outcome of vulnerability leaves us empowered and opens us up to more opportunity as we create healthy space in our lives to call in what is aligned, it sparks our creativity as we express ourselves in new ways, and continues to deepen our relationship to ourself as we further discover, accept and love our authentic Self, the one who is perfectly imperfect, always the student, and on a never ending journey of growth. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

How to choose a Yoga Teacher Training

Do you want to further your yoga practice?

  Photo by Alli Baltodano 

Photo by Alli Baltodano 

If so, then you may be interested in doing a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Google the words 'Yoga Teacher Training' and endless listings will emerge. You will find trainings offered in every nook and cranny of the earth, from traditional 'Mysore Ashtanga' to 'Iron Yogi Turbo Vinyasa'. Courses from 2 days to 2 year intensives. Technology is a powerful tool for research and discovery, however, it can be extremely overwhelming when you are looking to invest your money, time and heart into the best training for you. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing any training...

Below are my key aspects to look for when choosing your yoga teacher training. I share this from personal experience after numerous Yoga Teacher Trainings and hope this helps you to begin your journey...

1. What style of yoga should I choose for my first teacher training? 

Hatha. Anusara. Ashtanga. Restorative. Vinyasa. Kundalini. Power. Bikram. Jivamukti. Sivananda. 


These are just a few examples of the most commonly practiced, but the list is endless: yoga comes in all shapes & styles. Most of time time what you are exposed to in your regular yoga practice or studio, is what you will naturally be drawn to for your training. Keep in mind that the practices we avoid may be the most nourishing for our bodies & minds. For example, if you practice power vinyasa without a consistent pranayama or meditation practice, you may be adding tension and stress to the nervous system through too much intensity. On the other end of the spectrum, if your daily practice is more restorative, you may be lacking the energy, agni (fire) or strength that a heating pranayama or asana practice can bring.

The key in any thorough teaching training is balance, just like in our yoga practice. Look for a YTT which is integral and will include different practices and experiences.  

A training which includes multiple teachers is highly recommended as each teacher has their own unique capacities. Often these trainings will bring together a group of teachers who have a common ground for their foundation (for ex: Anusara lineage) however, they will specialize in certain areas - therefore they can convey less information to you, more effectively. For example, an asana teacher can understand anatomy from sensation and intuition, but may not be able to translate it into anatomical terms. Hence, the importance of an anatomy teachers influence and experience specifically in this field.

Most importantly, each teacher will bring their own unique life experiences and perspectives which are a blend from their previous teachers (and thier teachers, and so on!) so that you are essentially learning from many generations. 

*If there is a particular type of yoga you know you would like to specialize in then my recommendation is the same. For example, look for a training which specializes in 'Restorative Yin' (or whatever your interest is) which encompasses multiple teachers and is well organized so you can see the breakdown of the content taught. 

2. What is Yoga Alliance and why is it important?

Yoga Alliance is a non-profit association representing yoga teachers, schools and studios world wide. Yoga Alliance has compiled a certain amount of requirements in order to become 'registered' under their qualifications. YA has become an internationally recognized organization and has helped to create a standardization of trainings. When you take a training recognized by YA you will be certified under Registered Yoga Training (RYT), which will give you traditional and practical education and allow you to teach worldwide.

For example, each 200 hour yoga teacher training which is registered under YA will include:

100 hours of Techniques, Training & Practice: traditional yoga techniques (asana, pranayama, meditation, kirtan, mantra, kriyas, chanting, etc.)

25 hours of Teaching Methodology: communication & business skills, demonstrating, assisting, observation, etc.

20 hours of Anatomy & Physiology: physical bodily systems, energetic bodily systems, etc.

30 hours of Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics: traditional texts, such as the Yoga Sutras and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, student relationships and community, understanding the value of teaching yoga as a service to others, etc.


10 hours of Practicum: practice teaching, observing and giving feedback, etc.

These are the most basic and necessary tools you will need to teach. You do not need to understand it all from the beginning (and believe me it takes years to integrate fully!) but it is important to set up a strong foundation from the beginning. 

*Keep in mind there are many trainings that are not RYT (Registered Yoga Trainings with YA) and may be as in depth and thorough - YA is simply the most internationally recognized and if you plan on teachings in studios, many will require RYT education. 

Should I know one of the teachers before I commit to their training?

