Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cameron Karsten Photography

Cameron Karsten Professional Photography of You and Your Business

Ever wonder where I get the exquisitely beautiful imagery used in my promotional materials - flyers, business cards, website, blog and newsletter? Cameron Karsten is my man!

Cameron Karsten Photography offers professional imagery in commercial marketing photography. With a unique eye for composition and lighting, Cameron draws excellence into any industry, specialized to help make your business shine in the light of infinite creativity. Whether updating old image archives for your website or looking to spark your new product with eye-catching advertisement, utilize Cameron Karsten Photography to professionalize your business, product or marketing material.

To view his various styles in yoga portfolios, jewlery design and Seattle's wellness community, please visit the LauraNidra Galleries, his personal website, and his updated Eye of the Photo Blog. For rates and scheduling, contact Cameron at or 206.799.9318.

Private Yoga & Yoga Nidra Instruction

Private instruction with Laura DeFreitas is an opportunity to nurture and develop your practice. It is appropriate for the beginner seeking to understandyoga fundamentals as well seasoned practitioners hoping to deepen their practice. Each lesson is tailored to the individual's lifestyle, schedule and intention. In addition to yoga postures, a session may include breath work, meditation and/or Yoga Nidra. Instruction can take place in the comfort of your own home or at a Taj Yoga.


1 hour - $70  |  1.5 hours - $95

5 - 1 hour sessions - $325 | 10 class pass - $625

Contact Laura to set up your personalized private instruction package via phone: 206.240.9254 or email:

Yoga & Chocolate Workshop

Yoga & Chocolate at Theo Chocolate. June 28th from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Join Laura and Theo Chocolate for an energizing morning pairing of Yoga and Chocolate. The All Levels Hatha Flow Yoga class will develop balance, build strength and increase flexibility through Laura's signature sequencing. The Chocolate Factory Tour that follows will focus on the health benefits of chocolate that facilitate the body's ability to rejuvenate and restore after any form of physical activity. No previous yoga experience required. Please bring your own yoga mat and come prepared with an empty stomach and an open mind!

$18. Space limited to 25. Contact Theo Chocolate at 206.632.5100 to reserve your space.

Sunset Yoga Series

Sunset Yoga Series. Mondays, June 15th - September 28th.
(No Class Labor Day)
7:30 - 8:45 p.m.

Join LauraNidra Yoga andCustom Smoothie for a Sunset Yoga Series. Sunset and sunrise are traditionally thought of as the most auspicious time for practice and reflection. Rain or shine, Laura will lead a 75-minute outdoor yoga and meditation class choreographed to end with the setting of the sun. These All-Level Flow Yoga classes will be structured around breath-directed movement sequences that build strength, increase flexibility and develop balance and focus. Students can expect to leave feeling centered and prepared for the week ahead. Post moving meditation enjoy a refreshing Custom Smoothie that will help replenish and restore the body. 

No yoga experience required. Please bring your own yoga mat. Classes will meet at Custom Smoothie Fremont and proceed to outdoor practice area along the Fremont cut. In the event of rain we will practice inside Custom Smoothie. 

$15 ($10 yoga/$5 smoothie) per person per class or $200 for 15 class series. Receive 10% off supplements at Custom Smoothie when you purchase full series. Payment for yoga portion ($10) in cash or check only.

Pre-Registration Required. 25 maximum participants. Contact Laura at to reserve your space today!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Laura + Nidra + Yoga = LauraNidra Yoga

I recently gave a presentation about LauraNidra Yoga to a group of business owners who knew very little about yoga. A question that came up in nearly every prior conversation with these group members was: "What type of yoga do you teach?" One answer to that question is the biography that appears on my website. Much of that biography means nothing to your average non-yoga teacher and even more of it is there to impress the masses with a list of fancy terms and qualifications. About a year ago the short answer to this question became: "I teach LauraNidra Yoga: Laura + Nidra + Yoga = LauraNidra Yoga." Suddenly my frustration with this commonly asked question was replaced by a desire to share why I'm passionate about teaching yoga and what inspires me in my practice. LauraNidra Yoga is best experienced first-hand, but you can read on and get the long answer....

Laura: I won't belabor the point by sharing my entire life story but will say that I came to yoga after 15 years of competitive gymnastic training. My body was batter and bruised but I was somehow able to ignore the pain and when denial didn't work four Advil usually did the trick. Yoga and Yoga Nidra brought me back home to my body and helped me to soften around the long held view of my body as an external object to be manipulated in space and denied at all costs, a view that was clearly no longer serving me. Learning to recognize the voice of my body and to acknowledge all of its messengers as valid certainly didn't happen over night. In fact, I maintained a gymnast mentality throughout my first years of yoga practice. I was drawn to acrobatic and challenging styles of yoga, I was secretly competitive and, looking back, yoga was still more of a performance than a meditation on body and breath. In 2005 Yoga Nidra stopped me in my tracks.

