Laruga Glaser couldn't help but being a yoga teacher... It kept calling her, even when she was kicked out of a yoga teacher training!
Even though she experienced hardships growing up, meaning abuse, which I can relate to, she learned through yoga to transcend and heal.
I was taken by her presence and her pace. She exudes stillness, and she is very friendly.
As a teacher she has a heavy international traveling schedule as well as a Mysore program she runs daily in Stockholm.
I also appreciated how she helps us all give ourselves a break when she says (talking about the brutal winters in the Northern hemisphere)...
I do feel it is important to be sensitive to the seasonal shifts and adjust the rhythm of one’s practice during these times of external extremes, instead of trying to force the same pacing month after month
Claudia A. Altucher: Let me ask you something. It’s 4:00 PM in Stockholm, so I’m wondering: what did you do today?
Laruga Glaser: Oh, okay. Well –
Yeah, my usual schedule is – I’ll – first thing in the morning, I practice – I’ll do my practice, which is quite early.
Claudia A. Altucher: What is “quite early”?
Laruga Glaser: My alarm come – goes off at around 2:45 AM.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, my goodness.
Laruga Glaser: So – but that doesn’t mean that I necessarily get up right away. It depends on – sometimes I hit “snooze” a few times to be perfectly honest.
Claudia A. Altucher: Well, you’re very allowed. Anyone who puts the clock at 2:45 AM is allowed to “snooze it” in my world.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, sometimes I need a little bit of a buffer. Sometimes I do pop out of bed right away, but sometimes I’ll – you know, it’s a good way for me to kind of segue myself out of bed.
Claudia A. Altucher: So what time do you go to bed then?
Laruga Glaser: In a perfect world: 8:00 PM. That doesn’t always happen. Usually, I really start winding down between 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM, but the best time for me to be in bed is before 8:30 PM, really.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, you need that. For me, too, only I don’t wake up that early. That’s very impressive to me.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, yeah, that’s important.
Claudia A. Altucher: And then what did you do?
Laruga Glaser: Then – so I’ll do my practice, then it’s like I have to, very quickly, kind of shower and get ready to head to the studio to teach. So my commute isn’t too bad – it’s about, from door-to-door, it’s maybe about 20 minutes?
Claudia A. Altucher: Do you go by train, I guess? Or –
Laruga Glaser: Yeah. Twenty – twenty-five minutes, really, actually. So, yeah, I catch a train into the city center and make my way to Yogayama to teach. So I start around – a little after 6:30AM is when I start teaching. So my boyfriend leaves, actually, earlier to open the doors; he opens the doors at the studio at 6:00 AM. So some students like to arrive before I arrive to get started.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, right. Yeah.
Laruga Glaser: So he’s a really big help for me because then it allows me to have some breathing room to do my practice because I won’t – you know, it’s – I will not wake up at 2:00 AM or 1:00 AM to do my practice. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: No, that will be – yeah. That will be going Sharath – like, going a little – like, well, he has to ’cause he opens at 4:00 AM, but – yeah. So your boyfriend is very into Ashtanga yoga as well; in fact, you met him in Mysore, is that right?
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, I did. I met him in Mysore in 2009, and – yeah, so we both have this mutual passion or dedication for the practice, which is really nice. We – but, you know, yoga doesn’t necessarily consume our life and conversation day-to-day, but it really – we kind of just have this steady acknowledgment of that it’s something that we do daily. We support each other’s process, and also he supports my teaching, and I also support his practice and also his teaching. He teaches a little bit – not nearly as much because he has another full-time job. It’s a great thing to share together, so –
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, of course. And so you teach from 6:30 AM or so until what time?
Laruga Glaser: Until 10:00 AM.
Claudia A. Altucher: Ah, okay. Mysore – where you’re adjusting everybody depending on the level they’re at.
Laruga Glaser: Yes, yes. So –
Claudia A. Altucher: And what happens after 10:00 AM?
Laruga Glaser: So – oh, gosh. It could be so many things. You know, sometimes I have meetings and different things that have to do with teaching at Yogayama; other times, it’s a matter of me – you know, I’ll come back home, I’ll eat something ’cause, usually, after practice, I really don’t have time to eat, and, actually, don’t like to really eat too much before teaching – so it’s kind of really like my first meal after teaching. So I definitely try to have something to eat. And then I do need to rest and wind down after teaching.
Claudia A. Altucher: Of course, of course, and, you know, it’s interesting what you said right there, and I find this the more I practice. I’ve been practicing daily, non-stop, since 2007 – even though I started in ’05. Like, there’s always a transition between starting Ashtanga, but I find the more I practice, the less I want to eat until late in the day – seems to be – the practice seems to generate that.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, I find it really interesting. But I have gone through different cycles with that where – you’re kind of in the practice in a way where it seems like the appetite drops where you want to eat later, but then I’ve also gone through some cycles, too, where it’s like – it seems like my body wants food earlier in the day or the metabolism or my appetite has increased. You know, sometimes it waxes and wanes, which I find kind of interesting as well.