Not necessarily, however it is extremely helpful if you, or a friend has practiced with them before. This will give you a sense of security knowing that the teacher is genuine and qualified. I have found that teachers who are older are the ones who are well established in their own practices, have spent time with experienced teachers, and have life experiences to add. This doesn't mean a younger teacher cannot translate the teachings as effectively, but be discerning in who you choose to learn from. The power to share teachings from personal experience (and embody the teachings off the mat!) is the difference between an experienced teacher of yoga, and an experienced teacher of asana.

Experience, authenticity and humility are key factors I looks for in teachers and mentors, and I encourage you to do the same.

There is nothing more inspiring than to absorb the profound philosophies from teachers who have devoted their lives to learning, teaching and living the path of yoga. 

3. Which part of the world should I do my training?

Go with the training that speaks to you. Trust your intuition and follow your heart. Do not take a training in Fiji because you have always wanted to swim in crystal clear waters. Do not train in Mumbai if you hate cities, just because you want the 'authentic' Indian experience. Do not choose a training in your city/state/country because it is the closest and cheapest...

Give yourself time to research and narrow down your options depending on what type of environment nourishes you. Do you learn better when you are in a more disciplined atmosphere? Do you need a location which will enable you to stay in touch with children or loved ones? If you can take time away from your daily routine and life (work, family, friends, internet) then I highly encourage you to do this.

A training should create a space which will aid you in the purification process. 

Give yourself this 'time out' and encourage yourself to be off the grid. Disconnect to reconnect. Part of the challenge and experience of a YTT is traveling to unknown places, both physically and mentally. For many, to complete a training outside of your normal context of life and comfort zone, can help to create more focus and immerse yourself fully.  Ultimately, every ones situation (due to work, children, finances) will be different, so choose the training which feels right for you at this moment in your life.

4. I am new to yoga but I am interested in taking a training, can I?

Of course! There are trainings for all levels, beginners - advanced. A 200 hour Yoga Alliance training is a good place to start. Many people decide to take a YTT simply to further their own knowledge for a self-practice and never intend on teaching. This is completely normal. If you have a strong desire to further your practice and are open to a new experience you will be welcome into any training. Make sure your intention is aligned with the training and not an excuse to travel or feel yoga is a trendy profession you want to pursue. 

Immerse yourself wholeheartedly in the experience and don't look back! 

5. Where do I begin my research?

Online is always available and at our fingertips, but the best thing you can do is get involved personally in your local yoga community. Explore multiple studios/teachers and get to know as many like-minded people as possible. Reach out to experienced teachers and other students who can give you recommendations on teachers and courses they have done in the past. If you are hesitant, treat yourself to a weekend workshop immersion or yoga retreat before signing up for a YTT to experience what it feels like to immerse yourself in the practices.

I'm still totally!

As with any subject you study, the first lessons are an introduction. Your first teacher training can resemble the teeny, tiny tip of an ice berg which leaves you feeling inspired and enthusiastic to explore the rest of the iceberg. It is an endless journey and one that will always evolve depending on the phases of your life. 

An intensive training course can also leave you feeling overwhelmed, as you are suddenly opened to new philosophies and ways of living. It will most definitely encourage you to take a closer look at your current life (relationships, habits, patterns) and become aware of what is inhibiting or nourishing you. The deeper into the yoga journey you go, the more sensitive you become as your awareness moves from the physical to subtle. Remember that everything we need to know is with us at this moment and that our lives are unfolding in perfection. You will absorb whatever it is you are meant to learn/take away from an experience in life (or training course). Trust that with steady practice and a burning desire to awaken your true self, the more the knowledge will sink in and begin to trickle off the mat into all aspects of your life. 

I guarantee that your first teacher training is definitely not your last!

So relax.

Breathe deep.

Enjoy the journey and don't rush the process. 

Stay present to the beauty of studentship and know you are continually learning and growing. There is no 'perfect' yoga teacher and no 'perfect' training so do your best to choose teachers and a training that inspires you in this moment of your life, and let go of the end result.

Walk into any training (your first or fifteenth) with a beginners mind... 

Release any expectations and know that any YTT you do will be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, yet 100% transformational. It will open your eyes to a new way of living. It will help you travel deep within, past your ego and external attachments. It will lead you to reveal the most happy & healthy version of yourself...and ultimately guide you to be of service to others by sharing this positivity and love.

Below are some teachers I know personally, respect deeply and would recommend their trainings in a heartbeat! Others have been recommended within the yoga community and are highly experienced...