Nidra: Yoga Nidra is conscious sleep. The word yoga loosely translates as consciousness and the word nidra literally translates as sleep. It is said that one 45 minute Yoga Nidra practice is equivalent to 4 hours of regular sleep.   Yoga Nidra is an approachable form of mediation that is extremely effective in alleviating stress, resolving emotional trauma and promotes physical healing. It is a voice directed practice practice that takes students through a step-by-step progressive relaxation of physical, energetic, emotional and mental bodies or koshas. Normally, in yoga meditation one remains in the waking state and gradually allows awareness to expand into other states that are usually unconscious. In Yoga Nidra, one leaves the waking state, descends into deep sleep, and brings waking consciousness along. In this way we access the prajna level of consciousness. Prajna, translates as supreme knowledge and contains our inherent wisdom as well as the roots of behavioral and emotional patterns that are the driving force behind actions. Yoga Nidra is a practice that allows us to experience mental and emotional patterns directly in order to be albe to reduce their power to play out due to conditioning and habit.  Now energy is free to mindfully choose new patterns. The power of the practice rests in the the ability to attenuate the root causes of self-limiting patterns rather than simply cover old ones with a layer of new ones. After some years of practice, enough energy is freed for awareness to turn into itself. Often referred to as "The Sleep of the Yogi," Yoga Nidra is a play on words that reminds us that a true yogi is aware of True Nature through all states of consciousness, even sleep. The ultimate aim of Yoga and Yoga Nidra is to restore awareness to True Nature. True Nature's essential qualities are that of light, wisdom, discernment, all- sufficiency and unconditional love. This is not something that we create but something that we are and always have been.

I first experienced Yoga Nidra at the 8 Limbs Yoga Advanced Teacher Training. At the time, as far as I was concerned, it lived in a realm on the opposite side of my world of yoga. Nonetheless, it spoke to me and my initial experience changed the trajectory of my yoga practice.  I am currently in the process of becoming a Certified Integrative Restoration (iRest) or Yoga Nidra Instructor under the tutelage of Richer Miller and the Center for Timeless Being. I am one of the few working toward this certification in the greater Seattle area. The discovery of Yoga Nidra was a great blessing. On a gross level it offered a very real sense of balance to my often over zealous and extroverted schedule. On a subtler level it revealed a sense of Presence and Knowing and offered guidance in the art of being rather than doing. This in turn softened my competitive, perfectionist tendencies and allowed me to welcome the fullness of my being into the proverbial room. Fortunately, they call it yoga practice and not yoga perfection. I still swivel back and forth on the teeter totter of life but at least now, most of the time, through mindful welcoming and listening, the Seer can See that the feared hot lava below my perch is just bark.

Yoga: I teach 6 weekly yoga asana classes and bi-monthly Yoga Nidra classes at Taj Yoga on Crown Hill. Taj Yoga is run differently than most yoga studios in Seattle in that it is the home to five independent yoga professionals each operating their individual businesses. Long-time Seattle yoga teacher Theresa Elliott directs and maintains this community yoga space. This 'co-op' model, if you will, allows me to focus on the quality of my instruction in two ways: limiting the number of classes I teach each week and small class-sizes. Minimizing the number of classes I teach ensures that I can give 100% in each and every class I offer. Small class-sizes means students enjoy abundant personal attention. Since completing the Pacific Yoga Teacher Training in 2003 I have been heavily influenced by the Ashtanga and Universal Styles of Yoga. These are dynamic styles of vinyasa or flow yoga that I modify to teach adults of all ages and abilities. My classes combine the strength and accuracy of held postures with the grace of breath-directed movement sequences. Classes are structured around the sun salutation and breath awareness to build strength, increase flexibility and develop balance and focus. Each class begins and ends with a chant and brief meditation practice.

LauraNidra Yoga: My life experience coupled with my study of Yoga and Yoga Nidra create an unique classroom experience I call LauraNidra Yoga.  Yoga Nidra infuses all of my ongoing yoga asana classes.  These classes use the body as the medium to connect with emotional and mental layers of being. I encourage students to listen to the body's intuition and to trust in it's innate healing potential. Yoga means something different to everyone.  For some it is a form of physical exercise, for some it is a time for introspection and meditation, for others it is a spiritual practice and for still others it is a lifestyle. I welcome them all. I was first drawn to yoga for its obvious physical benefits but at this point in my practice it is all of the things listed and so much more. It is my intention to meet students where they are and to support them in practicing deeply wherever they are. It is my intention to be a conduit through which the teachings of yoga may reveal the fullest expression of Light and Wisdom that lives within each and every one of us. It is my intention to allow the Presence in Motion felt in asana practice to transition seamlessly into the daily happenings of life.