Meet Lara Heimann, an international yoga pioneer and Physical Therapist focused on evolving the practice of yoga to empower movement and balance amidst a modern lifestyle of technology and sedentariness. With an advanced degree in physical therapy and more than 25 years of yoga practice and education, Lara is redefining the modern practice through her comprehensive LYT Method, emphasizing smart alignment, functional movement, and spiritual wellness. For Lara, the seeds of fascination with the brain-body connection were planted at just 18, as she laced up her sneakers for a marathon she didn’t train for. At mile 20, she realized that the mind was the thing that would either stop her or keep her going to get to the finish line. She has kept her eye on the finish line ever since, as she has gone on to teach her methodology to more than 5,000 students in more than 50 countries and has been asked to host workshops all over the world to speak about and explore consciousness, anatomy and purposeful movement. Salonpas sat down with Lara to learn more about her Wellness Warrior lifestyle and her top tips for people who are 50+:
Why did you decide to devote your life to yoga and physical therapy?
I had always been fascinated with the mind-body connection even from a young age. I recognized how much movement helped me feel mentally and emotionally better and I wanted to educate others about this important connection for overall well-being.
Tell us about the LYT Method.
The LYT method ( Lara’s Yoga Technique) is an evolution and compilation of my work in neurodevelopmental physical therapy and my vinyasa yoga practice. I recognized there was a gap in improving habitual movement patterns in the traditional Vinyasa practice and I brought my background and clinical work with neurologically impaired clients into my yoga practice. Intuitively, I surmised that the developmental work that I was doing with physical therapy clients would benefit all able-bodied people since we develop suboptimal postural and movement habits during our daily life. The LYT method is designed to empower practitioners through the education about their bodies and brains, enabling them to rewire brain mapping to optimize movement, energy, and breathing .
What are your top five tips for 50+ people who are looking to become more active.
Being over 50 means that you have to be even more active! My five tips include:
1) Walk daily
2)Mobilizing your joints in all the ways they are designed to move; practice some kind of specific movement practice like my LYT yoga, that focuses on the mobility of the joints.
3) Work on balance in multiple planes, on one leg, on your hands, etc. to improve your proprioception.
4) Add some strength training into your routine! Strength training helps to improve bone health, especially if you are going through menopause or after menopause. Strength training can be with your own body weight and/or with added weight.
5) Prioritize sleep and relaxation. Sleep can be affected as we age so set up your sleeping hygiene to feel your best!
What are your top five tips for 50+ people who are looking to shed some weight?
1) Move more! Walk, dance, find a fun movement practice. The body needs to move always but especially as you age.
2) Eat only when you are hungry. Eat whole foods, mostly plants, to fuel your body well. Metabolism can change as we age but we can control what we put in our body. Use body as fuel and figure out what foods make you feel the most energetic and light.
3) Have an accountability partner to help you stay motivated because change in weight can be slower so don’t get discouraged- have someone keep you accountable even when you are feeling low on energy.
4) Stay hydrated! When we don’t drink enough water, we can register signals for hydration as signals for hunger. When you feel tired or lethargic, drink water!
5) Get a rescue dog! Loving an animal fills your spirit and will also get you out walking more and more.
Tell us about a typical day in your life; from when you arise to when you retire.
I get up slowly, I am not much of a morning person. I drink coffee in bed and let myself wake up. Once I am up, I am going! I have a business to run, which fortunately involves movement. I either teach a live class for my home studio or a class for my online platform. I am teaching and moving for several hours of the day. Meetings with my team, business advisors, or Zoom calls for my teacher trainings can take 2-5 hours of my day, depending on the day. For those meetings, I move locations so I don’t feel stagnant. I sit at my desk, on the floor, or in a chair. I also record podcasts for my three-day-a-week podcast. For food, I typically eat fruit in the late morning and then a bigger meal in the late afternoon followed by a medium meal for dinner. If I have time, I will prepare the meal ( I have a garden with fresh veggies) or my husband will make the meal . We try to make homemade meals for the family as much as possible. In between work, I spend time with my two teenagers, either talking and hanging out or driving the youngest to athletics events. I end the day either playing a family game, watching a movie, or reading in bed. I also try and squeeze in a walk with my dog and husband to catch up on life. My days are full and active!