Suzanne Faith Yoga

Yoga Arts

Elena Brower

Rachel Zinman

Shiva Rae

Janet Stone

Chris Chavez

Nico Luce

Noah Maze

Sianna Sherman

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Set Yourself Free

 Photo by  Monica Justesen

For too many years I tried to fit into places and parts of society that didn't feel supportive. Phases of feeling uninspired and a loss of direction left me trying to fill myself up with material items, drugs and alcohol, and toxic relationships. These all left me feeling more disconnected, even though I appeared happy and vibrant on the outside (yes, I was awesome to party with, and even won the superlative of second 'biggest partier' during high school!) but in reality it was an illusion...

Deep down I knew what sparked me (travel and adventure, learning about different people and cultures, food, living simply and according to my own rules - a wild child at heart who was happiest barefoot in the tropics) but I didn't have the clarity to focus my energy in the right direction. I didn't feel I could truly live as my most authentic Self.

So I hid myself and identified with the false parts of me, and spent my teenage years living according to who I 'thought' I should be, until I began practicing yoga at the age of 19. It wasn't an overnight shift to sobriety and well-being, but it was the catalyst that excelled my own personal growth and evolution.

Yoga dropped me deep into my body, mind and heart and for the first time I felt the deeper sensations of life...literally high from the experience of moving my body with breath and focused intention. I was surrounded by women who were down to earth, authentic and empowered. My heart was awakened through the mystical traditions of the East that began to answer some of the biggest life questions, that I didn't even know I had...

My soul was sparked and it began to unravel into the most beautiful, raw, and powerful, journey of self-discovery and self-love. 

The practices that continue to bring me closer home to my authentic myself is what I feel called to share. These practices bring me back to what's important and what my values are. They give me clarity, balance and compassion. They help to form my inner compass and allow me to listen to my inner wisdom and truly live from the heart. 

My mission is to support others on their journey of returning to their highest Self through the practices of yoga and holistic living. I want everyone to know they are worthy to create their own life of freedom, authenticity, and love. 

No one is exempt.

It is our birthright to wake up and feel excited about life, and to share our gifts with the world, in whatever way, shape or form that takes. There is no one formula. We are individually crafted beings with a unique soul purpose - like a seedling, it wants to bloom into the most radiant version of you!

I aim to empower others to learn the transformational tools to sustain their health and happiness, in the same way so many incredible teachers and mentors have shown me. Often we are the ones in the way of our own growth and freedom. We put so many limiting beliefs and false identities on our stories. All it takes is one moment, to reach out for help, step onto your mat, take that trip you've always dreamed of, write the book, quit the take the leap of faith and know that your heart wants to be free, and when you begin to listen to what you really desire, the entire world shows up to support you. 

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Yoga, I bow to you

Yoga has been one of the greatest gifts in my is a practice that never ends and continues to awaken and fill my heart more with each passing day. 

Over a decade ago, yoga dropped me deeply into a new path of purpose and meaning...

I was always vibrant and had a love for life, but never felt truly connected to myself - I didn't have clarity to recognize this, so it became much easier to mask it all with partying and ignored my hearts true desires...I did this for many years and followed what was 'safe and comfortable' within my family and society. 

I found myself at University, totally un-inspired by conventional education and focused my attention on waitressing outside of classes, saving all my money to travel abroad during school breaks. It was through travel that I was ignited and I received the most education from the people and cultures I experienced. I had a deep desire for freedom, and traveling to new parts of the world, letting go of who I thought I needed to be, and experiencing life with a new set of eyes brought me closer to the presence I longed for within. These moments were the first signs from the Universe of the teachings.

During this time in University, I learned about a hot yoga studio in town. I knew nothing about it, except for the older, beautiful girls at work (who I looked up to with complete reverence!) said it was amazing and I had to try it. It didn't take much convincing, and at the end of that first class I remember feeling at home in my body, clear in my mind, and completely at my heart. All of which occurred while sober, in a walled room, in the middle of winter, in New Hampshire. I wasn't sure exactly what had happened during those 90 minutes, but I knew the experience was nothing short of awakening and empowering. From that day on, I dove into the practices wholeheartedly.

Fast forward a few years later - a school graduation, plane trips back and forth to India, and I had completed my first Yoga Teacher Training. My personal path begin to unfold with an abundance of enthusiasm and a fierce desire to learn more about myself and life...

