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Interview with Lara Zilibowitz

Updated: Apr 15

We're delighted to welcome back Lara Zilibowitz, our very own home grown and internationally renowned yoga teacher. With her vast expertise, which includes transpersonal art therapy, Lara leads her students on a grounded, practical, and mystical exploration of the art of yoga.

Join us exclusively at BodyMindLife this April for two captivating workshops, and don't miss Lara's highly anticipated 'Spanda' 40-hour teacher training module in June 2024. This is your chance to immerse yourself in Lara's transformative teachings firsthand. Save the dates and prepare to be entranced by the authentic essence of yoga.

We sit down with Lara for a quick chat on the mat ahead of her Workshops and Training at BodyMindLife.

Can you tell us a little about how you came to find yoga?

I have been a movement lover from an early age. I was passionate about dance and gymnastics growing up, and for as long as I can remember have been drawn to creative expression through the body.

However at age 17 I had a life-threatening encounter with a glass table which left my nervous system in a state of severe shock. The medicine I have received from my mat over the past two decades has been the keystone in my quest towards health during a long-time skirmish battling post-traumatic stress symptoms of insomnia-related anxiety.

Following the path of yoga has taught me that the biggest gift we can give ourselves is to pay attention, to revel in the experience of being alive in both the light and the shadow. To cultivate joy by searching for the preciousness of small things - such as the flavour of the breath, the texture of sensation or the beauty of nature shimmering all around us - that transforms everyday experiences into the sublime. 

What I love most about vinyasa yoga is that it can be an invitation into a “flow state” experience of moving meditation. When we allow the breath to be the leader and the body to follow, a profound rhythmic experience is revealed that can move beyond any concept of time. It is in that moment, when the past and future merge with the present moment that we can savour the pure pulsation of life without any distraction.

I feel extraordinarily privileged to be able share these learnings with students, particularly my passion for meditation and healing through movement and creativity.

What teachers have inspired your journey?

In the tradition of this practice, I would like to humbly honour and acknowledge my teachers, and the teachers that came before them. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel and train with several luminary guides and liberated souls, each of whom have transmitted deep truths, techniques and methodology that have deeply informed my way of being in the world and my unique offering to you.

With special thanks to vinyasa trailblazer Shiva Rea, who awoke for the first time in me the potential in the practice of Yoga as a portal towards cellular liberation, embodied freedom and true Tantric enquiry. I’m honoured to continue to travel and assist Shiva, and spread the essence of Prana Vinyasa Yoga in my yoga classes.

I’ll be forever grateful for my love affair with true meditation thanks to Lorin Roche and Camille. Gratitude to my asana guru and dear friend Noelle Connolly; the art of touch and heart of connection via my Zen Thai Shiatsu masterful friend Gwyn Williams; feminine rewilding and Tantric sensitisation thanks to Michaela Boehm; Depth Psychology and navigating the process of integrating head plus heart thanks to Matt Licata PHD; and Sarah Powers for the gift of the yin practice in my life in the role of both student and teacher.

Last, but definitely not least, my truest heart mentors - my parents and maternal grandparents. Thank you for all of your passion, purpose, depth and wisdom. Thank you for endlessly encouraging me to trust my intuition and follow my heart, above all else!

Can you tell us about what is Body Poetry Yoga?

Body Poetry really is the brand of my yoga school, of my teacher training school, and buried in the name is the essence of what I’m so passionate about. And that is that these bodies of ours are not linear… they are not rational… they are altogether mysterious… endlessly creative. Like, poetry. Like art.

Poetry by its nature is a twilight language, its intention in many ways is to bypass the cognitive , over-analytical mind, and commune with our deeper selves… with our unconscious mind … all art does this, which is why art and creativity is such a huge part of my offering… but also why I use a lot of metaphor and poetic, evocative language when i teach. To not only speak to the physical , newton-mechanical outer body, not just muscles and bones… but to get the whole being online.  

So ‘body poetry’ has multiple references to the language I use, to my style of movement, which is very fluid and sensual and organic, but it also alludes to the intuitive wisdom of the body… the poetry, the artistry of the body… which doesnt speak in man made logical words, doesn’t move in straight lines… the body speaks to us in surges of sensation, and sparks of colour, in emotion.

These are the themes that I’m endlessly fascinated in… accessing the hidden, deeper dimensions of who we are, learning how to listen, how to receive these messages of meaning. Of essentially how we can get to know ourselves on a really authentic level.

How does it differ from other types of Yoga?

