| Michelle Smith-Lewis
Real power comes through inner transformation—not by changing outside circumstances and expecting them to transform you. Yoga and mentoring are two compelling ways to access transformation through self-recognition. These paths can dramatically reshape your perception and ability in navigating life’s big challenges, often in unexpected and delightful ways.
Your capacity to radically love and respect yourself will flourish. Fresh opportunities will begin to present in your ordinary, everyday, extraordinary life. You’ll become aware of your inner teacher, the one that can guide you through anything, and learn to trust its strength.
In our shared time, we will talk candidly, practice breathing, and explore meditation. We will map a constructive, supportive path that broadens your sense of well-being, even amid demanding circumstances.
To discover if we are a good fit for your journey, you may contact me. We will discuss what you are looking to achieve and whether mentoring or yoga sessions—or a mixture of both—are appropriate.
Your health, happiness, and growth are the highest priority for me in our shared time together.
© Laeton & Sanderson
About our Sacred Art
In 2020, Lara began seeking an artist to paint her dreams and meditations. While she could sketch them, she was looking for an artist who could accurately bring what she was seeing and experiencing to life. It was her vision to use these pieces of art, each encoded with symbols and imagery, as supportive teaching tools to facilitate inner exploration and promulgate world blessings.
On Rakhi, a Hindu festival that celebrates love and duty between brother and sister, Lara stumbled upon a piece of Richard Laeton’s artwork in a closed Facebook group of their shared yogic lineage and immediately sought his help. They’ve been working together for the two years since and their collaborative effort can be seen in the images throughout this website.
Lara meditates, hand sketches, and writes about the images, mining the teachings within. Richard receives these and then meditates in turn, working with mantra, while the graphic art imagery is brought to form on the computer. Their process is continually unfolding and revealing more each time they subtly dance and merge with one another. They share a mission to bring healing and joy to the world and its inhabitants.
Richard Laeton received his artistic training at Parsons School of Design and Carnegie Mellon University. Over his lifetime, he’s created graphics and illustrations for spiritual seminars, events, books, and CD covers, as well as helped define the visual identities and design guidelines at an ashram, Real Music, and private projects. His artwork is intuitive and poetic, inspired by his long-time yoga practice, naturally occurring forms, colors, textures, and the metaphysical.
“We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so it’s best to remove weeds of anger, avarice, envy, and doubt, so that peace and abundance may manifest for all.”
—Dorothy Day, American journalist and social activist
Mentoring is the art of walking with another person as you learn to inhabit your best self or new experiences. Like a gardener, a mentor is only partially responsible for any harvest: They develop a plan to sow, and then observe, question, and troubleshoot throughout the season—from preparation to planting to picking. A mentee, like a seed, is a perfect, encapsulated blueprint seeking a little help and the best conditions to bloom.
Having been the beneficiary of many skilled mentors in my life, I find that providing mentorship is a natural, fulfilling extension of who I am. Each person I work with is singular in their own challenges, assets, and goals.
Should we choose to partner, we will explore the qualities that make you and what you offer the world exceptional, as well as the obstacles that limit you from experiencing your full potency. Together, we’ll discover practices that support moving your vision into reality.Email
I’ve known Lara for over 18 years, and she has always been a kind and loving mentor. She was instrumental in my early career, helping me to discover passion and creativity—two things that continue to serve my life today. Most importantly, I learned from Lara how to persevere through difficult situations and always focus on the light over the darkness.”
—JASON, CXO, technology company
“When a limited soul is united with unlimited being, that is yoga. Yoga means union.”
—Swami Lakshmanjoo, mystic and scholar of Kashmir Shaivism
Yoga’s roots span thousands of years and are multivariate in their religious and philosophical origins from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Though yoga is not a religion—it is a spiritual discipline open to anyone—it matters greatly that the complex lineages of these practices are culturally acknowledged and respected.
In the west, yoga is most familiarly known for increasing flexibility and strength while reducing stress. Doctors, physical therapists, and mental health counselors now readily prescribe breathing, stretching, and mindfulness techniques to aid their patients. This adaptation risks bypassing the crown jewel of yoga’s greatest promise: Union of the limited self with unlimited being.
Beyond āsanās (the popular physical postures of yoga), there is inner yoga, the subtle practices further readying one for dhyana (meditation). These are felt rather than seen, and they carry the profound power of self-integration and life-changing perspective. They grant access to increased wisdom, equanimity, and harmony.
To experience the union that yoga intends, you must learn how to interweave all aspects of yourself—from the mundane to the divine. The key to transformation is not far away in some distant place, it rests within and requires you to use your own physical embodiment and all its accompanying sensations in the here and now.
My teaching is inspired by the evolution and fruits of my devotional practice introduced by my father, a longtime meditation devotee. They’ve been greatly enriched by Sally Kempton, a former Vedic swami from my father’s yogic lineage.
My sādhanā (spiritual discipline and path) draws from Iyengar, Anusara, and Siddha Yoga, as well as dance, Reiki, and Qigong. I also incorporate lessons learned from my love of gardening, cooking, writing, art, and animals.Email
I like Lara’s gentleness in helping us improve our posture, position, and breathing techniques. I like how the classes vary and yet are still recognizable. Lara’s vast knowledge of yoga and her deep passion for it is infectious—and I appreciate how much she respects her teachers. I love doing yoga with her!”
—PATTI, consultant and community volunteer
Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis
I look forward to meeting you in person or online.
Gentle Flow and Meditation at Datza Studios
Every Friday, 5:00 PM–6:00 PM
The Flow & Meditate class combines gentle yoga and guided meditations that focus on opening the heart centre and deepening experiences of self-love, optimism, and balance. It is held outside on the rooftop patio when weather permits.
Full Moon Mandala 2022: Monthly Immersive Yoga Practice at Datza Studios
Monthly offering through December 7, 2022
7:30 PM–9:00 PM
An invitation to gather in community around a moon-strewn mandala of yogic arts. Everyone is welcome to this intimate, in-studio-only circle.
Falling in Love with Meditation
A Weekly Meditation Circle at Lara’s Home Studio
7:00 PM–8:15 PM