I reached out to Laurie Gerber, President of Handel Group to ask her a few questions about her experience with yoga and how she creates the time in her very full schedule for this practice. The Handel Group uses a methodology that they created, called: Personal Integrity®. This methodology teaches you to live in accordance with your highest ideals, to align your heart, mind and body and to keep your promises to yourself as the source of true pride, power and self-confidence. I have experienced this method in action and it is truly amazing to me how effective it is. The authenticity and alignment pieces are very similar to the practice of yoga itself and this is why I chose her for this interview.
AS: As the President of a thriving company, a wife, and a Momma, you mentioned to me that you create space in your schedule for a little yoga every day. How and why do you do this? Do you find that making yoga a priority for you enables you to be a more effective participant of your life?
LG: Honestly, why I do it (besides that a break midday helps me clear my mind and feel more at ease) is that my back used to go out a few times a year, but since I began my 20 minutes of daily yoga, it doesn’t anymore. How I do it, is I schedule it. My promise is to do 20 minutes, but I actually block out my whole “lunch hour” knowing I’ll want to try to cram other things around it, avoid taking a break or feel like something else is more urgent. Twenty minutes before my hour is up, I drop to the floor and begin, either following what my body wants or visiting Elena Brower on yogaglo. The break in my focus always lets in more creativity. Not becoming immobilized with back pain is an incredible boon to my work life and life with my husband and kids. Generally, I have a working lunch, but I always stop for at least 20 minutes to stretch and manifest, no matter what, because it contributes so much to my productivity, vitality and well-being (not to mention my ability to sit at a computer 13 hours a day).
AS: I often hear people tell me that they know yoga would be beneficial to them and would really like to incorporate a practice into their lives, yet they insist that they are too busy and do not have time. What would your advice as a Life Coach be for them?
LG: Skip something else. If you are too busy at work for 20 minutes, delegate something or skip your lunch break. If you are with kids all day, do it during nap time or find the right video. I know I sound cavalier about possibly compromising other “values” or responsibilities, but we are fooling ourselves if we don’t think our spirituality and self-care are meant to be at the top of the priority list. It’s not idealistic; it’s just practical if you are thinking long-term. You have to last. Schedule it into your calendar with reminders and alarms and implement a consequence if you skip, like no chocolate or coffee or tea or Facebook the next day, if you skip. That way, you will stay focused on being true to your plan. Lastly, try it for four weeks (at least three short practices a week) and then vote if it is worth it. Our problem is that we vote before we even test the new idea. You have NO idea how you’ll feel when you have a regular practice. If you do, because you have tried it, then you know what you’re missing and you were just waiting for this article to kick your butt back to the mat.
AS: I have heard you say that people believe their personality is stuck, that they “just are the way they are” and that is why they are incapable of x,y,z. I am frequently told: “I can’t do yoga, because I am not flexible.” I would love to hear your response to this.
LG: That actually truly makes me laugh. That’s like telling a baby they can’t have xyz profession because they are a baby. How funny are we? “I just am X way” is the perfect way to get off the hook from doing the right thing. We have found by implementing a three step process, called Personal Integrity®, we can teach people how to “change who they are.” Thank goodness. Most people don’t start flexible; they use yoga to become flexible. Learning and developing yourself are some of the most exhilarating opportunities we have. I know it’s scary; that’s why a promise and consequence are very helpful when starting a new habit. They are the tools that clear your mind so you can stay focused on what you really want to have and who you really want to be.
AS: What are some tools that individuals can use to help a regular yoga practice become a reality for them?
LG: Simple. A promise and a consequence. I will spend X minutes, X days per week or I lose Y. You fill in the blank based on where you are right now and how quickly you want change. Then you tell the people in your life. Next, you make sure you have the right teachers and resources. As I’ve said, I fancy yogaglo for on-the-go yoga anywhere there’s wifi.
AS: What are some of the qualities that you look for when choosing a yoga instructor?
LG: Honestly, I don’t feel the need to follow an instructor, even when I have a video on that I “could” follow. So really I go by vibe. If I think they are honest and funny, I want to listen to their voice. Or if they have been so kind as to have recorded 20 minute practices for my back, well, they rock!
AS: What are your thoughts about the complementary benefits of life coaching and yoga when applied to achieving more of a balanced existence?
LG: Now on this topic I could go on and on. The principles of yoga-alignment and oneness are brought off the mat and into life with Handel’s coaching principle/practice of Personal Integrity®. When you bring the concept of yoga to your life, you align your relationships, money, body, health and career with your highest ideal, and you learn to communicate honestly, gracefully and effectively. Both yoga and coaching impact body, mind and soul, and are therefore perfectly complementary. In addition, yoga can be used to aid people with coaching breakthroughs. Our founder Lauren Zander and Elena Brower have teamed up to lay out HGYoga: a practice that will combine yoga and coaching completely.
To learn more about Laurie Gerber and the Handel Group, please visit: