Native Yoga Toddcast

Judith Hanson Lasater ~ Teaching Yoga with Intention

November 28, 2022 Todd Mclaughlin / Judith Hanson Lasater Season 1 Episode 92
Native Yoga Toddcast
Judith Hanson Lasater ~ Teaching Yoga with Intention
Show Notes Transcript

It is with great pleasure I can bring to you Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT.  Judith has taught yoga around the world since 1971. Judith offers numerous live events, digital courses, and has published ten books. Including Yoga Myths, and her most recent book, Teaching Yoga with Intention.

Judith Hanson Lasater is an American yoga teacher and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country. She helped to found The California Yoga Teachers Association, the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco, and Yoga Journal magazine.

During this conversation I have the chance to ask Judith questions about her new book, Teaching Yoga with Intention and the importance of cultivating non violent communication as a yoga teacher.

Please visit Judith at www.Judith.yoga to learn more.
Follow her on Instagram at @judithlasater

Thanks for listening to this episode. Check out: 👇
New Student FREE Livestream Yoga Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. info.nativeyogacenter.com/livestream Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

Practice to a new class every day with our nativeyogaonline.com course called Today's Community Class with code FIRSTMONTHFREE.

Native Yoga Teacher Training - In Studio and Livestream - for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

Subscribe to Native Yoga Center on Youtube.

Thank you Bryce Allyn for the show tunes. Check out Bryce's website: bryceallynband.com and sign up on his newsletter to stay in touch. Listen here to his original music from his bands Boxelder, B-Liminal and Bryce Allyn Band on Spotify.

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Support the show

Native Yoga website: here
YouTube: here
Instagram: @nativeyoga
Twitter: @nativeyoga
Facebook: @nativeyogacenter
LinkedIn: Todd McLaughlin

Todd McLaughlin:

Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. So happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage bodywork and beyond. Follow us @nativeyoga and check us out at nativeyogacenter.com. All right, let's begin. Well, welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. My name is Todd McLaughlin. I'm so happy you're here. If you're a first time listener, welcome. And for those of you that have been with me all along, your support means the world to me. I'm so pleased! I feel that my next guest here does not need an introduction. She is a famous yoga teacher, and I have utmost respect for her. Her name is Judith Hanson Lasater, and you can find her at Judith.yoga. So www.judith.yoga. And Judith Hanson Lasater is a PhD. She's a Physical Therapist. She's taught yoga around the world since 1971. She offers numerous live events, digital courses, she's published 10 books. And today the focus of our conversation is speaking about her most recent book called Teaching Yoga with Intention. So I want to express a huge thank you to Judith because she was so kind and accepting my invitation to be here on this podcast. And without any further ado, let's get started. I am so thrilled to have Dr. Judith Hanson Lasater here today. Judith is a PhD and Physical Therapist and a yoga teacher since 1971. Judith, how are you?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

I'm doing well. Thank you very much. I hope the same for you. I am really excited about this. I actually couldn't sleep last night because I was so excited for this. Oh, tell my children that! Or can you tell my grandchildren that? That they could be equally as excited when I call and talk to them.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, you can you can tell them that. I hope they'll listen to you and appreciate that. Well, this is a great opportunity! I got a chance to read your most recent book called Teaching Yoga with Intention, The Essential Guide to Skillful Hands on Assist and Verbal Communication. So I'm really excited to get a chance to talk to you about this today. Before we even go down that track though, I'm curious if you can just tell me a little bit about how and what you're doing these days? Like what does your yoga practice and teaching like these days?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Well, one of the exciting things is beginning to teach live again. Traditionally yoga courses were taught one on one. And it was BKS Iyengar in the modern era who really began, initiated and created this whole idea of classes. But it's still live, you can still feel the room. When you teach, you can still make eye contact with each person, if that's appropriate. And so what I'm finding is this huge thirst, to be in community. To be in Sangha. To be with other people and just their presence. Practicing with you in the room is a nonverbal but very powerful support. And we all need that right now. So that's what I'm liking. And that's what's alive for me. I'm very excited about this new book, because I wrote it during the pandemic. It flowed out of me. And that's always a good sign for a writer.