Claudia A. Altucher: Well, maybe I’ll experience that when I get to higher levels. I am only in that primary – little bit of intermediate – series. Maybe when I get to the ultra-strong handstands and balances, poses that you have amazing photos of, maybe then my appetite will change.
Laruga Glaser: Well, I mean, that’s still high level. I think just daily practices and consistency and – that’s an advanced practice, too. I don’t know if it’s always – I don’t know if it’s always these other more advanced poses all the time, but –
Claudia A. Altucher: You talked recently – you said that you were – you had been experiencing, I think I heard this in an interview, a little bit of fatigue during a period of your practice, and –
Laruga Glaser: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I did. So, yeah – I just – it was a little bit like I kind of – just – I don’t know if the right term would be kind of “hitting a wall” a little bit – just – I think there are several factors going into it. One thing is, like, just adapting to living in Sweden. So when I first moved, it’s kind of like everything is new. And like, you know, the body and my – and everything is just kind of like calibrating to being in a new place, but
Claudia A. Altucher: Where were you living before Sweden?
Laruga Glaser: I was in the Midwest; I was in Columbus, Ohio.
Claudia A. Altucher: Where you were born?
Laruga Glaser: No, no, no. I actually was born in South Carolina.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, you were born in South Carolina? Oh.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, I was born – but I didn’t stay there for long. So when my sister was born, she – we’re only 13 months apart –
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, so – yeah, that’s a quick turnover –
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, very quick.
Laruga Glaser: [Laughs] When she was born, then we moved away from South Carolina, and we moved to Illinois, where I grew up in a small town called Edwardsville that’s like in the southern part of the state – so, not close to Chicago. Like, every time I bring up the state Illinois, everyone thinks, “Oh, you were from Chicago” – which is actually where my dad is from originally. So I grew up there until about – yeah – the time that I graduated high school. And then I ended up in Columbus, Ohio, when I went to university there at Ohio State.
Claudia A. Altucher: What did you study in university?
Laruga Glaser: It’s really – so I changed my major, like, four or five times. But I actually – I graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in human ecology with a focus on fashion merchandising.
Claudia A. Altucher: Wow. And then from that to yoga teacher?
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, yeah, so – yeah. I mean, it was – I think, too, because of the fact that I changed my major so many times, I was a little bit not – I was just a little bit confused on where to go. You know –
Claudia A. Altucher: But you started yoga really, really early, so you were practicing already by this time.
Laruga Glaser: Yeah, and I wasn’t – you know – I can’t say that I was super, super serious, but I was really – so when I first discovered yoga, and actually before I even started practicing Asana, I was really interested in spirituality, philosophy – you know, I was even dabbling in New Age thought; I was reading about meditation; I was reading about Buddhism – anything I could get my hands on when it came to just spirituality, different views of thought – and through that investigation, I came across like – that’s when I came across Ashtanga yoga, like the eight limbs, before even understanding that there’s an Asana practice called Ashtanga yoga.
So it was just like I had all this information, and then yoga just really sparked my interest. I just loved this – I don’t know – it just seemed so holistic in a way where it’s like – it was about self-investigation and about practice and self-reflection and just being guided within and all these things. It really spoke to me versus kind of like more religious establishments, kind of telling you from the outside: follow these rules, “Do this, do that.” The whole path of yoga kind of just – there was something in it that I acknowledged, that I recognized, that kind of sparked something within me. And then to find Asana practice, which was actually the tool of using the body to further this investigation, just really excited me. I just thought joining the use of the body with the mind and the spirit – I just felt like that was so amazing.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, and I especially find that interesting particularly with Ashtanga yoga because it’s a type of – the Asana in the lineage of Pattabhi Jois is so challenging. They take the Asana part so seriously, and the breathing, that it really puts you in touch with the body right away. You start feeling that transformation in the body immediately, and so the questions begin to come because it’s so intense.
Laruga Glaser: Most definitely. Yeah, I mean – yeah, this gateway of using the breath and the body, so breathing consciously and just moving and – I just – I feel like in the Ashtanga yoga practice, yeah, there is an intensity, but it doesn’t necessarily always have to be intense. Sometimes, we can add on layers of intensity that don’t necessarily have to be there, but there’s something about this Asana practice where, you know, you’re kind of uniting breath and movement and you’re using the body as a tool where it’s just – you connect to all the sheaths of your body in a way where it’s not just physical. You feel the mental sheath, the subtle sheath, that all of these just kind of like – it’s like all of a sudden, you kind of connect to it.
And I remember, early on, when I was practicing, I didn’t really understand what that was – like, but then, later, when you kind of do something reading and you’re kind of like, “Oh, yeah. Okay. That’s kind of something that I was experiencing or connecting to.” But I will tell you, my first start with Asana practice – I was doing other forms, which I really enjoyed – like kind of softer forms, or a little bit more like Iyengar-type of inspired practices. But when I found Ashtanga yoga, it was like – I don’t know – it was just like the clouds parted, the angels sang –
I don’t know. Right away, I just had such a strong connection to it even though it was very challenging. It wasn’t like it just – everything just was so easy, but I just – there was something to it that just ran a little bit deeper inside that I hadn’t really experienced before.