Since my first training in 2011, I have followed my inner call to teach, travel, learn, and consciously create a life which is unique to me and brings me joy, passion and purpose. My teaching has been a grounding force which has shifted my own practice on the mat, off the mat. Teaching invigorates every cell in my body and redirects my energy to a path of service, continual studentship and evolution. I am beyond grateful and deeply humbled to share the practices that give me so much strength, grace, love and freedom. 

It hit me exceptionally hard today, after teaching a class in a studio, in the same city where I first came to my mat many years ago, just how grateful I am to be immersed in the practices and teachings. It is one of the most rewarding and soul-filling experiences to witness committed practitioners moving with breath, finding focus and stillness, and leaving the studio with a smile as they go out into the world feeling more at peace within. 

I am honored to share what I love through various platforms and for the supportive global community of freedom-seekers who continues to inspire me to stand in my truth and follow my heart. 

I bow humbly to wisdom of the teachings...I bow to my teachers who have translated them so eloquently...I bow to life's many wild, unforeseen and Divinely timed experiences that remind me of the true practices of yoga, off the mat. 

This journey is never ending and I thank you for being a part of mine at this very moment whether we have practiced together or you are reading this from a far.  It is the highest gift to share and learn transformational teachings from one another and it is through our own individual awakening that the collective consciousness will rise...

May we continue to serve one another as friends, mentors and community of the heart. 

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

5 reasons to go on a Yoga Retreat

 Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

A yoga retreat is a unique experience which supports us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While there are many benefits to yoga retreats, the following five reasons are what keeps me creating these sacred spaces for students:

1. Shift your perspectives

When you physically travel to new locations (even if it is only hours away!) you step out of your comfort zone. Exploring unfamiliar or foreign places encourages you to see the world through fresh eyes and in order to adapt you will need to learn from the people and cultures around you through receptivity, humility and compassion. 

2. Improve your Health

Retreats are designed to aid you with a healthy routine to purify you from the stressors of modern day life. Think deep sleep and cat naps, sunshine and nature, a wholesome fresh plant based diet, daily movement and meditation, and a loving community...all of these aspects are intentional ways a retreat supports the body, mind and heart for ultimate well-being. In this supportive atmosphere, unhealthy patterns/habits often surface and are recognized, as opposed to ignored and suppressed. 

The space for rest encourages reflection and awareness, which then opens up the doors for transformation. With awareness comes the desire and responsibility to make necessary shifts...

3. Build community from the Heart
Community or a tribe from the heart 'kula' is one of the most important and beautiful aspects of any retreat! Retreats encourage everyone to come together with a collective intention and hold space for the group to experience something unique together, under new circumstances. Even if you go on retreat with a friend or partner, you can expect to dive deeper into your relationship as it will evolve.

Retreats create a neutral, loving and supportive environment which encourages you to meet one another from a place of authenticity and with an open mind/heart. While you will spend plenty of time alone, you will also find that the community forms quite quickly when you meet from a place of presence. Think fun adventures to nearby hidden beaches, candlelit dinners without technology, and many inspiring hours spent in practice together on the mat.  

Often these authentic connections become long lasting relationships and continue to inspire you long after you've returned home. 

4. Deepen your Yoga Practice

Retreats immerse you into the yoga practices, both on and off the mat. 
On the mat, practicing for an extended period of time with the same teacher(s) allows them to get to know your body/mind to give you more personalized modifications, adjustments or therapeutic advice to practice more safely and with depth. 
Any integrated retreat will encompass asana (poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation (guided, journaling, reflective work) and workshops (philosophy, holistic health, creativity, etc.) and set a theme or intention for the retreat which is delivered in a progressive and intelligent manner to guide you further into the experience of yoga. The teacher(s) are prepared to take you on a deep journey and are passionate about supporting students in this unique way. 
Off the mat, living daily yoga through a healthy routine in alignment with nature (deep sleep and a technology detox!), clean meals and learning alongside community and adapting to a new routine/rhythm are all powerful ways to deepen your experience of yoga. 

5. Align with your highest Self

Time away from daily roles and responsibilities drops you deep into your heart. When you live from the heart you live from a place of truth - you begin to notice what's important to you and reflect on what ignites your spirit and brings joy. When you take a 'time out' from life, you give yourself permission and space to fully let go and relax, play and return to your most creative, wild state. Your wild state is your heart's wisdom or intuition. It's the place within you that feels guided and at one with nature. It is the place that knows exactly what you need to do in order to fulfill your most happy, healthy life. Retreats help you to get clear on the shifts you need to make in order to live from a place of alignment with your purpose, passions and path. 

LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here