Todd McLaughlin:

I hear you! I think it's an amazing book. I enjoyed reading it immensely. I found so many great points. I feel like you really honed in on some of the things that when I think, "how would I explain this to somebody?" And I have a loss of words. You did a great job of really laying out the foundation for healthy communication with us both verbally and if we use the power of touch in our in our teaching. So I think you did an amazing job.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Thank you. But before we go into the book, I really would like to follow, I'm all excited, of course to talk to you about, I'd like to follow my tradition of when I speak from the mat, or from the cushion, or in this place from my office chair, that I speak about what I think is, for us, all of us are listening, a really important part of our lives, which is our practice, I'd like to start with a moment of silence,

Todd McLaughlin:

That'd be great.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

So I'm going to ring my bell. And what I suggest you do is to sit and sit in front of your sitting bones, which brings your pelvis forward and then brings the pelvis under the spine to be like a pot to support this curvy, winding, fine, normal curve. So the brain in the head can float on the top of it. And that physical alignment will resonate through us energetically as well. And then my suggestion is that during that moment, if you find it interesting, useful and or pleasant, just imagine the very center of your brain geographically from the sides of your head from the top and the bottom and the front of the back, the deep center of the gray and just like a wave moving away from the shore, you stay rooted in that not ringing the bells and about a minute I'll ring them again

Todd McLaughlin:

Wonderful.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

All right, fire away with your questions.

Todd McLaughlin:

First of all, I love the visual of wave pulling away from shore. That's, that's a really beautiful visual that works with that sensation of trying to put your attention right in the center of the brain. Is that something that has came to you? When a while practicing meditation? What made you think of that?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

That's a good question. It just popped into my consciousness one day, and I actually find that I can do that. With my eyes open. And I do it in conversation. I'll be doing it a lot through our talk. It's just a very, it takes you away from thinking. Did you notice that? Yeah. Because I have this word I've made up. You know, we all know the word mindfulness. But I really liked the word, body fullness. And when we can have, whenever we have the space that we can become aware of sensation, like the weight of our body on the chair, the floor. The sensations of the breath, is when we can cultivate our attention to be aware of the sensation of the moment. We step out of thought, because it's we stepped from that space into into the present, into the present moment because sensation only occurs in the present moment. You can remember that yesterday you stubbed your toe and it hurt, but you can't recreate that sensation in the present. So sensation lives in the moment. And when we put our awareness on the body, bodily sensation, we must then not be dancing with thought. So here's another technique that arose in me. And it was this idea of the tongue. So let's try this for a second. Go back to the center of your brain. And release your tongue from its roots, and let it lie flat in the mouth. Now, when I do that, that deepens the silence for me. Did you find that?

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, to bring the attention to it or to even just put it right into the mouth, but then try to actually get my tongue to relax? That's a good one.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

No, no, don't try.

Todd McLaughlin:

Don't try?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Invite. Invite. So here's what I've reasoned out about that is the tongue is not just an organ of digestion, a muscle. It's also an organ of speech. And so it's neurologically connected to the speech centers. So we have parts of our brain that are very connected with speech and writing. And thinking because we think in words, have you ever seen a little kid? Or maybe you did this yourself? I remember doing it. When I was learning to write. Sometimes my tongue would be outside my mouth or writing the letter? Yeah, yeah. Because it's the tongue, you have motor skills. Yeah, babies, infants have to learn how to swallow. They have to learn to swallow. Meaning that with the tongue, and how they nurse and all of that. So I think that when we relax the tongue, and there is some evidence to this, we affect the neural pathways to the brain. And so when I combined, for me, the center of the brain, release the top. Let the heart, expand to its truth. Then descend to the pelvis and feel the pulse of life of being in the pelvis. Thank you, we are then radically present in the being of the body, which lives in the moment. Did you find anything of that in this moment?

Todd McLaughlin:

I did! Two things I love right off the bat is the languaging you used around, don't try..... instead invite. That's amazing. That's a big shift. And then I started thinking, Well, we really don't have anything to talk about now. Because you got to the heart of it all already.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

All will be well.

Todd McLaughlin:

You got to the heart of the matter right off the bat.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Can I tell you a story about that?

Todd McLaughlin:

Yes, please.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

So my second time that I went to Russia, I think I went the first time in '89. When the wall was coming down, and then again in '91. And the first time I went, there were just a couple of, two or three Americans there. But then there were a larger group that went and we were in a big cafeteria in one of the big hotels, where we were all staying and then a group of Russian yoga teachers came walking towards us. They came in, you know, and I because I'd been there before. Got up, everyone was like, what did we do what we do? And so I got up and walked towards them. And pretty soon other people started coming and we started introducing ourselves and I remember distinctly talking to a woman and I was doing this southern girl, chatty, chatty. Your city is beautiful, I got it that you know, whatever. And she reached over and she grabbed me by the upper arm. And she leaned into me and she said, No, let us talk a real thing. I love that. That's what you that's what you and I are about I think right now.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah. Let's get right to the to the heart of it. That's amazing. Judith. Well, in your book, you mentioned the importance of language. And you mapped it into like three different stages. Can you please define and explain the three levels or stages of learning about language and the teaching of yoga?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Would you prompt me on that, please?