For me Yoga is very holistic, it's really not just about the physical gross outer movements,  it’s about waking up the map of the subtle body, our energetic body, the wisdom of our cells - the memories stored there, accessing the deep unconscious layers of the psyche.

The movement that I offer is very connected, slow, intentional. Very fluid, very sensual. It can still be strong, but it’s not disconnected, 

it’s not about how fancy the poses may look… 

For me the asana practice - the postures - are an invitation into embodied meditation.

They are an invitation to descend inside, with our breath as a guide, to explore the landscape within. To familiarise ourselves with this vast field of intelligence that already exists beneath all the layers of pushing and coping and control.

Most of all, I’m really passionate about our Yoga being a returning to naturalness, not another tool to whip ourselves with, or to cage the body, or the mind for that matter… it’s about remembering our original ways of moving, breathing, sensing, feeling in curiosity, compassion, awe, and wonder.

And this for some people can be quite different to really strong, sweaty, linear, masculine, ‘vinyasa’ - that they’re used to as a workout… this unfortunately has digressed a little from the primary intentions and the origins of the practice.. The word vinyasa in sanskrit means flow, like the flow in nature… it means cycles, seasons, evolution, like the life cycle of a breath, or the tide that goes in and out, or sunrise to sunset….  our movements and our breath must reflect this opening and closing, this expanding and contracting. 

The breath in my classes is the ultimate teacher… it inspires the movement… and as the movements unfurls, we can enter into an exquisite rhythmic experience of flow state, a unified field of consciousness, where brain waves and heart rhythm drop into entrainment, full body coherence, 

where we merge our mind with all that we feel, and savour the exprience of what it feels like to be alive without any other distraction. 

This approach to yoga, embodied meditation is really medicine. It’s learning to get to know ourselves, and care for ourselves on a really deep and true level…

What can students expect in your workshops?

I’m so looking forward to these upcoming workshops… they’re going to be a deep dunk into the heart of my offerings. The vinyasa class on Saturday 26th will be an ecstatic ode to existence. A passionate exaltation of embodied appreciation through a creative spine-rising, heart-flowering flow, paired with high-octane musical expression by my beloved Benny Holloway. Expect to leave this space in state of pure joy with lingering flavours of freedom in every cell.

The Sunday session is the equal and opposite yin counterpart… a medicinal hip and heart yoga journey of pure feeling, holding space for the full array of sensory and emotional symptoms that can arise in the practice, and in life. There will be lots of guided visualisation and embodied meditation, paired with an immersive live soundscape of voice and guitar, to strip away layers of stress, muscle clench and coping, and to reclaim the innate intelligence your body holds.

We can’t wait to be back and share with the Sydney community.

Can you tell us a bit more on what to expect in your upcoming training 'Spanda' this June?

Yes! I can’t wait to immerse in these teachings again… this is one of my favourite trainings and favourite four days. I can start by sharing the meaning of spanda in sanskrit is ‘throb’ or ‘pulsation’ and it refers to the initial spark of creative impulse that sets all energy into motion. It is said that the impetus behind the original Aum (the big bang) was spanda - a pulse of joy so exuberant, so powerful, that we are still basking in its radiance.

To essence of this training is to realise yoga asana as a profound opportunity to wake up to this underlying reality that we are so much more than what we can see with our outer-seeing eyes. To realise that we are a part of a vast field of intelligence that creates us and sustains us, and that we will one day be folded back into.

This training is an invocation to shift our approach away from teaching or practicing fixed and static ‘poses’ and instead to wake up to the living, dancing, shape shifting nature of spanda shakti (creative life energy) which animates the inner world of yoga asana.

The encouragement is there for us to realise that there are no straight lines in nature. Nothing is ever standing still -  everything is in a state of living vinyasa, of ever-evolving flow and fluctuation.

My invitation to you as a student and teacher of yoga is to embody this flow of grace and nature as you connect to your breath and move through your practice and your life.

Who is this training for?

This inspiring and practical training is for students and teachers wishing to wake up to the map of their subtle energetic body in order to bring a whole new dimension of awareness and awe to their teaching and life.

This training is really an introduction to Tantra yoga and embodied spirituality, a path of celebrating flesh and breath as gateways to the divine. A path of celebrating the divine feminine power of Shakti ~ creative life energy.

In this module you’re invited to realise our primary agenda as yoga practitioners is in service to the flow of prana - the underlying intelligence behind all movement and all life.

It would be a great pleasure to have you join us for this illuminating journey into inner yoga alongside me.

Lara is set to lead her awe inspiring workshops at BodyMindLife this April ! check out the line-up here.

To find out more details or to save your spot in her awakening Teacher Training this June - you can find all the details here.


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