Lara Van Oerle

Lara Van Oerle

Journey To Zen

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My story: How I got into yoga

Yoga takes us on a wonderful journey through our body and soul. The practice had such an amazing impact on my overall life! If I wouldn’t have come across yoga, I just know my life would look totally different today! So that’s why I want to share with you how I got into yoga.

Before I got into yoga…

I was not always so passionate about wellness and yoga as I am today.

In my teenage years I was lost and didn’t really felt like I belonged somewhere. Like most teenage girls I was looking for my place in this world and figuring out who I was.

In school I wasn’t particularly good at math, languages or biology. But in grade 9 we had to pick a subject, and I chose Human Sciences. Thank god I chose that subject (my dad tried to convince me to do maths!) because finally I was excelling in something. I was getting A’s for behavioural science, cultural science, … and finally felt I was really good at something.

Although I was doing well at school, my health was definitely not my priority. During adolescence I developed an unhealthy relationship with food and was struggling with poor self-image and my confidence was below zero. In the meantime I started to go to the gym, in the beginning with friends, but when they quitted one by one, I kept on going. It gave me energy and made me feel good about myself.

This was my first encounter with the fitness and wellness industry, and it instantly just felt right with me.

The college years

When I graduated from high school I decided to go to college and do a Bachelor in Psychology. I loved college and enjoyed every second of it! But I was definitely not living the healthiest life style. Partying the night away, binge drinking and going to bed at 5AM was a regular. I kept going to the gym to ‘keep the balance’. Working out didn’t come from a place of love for my body. I went to the gym out of fear to gain weight.

Because I was working out so often I wanted to switch it up a little bit, and that’s when I did my first BodyBalance class (hallelujah!). It was a mix of Yoga, Pilates and Thai Chi. I was hooked. The feeling I got at the end of the class during savasana was sooo good. I think I never felt so relaxed in my life before. Finally I experienced some peace and quiet in my mind. This was my first experience with yoga. After these classes I felt reborn. I knew I wanted more.

From then on I started to do more and more yoga. Mostly I practiced at home with some YouTube videos (check out my 5 favourite yoga Youtube channels). When I felt down, I did yoga, and it made me feel better. After a while I started going to a real yoga studio. Every time I rolled out my mat, my love for yoga grew stronger.

#Worklife

After I graduated and started work as a counsellor, life got pretty stressful. Suddenly I was dropped into the adult world. And I was not prepared. I had this idea that after college everything would automatically fall into place (oh boy was I wrong).

The jobs I had where amazing experiences, and I met the most wonderful people. But somehow I still felt restricted. I couldn’t express my creativity as much as I wanted to! There where so much rules, policies, and all kind of things that made me feel… not free. I thought there must be more to life than this.

Time for change

So when my replacement contract ended it was the perfect time to … move to Australia! Ow yessss, my boyfriend Phil and I where moving to the other side of the world. And at that time this was exactly what I needed. Gone was all the pressure to build the ‘perfect’ future with a stable job, a house, getting married, and all the other ‘normal’ stuff. Moving to another country, with another culture, where I knew nothing was exactly what I needed to do some deep soul searching. We tried new things every day. We worked on farms, lived in our car for a month and got to know so many different people from all over the world.

‘By becoming a yoga teacher I realised that you don’t have to live the life, society wants you to live’

During this time I did yoga almost every day. My self-practice was getting stronger and stronger. In my free time I was reading books about living a healthy lifestyle, yoga, mindfulness and meditation. That’s when I realised. If I’m so passionate about yoga, fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, why shouldn’t I try to make a career out of it?

Yoga all day every day

Becoming a yoga teacher seemed like the next logical step. After a lot of research I chose a 200hour yoga teacher training in Bali. I would definitely describe this as a life-changing event in my life! It felt like I was in heaven. Doing multiple yoga classes every day, learning about the yoga philosophy, being surrounded by like-minded people, and eating delicious food. A lot of yoga teachers describe their life as before and after teacher training, and I totally get this. I learned so much about yoga, meditation, and myself during this month. It made me a different person.

After my immersion I flew back to Australia. That’s when I realised that doing a yoga teacher training was only the start of this journey. As much as I would love to say that I instantly found the perfect yoga job, that’s not reality. I did find some great opportunities and am trying to become a better human and teacher each day. I’m trying to see struggles and challenges as new opportunities and blessings. My goal is to expand my comfort zone as wide as possible. Every day I see as a new chance to learn and grow. I’m on a journey now, and will be for the rest of my life. A journey to zen that is.

Living your dream life

By becoming a yoga teacher I realised that you don’t have to live the ‘normal’ life, society wants you to live. My mission is to live a life that I love, filled with wellness, freedom and -of course- yoga. And most of all I want to share my passion with others so they feel comfortable to be themselves and live the life of their dreams. Through my yoga classes and blog articles I want to show you that there is always opportunity for transformation and that yoga is more than only a physical practice.

What does your dream life look like? What is holding you back? I would love to know! Leave a comment below, and let’s have a chat 

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