Todd McLaughlin:

I will. Because the first one is how you talked about how first as a yoga teacher, we transfer info "about the pose." Like the first level of conversation is kind of like, okay, Triangle Pose. And let me just convey some words to help you get from point A to point B.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Yeah, it's just information. Yeah, it's like, it's technique, which is very important, because technique affects energy and organs and state of mind, the nervous system, and we're very complex. In fact, you know, years ago, people used to say, body, and mind and body were completely separate. That was the western view. And then it started hyphenating, that term. MInd-body. Interesting. You know, and then there was a period, you'd see it written as one word, I see it a lot. Now mindbody is one word. So I've made up a word, which is mody. Mody. Because the body and the mind on are so one.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, that's a great word.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Mody. So yeah, I mean, we should get it, we should get it in the dictionary, another word I made up, it's not just multi-tasking, it is hyper-tasking. So you know, if there, so I want uni-tasking to be in the dictionary. And we, this spiritual practice asked the question, "Can we do one thing at a time?" And usually, the answer is no way Jose. So, yes, the first part of communication is, of course nonverbal. But if we get past that, we're giving them information. Because if someone comes in and says, teach me how to do yoga, and we just say, do Triangle Pose, we need to tell them turn the left foot in the right foot out, stretch the arm, etc. But that's not our most important job. So number two?

Todd McLaughlin:

The beginning of the personalization of instructions.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Yeah, so a leader in yoga is someone who leaves the class. I've even seen people turn their back and just do their practice, and people follow them. Which surprises me, so you're leading. But then teaching begins When you can say to this person, please put your feet wider apart into this next person, would you bring them closer together, when there's an individuation, of how we can support each pupil expressing the beauty of their Trikonasana in this moment. In ways that keep them safe, and open their heart and mind the same time and bring them into their body into their own self. So that's a deeper, that's a real teacher. The teacher sees both the difference and the absolute unity among all people, and to help them help the students. What's the third one?

Todd McLaughlin:

I think you're hit you answered that really well, thank you. That when the teacher is able to communicate in such a way that their words evoke, or conjure the pose from the student, or how the student can discover the pose already exists within them. And I love how you wrote as an ancient archetype. That's so cool. Like the thought of.....

Judith Hanson Lasater:

A pyramid. Which is a three dimensional triangle. Yeah, so that presupposes the understanding that we could never teach anybody anything. We can only create an environment in which people choose to learn. So the question is, how are we going to create that environment with our language? So I make intentional choices. I don't say good or bad, right or wrong. Oh, I might say to a student, I really liked the way your knee is in that pose, or I'm concerned about placement of your knee, would you try this and see what you think how it feels to you. So because if I come, you know, stomping in the class, and say, do this, do this, do this. And then I learned something and I wanted to change my mind, I've painted myself in a corner. So what I want to teach in that part of the of the pose is twofold. The second stage, is like I want to teach them technique in a way that underscores trusting that they trust themselves. First, I want to use my words in a class, to create an environment in which people are trusting themselves and at the same time they're willing to try something new. And I'm not there to impose the pose to fit them in a cookie cutter. So I like to say to my students, I don't want to teach you rules, I want to teach you principles. Because that's a bigger, bigger idea. There are anatomical principles about how the pelvis can move over the femoral heads, in Trikonasana that will relieve the lower back and create a sense of ease and dynamism at the same time. You know that in Patanjali's yoga sutra, chapter two verse 46, Sthira Sukham Asanam. It's a definition of Asana. So abiding in ease is asana. So an Asana is that which we can be in which we can be still, and at ease. And it's really ironic, we think of as movements that are difficult.

Todd McLaughlin:

Good point!

Judith Hanson Lasater:

How can I create an environment in which people find their Trikonasana? And often it's not airy fairy? I mean, there are boundaries, there are alignment principle. You could be, you know, hyperextending your knee or whatever, that guidance. But the asana, Todd, the asana isn't the yoga. It's the residue, that the asana leaves in the nervous system that is the yoga. Because Yoga is not just, you know, to paint with a broad brush, Asana, Pranayama, meditation. Those point to the potential of presence, which is the state of yoga. So we confuse them. People say I am going to do yoga, like, what? When are we all going to say I'm going to go in my own? Right? And bring that into the world. And bring that. That state of presence. Compassion.

Todd McLaughlin:

Great point, Judith. Was there a point in your transformation through your yoga journey where maybe you were practicing a yoga pose and thinking about that yoga sutra, where it's mentioning that the asana should be stable and comfortable. And thinking, "how in the world could this be comfortable?" I'm in this really like, uncomfortable position right now. And has that informed your teaching and evolution of your practice over the years?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Yes, but it wasn't a thought. It was an experience, which I'm happy to share with you. So I was taking a class from another teacher. And I was doing what it at that time, for me was my favorite pose, which was Paschimottanasana, which is just sitting on the floor, leg straight and bending forward. Which I think is the hardest forward bend because there's nowhere to hide. Like, if you've bend one knee, if you've bend one day like Janusirsana, you can cheat all over the place. But you cannot cheat in Paschimottanasana. It's you and your hamstrings baby that it is no getting away from it. And it's also true I think in Urdhva Dhanurasana, and it's the most difficult backbend. Because when you're doing one side, Raja Kapotasana, or you're doing one side of another posture, there is a way to work off to the one side of something in there. Alright, so that was my favorite pose. And I was I like to say I had my hamstrings surgically removed at birth. I just felt like for a long time, and I'm, you know, just sort of naturally a little loose. And so it's just flat down, you know, forehead on the shins. I mean, I felt a little bit of stretch. But not much, you know, I was pretty comfortable there. And my mind was spinning like what are we going to how long are we gonna be here? What's happening with that other person doing what I'm going to have for lunch after class, you know, the normal, useless brain chatter. And then there was experience and I want to treat this story with humility, gratitude, and wonder. And I had the sense that something just kind of flew out of me. And I still felt the stretch but I wasn't doing anything. And I just stayed there. It wasn't like I even stayed. It was like, there was no deep reason to move. There was no discomfort, there was no agitation. I just stayed there. And finally the teacher said, come up, and I didn't come up. Because I didn't know what that meant. Literally, it was so bizarre. He said, come up, and I'm like, what does that mean? Because he was, it would be as if I were saying to you stop jumping up and down. Yeah. And you know what? I'm not jumping. Yeah. So he said, stop doing the pose. And I'm like, what is he talking about? And then this little ego stuck it's head out behind the tree and my consciousness and said, Wow, that was cool. I started, you know, then it shifted again. But I thought to myself afterwards, well, I'd finally practiced one pose. It was my first pose, you know, it was years into my practice, but.... So, does that answer your question does?

Todd McLaughlin:

Yes. Perfectly. Since I've read your book, I've been extra thoughtful about my speech and my touch, in a good way. In a really good way. Like, maybe I was just on autopilot for a little bit. I kind of forgot how important it is. And you made mention, in your book, this is quoting you "we speak to manipulate the world around us" end quote. Can you explain that? It makes sense to me. It makes sense to me, but love it. I thought it was actually kind of profound when I heard that. We speak to manipulate the world around us. I might think, "I'm not trying to manipulate the world." I'm just getting through the world here. So I love that sentence.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Okay. So first, let's look at the word manipulate, because that has a negative connotation. But if we're truthful, Todd, you are manipulating the world around you all day long. You go for a run, you're manipulating your consciousness, right? Go for a run, you smoke a funny cigarette, you smoke a real cigarette. Not that you do these things. You have coffee, you want your caffeine which manipulates your nervous system. You do your Pranayama or your yoga. You stand on your head, all this manipulate your nervous system. You go to sleep and that manipulates your nervous system. We're always seeking homeostasis. In fact, you are choosing, you know, when you eat, you feel different. You manipulate your nervous system. That's what human beings do. And there are two kinds of manipulation. There's the unconscious one and the conscious one. And so to me, that's what yoga is about is paying attention to how doing Savasana. Savasana manipulates your nervous. Does it not?

Todd McLaughlin:

It does.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Okay, so that's a conscious manipulation. So the question is not, should I not manipulate, it's am I doing it consciously, to live my highest values. And that's what yoga makes us aware of. And this speech that I've that I've studied this technique of nonviolent communication has radically changed my relationship, in my interaction with my children as they were growing up, and in intimate relationships and in teaching. And the best way we can do that. Well, let me let me let me back up a second. Every time I go to teach, whether it's online or in person. The first thing I do is have the one minute. And during that one minute I connect with myself. This is the first rule of teaching. When I sit there in front of you today or in class. The first thing I do is I ask myself this question. What is alive in me right now? Am I anxious? Am I happy? Am I sleepy? Am I irritated by the discussion I just had with someone? It doesn't really matter what is arising in me but when I get connected with that. Oh right now I'm tired or right now I'm excited. Right now I'm worried about one of my children. It was always one of the three was at the top of the worry list, you know, over the years. Whatever, whatever is arising in me when I notice it. That when I bring it into the light. It connects me with the present moment. And I go, Ah, yes, I'm feeling excited. Ah, I don't judge it. I don't try to make it different. I don't try to fix it. I just notice it. Because, and name it to myself. Right now I'm sad. Because my uncle died. I'm just sad right now. Okay. That's what's alive in me, then I'm firmly present. Radically present I call it because we're very rarely there. So the next thing I want to do is I want to be able to see you. And I can't see you and or connect with you if I'm not connected with myself. So when I see you, and it's really tricky, because I've taught for 51 years. I have students who've been with me for 45 years.

Todd McLaughlin:

Wow, that is amazing!

Judith Hanson Lasater:

You know everything about them. You know them before they met their husband, before they got married, when they got divorced, and they had these kids, and they had this surgery, then this. And so it blurs in a way, your objectivity. So when I go to teach somewhere where I don't know, most of the people, I sometimes feel that my best teaching. Because I don't see my friend. I see a human being, you know what I'm saying? You may know what I am saying. So that. Yeah, so the second part of this is I want to see the person standing in front of me. They may have been there for many weeks, or never again, but can I be present with that person in this moment?

Todd McLaughlin:

Nice. That's a great technique.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

The third thing is to give them information about the pose. Now, these are how I always ranked my value. So it used to be the other way around, I'd come into class, and I would want to teach them information. And in some kind of very not so subtle way want to make them do it. And in some of that time, I felt just feeling irritated. And that was never important to me. So even now 51 years of teaching, and 52 years of practice, very rarely. But once a while I go into a class, and I get a little bit triggered. I call it ruffled. Yes, if I look at their skin, and again, they're doing that to the knee, and I've been telling them for years, and I just have this moment of you know, you know what I'm

Todd McLaughlin:

talking about? I do know you're talking about?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

So what I do, and this I learned from nonviolent communication, is I, I give myself empathy. I noticed it. And I go how human of me to feel a little irritated how humans think. And already it's dissolving. And now I can do it like almost like a reflex, but it arises, it's gone. It's arises, it's gone.

Todd McLaughlin:

That's an amazing when Judith and I use that one today, because I really love the and I'll try to get you explain that a little bit further. So it makes really good sense for people. I think it makes great sense right off the bat. But just to have a little bit empathy for ourselves in the sense of how human of me that I reacted that way, in that moment. And I had a situation today where I was doing a little assistant oppose, and I thought my shin bone was above a kneecap. And then right away, there was like this jump and like, Oh, you're on my knee. And I was trying to be so aware, since I was really focusing on like, what I was doing, and then so because I made a mistake, and there was that reaction, my first thing was like, I wasn't on your knee. I didn't say that. But that was my initial inside dialogue right away. But then I right away thought about your got your your, what your coaching on or what you were saying in terms of, you know, just observe that. And my reaction and how human of me, and it really did dissipate that halau inner dialogue that could have gone on for another 15 minutes about Yeah, how dare them say that about the fact that I didn't get near their knee and they're complaining, you know what I mean? So that's a really powerful technique. I really love that part. That was great. That is great.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Thank you. Well, you're a quick study. But that is that is really a very, very important thing. And I want to try to tell you a story about how I first really learned this and in his teaching situation. Yes, please, not just an academic. Alright, I was I just started teaching restorative yoga. I taught my first teacher training and restorative yoga in 2001 Right before 911 which was amazing. Yeah, I don't so then it was like maybe the next year so maybe 2002. I went to another state. And I was doing a teacher training big class and didn't have any assistance. Now I have like, I usually limit to 80 and I have 10 assistants. You know, it takes a village. A lot of personal attention. But anyway, so there was I mentioned, as per usual, there were quote unquote scandals going on in the yoga community, you know, Boundary Crossings, you know, the same old, same old. So I, I mentioned something about being clear about boundaries, as a yoga teacher. And, in fact, I like to say often in teacher trainings is, the first most important thing is not what I'm going to teach, but what is going to be my relationship with my students? Because teaching is is a relationship activity. All right, so then we have a discussion about what is gonna be my relationship with my students. You know, these are the words touch friendships outside of class, where's the boundary where, you know, it's a very good topic. So all I said was that, you know, we should think carefully about this, but I did not like maybe three or four sentences. And then I looked up and a woman about two thirds of the way back in the room was starting to cry, really cry. And people were handing her Kleenex, and they were saying, Oh, wow. And I said, you know, not what you really want to happen. But these things happen. I said, you know, what's happening? And she said, I can't believe you said that about my guru. Now, did you hear me mention a guru? No, I didn't. You never mentioned another. I never mentioned another teacher's name from the mat. I might once in a while, say I learned this from BKs Iyengar, but I don't mention other teachers that they say, Well, I was taught by so and so to do it this way. You know, why are you I just say, Well, I don't know why so and so does that. But this is what I like, let me show you that again. So I have respect for yoga teachers, and I don't talk gossip about them in public or out of public as much as possible, I don't do it. So I knew I didn't mention the group because I never did it. So my mind was very much like it was like what, and my instinct from training or lack of training, was just to defend myself. But I didn't say it. And then to get other people to agree with me that something was wrong with her. But instead, what I did was I gave myself empathy, half human of me to want to defend that, what I believe was the truth. And then I began to soften. And then I was able to give her empathy, which sounded like this. So do you want us you just want us to know how much you love your guru and you want? You want us to know that? And, yes, she perked up a little bit. And then I did another round of saying, and maybe you also want us to respect your guru, because to you, he's a very important person in your life in your practice. Yes. You know, maybe one more sense just reflecting back, guess what might be going on with her, and wasn't telling her what she was feeling. I was guessing. And she was perking up and stop crying. And, you know, pretty soon the energy in the room stop. And then we just went right off. Nice. All right. So fast forward to the last day of the workshop. And, you know, people were coming up to say, thank you. And she was in the line. She was just beaming at me. And she said, this was the best workshop I ever took. Thank you very much. And then she said this. And thank you for apologizing about what you said about my goodness. Now, in my mind,

Todd McLaughlin:

I did I do?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Apologize. That doesn't matter. It's not about what I say. It's about what you hear. And if that's what she heard, and there again, was that thing rising up out of habit that wanted to say, but I never apologize. So somehow, somehow, and this was really the first time I was able to do this in a tense situation. I just looked at her smile, and you're welcome.

Todd McLaughlin:

Nice

Judith Hanson Lasater:

to have you. And she did. It still gives me chills right now, in this moment. And she went off and, and I still don't know who a girl was. I never knew her girl was I never apologized. The cheeks heard that because she heard it with her heart. When I said you want to know how much you respect your group. She heard that as being seen and heard what her feelings and needs were in that moment. And so she hurt she translated that inside her. Mati. She translated as an apology. Yeah, I my ego wanted to just then. But my white wisdom, which was Amelie, you know, just slightly above like, point 000001, above that ego response, and I said, You're welcome. And that taught me so much about immunity communication that is, first and foremost is the communication I have with myself. So I want to live. And when I trained, I'm going to be doing a training soon on non violent communication online, might talk about that later or not. But is the first and most important thing I can do with any communication is give myself empathy. First, so that

Todd McLaughlin:

I'm, I'm saw success,

Judith Hanson Lasater:

and then I can I can get, oh, I've never said you must be feeling you want to have an argument of me? Tell me what I'm feeling? Right. Right. I'm not, you don't know you can talk them. So off we go. So I'm guessing I'm wondering if right now you're just feeling excited by the learning that's going on, between you and me. And the dynamics of this conversation about things you care deeply about? So I'm wondering if I'm guessing you're really enjoying this moment?

Todd McLaughlin:

That's incredible. Judith, I mean,

Judith Hanson Lasater:

that's giving you empathy for this moment. Yeah. Guess what you might be feeling and you. And when you hear it, I'm guessing, again, that you feel seen and heard and you feel connection between us.

Todd McLaughlin:

Can you give an example? Because you you're making mention of someone that you're working with in the professional environment? Can you give an example of how that's occurred for you in the in your family environment with your children? I have children as well. So as you kept bringing up, you know, you bring up a lot about how much you've learned and grown over the years by the communication and stuff that's happened with children with kids. And I don't know what I love the story that you talked about where I believe it was your daughter wanted to go to a concert? And you know, yeah, and so is there because I find it's almost sometimes easier in the professional environment and harder. In the family environment. I mean, I, I you know what I mean? Like, I don't know.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Of course, I know. You mean it's harder when you're in your Ashram with all those people with the same last name.

Todd McLaughlin:

Well, well, no, I guess. Yeah, exactly. Good point. I did you cut? You took me a second to think about that. I'm in the ashram with all the people with the same last name. That's a really great family ashram. That's a good way. I love it. I love it.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

I know. It's, it's really true, though. Because they know how to push your buttons. Yeah. There's no, there's no, there was my son wanted to go in. And we're getting we're getting really into the communication part of the book, which is fine. I don't care what we do. I'm enjoying our conversation. But my son was about 18. And he wanted to go four and a half hours to Tahoe we have, we're very lucky in the San Francisco Bay area. We're about four hours away from fabulous skiing, snowboarding. And then we come back and you know, the flowers of living in New York. So no snow to shovel just fall to deal with in the summer. So he was going off. He was taking the extra car. I didn't trust him. But he was going to be driving. This is the first time I'd ever done anything like this find self driving, there was a snow, you know, up there with this other kid. He was like 19 in their house alone. And this is my son who was always, you know, the second time he went skiing, he did a Black Diamond run. He says, I like being up there and getting that funny feeling in my stomach and I like I ate something on level, anyway. Yeah. So I was I was very nervous. And we were negotiating he had studied in DC about him checking in with me. And cell phones where they weren't super new, but you know, and I'm like, Okay. And Sam was trying to figure it out. And finally I just said, well just call me all the time. He said mom heard it as me not trusting him. Which really wasn't what was happening. Yeah. I was feeling afraid. And my need for safety and protection of these people I love that was What's up what was up for me and I was trying to come up with a strategy that would meet my needs, and I came up with this very unrealistic one, like just call me all the time. Yes. And so we made we made a deal. And I said to him, okay, you know, are you going to Will you stay on the path and not even Mom, I'm going to stay on the path, I'm not going to go outside the path. You know, we had a couple other things, and we made an agreement of when he would call me, like, Call me when you get there. And call me at the end of the day, I don't remember what it was. But at the end of the worst day of the, or whatever it was, and he felt heard and seen. Because he was wanting to be ready for wings, and, you know, live his life, he was, you know, going to be going off to college. I don't remember how old he was. But maybe in another year, I don't remember. But he was right at that age, and he was trustworthy. And he came home when he was supposed to, and that kind of thing. It wasn't a problem. It was all about me. We made we made a mutually acceptable agreement, a specific agreement of when he was called me. And then he was really happy. And I, I was really happy. And I was very enthusiastic that he had this adventure, because you have to, you know, you have to do these things when you're growing up. And part of being an adult. And pretty soon, he was calling me more than the agreement. And finally I just said, stop calling. Like when I, when I showed him because this is the thing with adolescence starts with the first adolescence is when you're two and then the second one is, you know, when you're 13, or 14, but so on. But when I showed him through my words, and my commitment that I not only acknowledge, but respect is the absolute truth of his autonomy. That's what adolescents want. They want you to respect their autonomy, when they're young adolescents, the only thing they can do is not eat, not clean their room not do their homework, or dye their hair paint. Like they don't have credit cards, they can't drive, they know they need you. And it makes them really mad because they're trying to push away in a healthy way. And so these are autonomies. And that same kid for a while, when he was 13 or 14, like it would be dinner time and I got into bed the bell to ring because I got tired of screaming around the house. And he wouldn't come and we like to say our blessing and have dinner together, you know, as a bonding moment, and he wouldn't come and he wouldn't come. And so I so what I did, you're gonna laugh at me, which is fine. Many people have laughed at me often is I would go to the store, and we're not going to store this we are, we're all sitting down at the table right now. And we'd really love your company, but we're going to start and then it goes into then he would come

Todd McLaughlin:

in just to make that decision versus well, we want

Judith Hanson Lasater:

this is what parents don't get. Every human being has autonomy. Because listen to this. You can make your children up to a certain point when you're bigger than them. You can make them do what you want, but they'll make you wish you hadn't. They still have power when you're older, when they didn't want to go to sleep. And so nonviolent communication in the familial vein, is really important to recognize the child's autonomy. That doesn't mean you give up you're, you're the parent, they're the kid that I didn't care of my kids like,

Todd McLaughlin:

yeah, yeah, we're I'm not here to be your best friend. I'm here to help you through life and make sure you are safe.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

And always I said, my number one concerns about your health and well being that needed my needs to be met. And in our students and in our professional life, it's a it's a different thing. I believe what we want to do is to use the interactions with our students and colleagues as a way of living the Yamas in the neon. So the yamas and niyamas are always taught as proscription like, Don't harm don't steal, don't you know, and then the new Yamas which are saying do have discipline do surrender, do practice contentment is something you're supposed to do. All right, but these are proscriptive. And it hit me one day in a blinding flash of the obvious that what if they were descriptive? What is the yamas and the neon? were describing what it how an integrated person lived or eat, even the whole Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali. You know, an integrated person doesn't harm consciously doesn't steal. That's interest. doesn't live with me. And what happened? What about if the integrated person took care of the body and knew the power of breath and relied upon it, and understood what it meant to take refuge in solitude, which is different than loneliness, or in, in Take, take refuge in the present moment. Which, because refuge to me is an intention, not a location. But, you know, the heart to me is about taking refuge. And then Dharma Dawn and Samadhi, these deep interstates of recognizing the true self, like what if those were any, what an integrated person did in some form? If that's how, what, regardless of effort, or time or religion or background that an integrated person lived with, in that way,

Todd McLaughlin:

when you Yeah, when you put it like that makes me think kind of when I was a teenager, and I was told, Don't go do something, my reaction was a little more like, I want to go do it. And so I like the fact that you're saying if it's more descriptive, where there's a almost an example being put forth such as evolved individual doesn't harm in a way that's in speech or inaction, I can see what you mean by reframing the way that the information is delivered, makes me want to do it versus me not want to do it, or you know what I mean, have the opposite?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Well, listen, the world is based around power over. And that has repercussions that we don't like. And by the way, one of my highest values in relationship with you, with my family, with my students with the store, person who's helping me. If I want it to be mutual, mutual respect, mutual, and either everyone is good, or no one is, this is my mantra.

Todd McLaughlin:

Either either everyone is or no one is,

Judith Hanson Lasater:

everyone is good, or no one is good. In other words, I don't even know if there was a real Buddha, it seems there was I don't know if he said all the things he said, he said, because they we say he said or whatever. But that doesn't matter. When I imagined that the car in front of me who's driving like a maniac, is being driven by Buddha. Actually what I tell myself when I see a car driving, you know, it's being driven in a manner that is frightening or scary, or we're weaving in and out, I always tell myself, there has to be a woman labor that far. And that's just me. But if I can imagine your Buddha, what if you were Buddha? If we are you know, and I, it doesn't matter if it's true. In that way, really a Buddha the Buddha lived, what matters is when I shift, and that thought helps me shift into empathy and compassion for the other person. And even if they don't know they are the true self. I can hold that space for them in the moment. Yes. And then I always like what I say, always like what I do, when I hold that thought, because because every thought, every choice, every word changes the world. The question is, how? How does it change the world? And we have yoga teachers. First of all, I think being a yoga teacher is a privilege, not a right. And I have a great deal about of humility and gratitude for the fact that I have this as my work that what I love to do, what is my dharma, is actually going to make my living. And that is an incredible blessing. So why wouldn't I treat my students with maximum respect? They allow me to do what I love to do. So why wouldn't I enjoy this talk with you and another yoga teacher, you give me a space to share what I have learned and maybe it might be of some help to others. And this is fulfilling my dharma. So I'm giving you a little namaste right now.

Todd McLaughlin:

So the phone oh thank you

Judith Hanson Lasater:

it's a privilege that we all have to help each other.

Todd McLaughlin:

And Judith you know when I when I wrote you my I had heard really wonderful things about you from a friend Kelly hos and I think she's going to be joining you in New Orleans when you're there coming up soon and

Judith Hanson Lasater:

help her to come up and say a special hello and remind me I will,

Todd McLaughlin:

I will and so when I thought she said so highly of you that when I got home, I thought Judith is so famous. And she's been. She knows she's co founder of Yoga Journal magazine. I mean, she's been teaching for more than 50 years. Who am I? I mean, um, but I'm gonna write her. I'm gonna write you anyway, and just ask if you'd be willing to be on the show and just gonna try me can't hurt to try. Right. And so when you wrote me back and said, Sure, I was just like, I mean, you totally made my day. You know what I mean? Like, I jumped up, I went and told my wife, I was like, You have no idea. Glasser just said yes to be on the podcast. I was like, I was so poor. I am so poor. I am so happy. And but I, you know, that's, you're living the yoga. You're at that you're living through yoga, you're sharing. You're sharing it and you're and so I just so that's amazing to me. And I just thank you because it did make my day so So you did send me a namaste have already sent me a couple of namaste is already before before

Judith Hanson Lasater:

you know what? You are? I can feel it. I can hear it. I can sense that I'm very intuitive. You are such a sincere practitioner teacher. There is no, there's no. There's no motivation in you that isn't towards the whole.

Todd McLaughlin:

Oh, thank you, Judith.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

And you and I are just a lot older.

Todd McLaughlin:

And wiser.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

No, I don't know if those go together.

Todd McLaughlin:

They don't necessarily go together, right? Because what we have like our elderly relative that they get really cranky and angry when they get a little older. Don't they? Like you know, they? They get harder to be around sometimes. I mean, when, but but I also still want to be present to that because it's such an interesting experience to be around my elders that you know. Well, to be honest, I haven't been around an elder lately that's been cranky with me. Maybe because I'm starting to chill out and listen to them a little bit more.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Well, you know what? Man Thanksgivings coming? And what if you when they started doing their thing? Humans need to not want to hear this.

Todd McLaughlin:

I hear Yeah. And how?

Judith Hanson Lasater:

What? And so can you? Can you hear the hot? Can you look at them with soft eyes? And can you hear what's underneath? We have time for one more story.

Todd McLaughlin:

We do. Oh my gosh, I have I have a lot of time. I'm just I don't want to take up too much of your time. So I'm here until well, you're in. You're in California, so it's gonna be darker here before it will for you. But I'm here till the dark. I'm healed.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Yeah, listen, you know. So here, here I am. I'm driving somewhere from my house and I'm a couple blocks away in the light. You know, I'm in that moment, I gotta get there. Gotta get there. And the light was. And then I said the lesson at non stop. And California has very strict laws about pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right away, literally, I gotta take it one. Because someone almost in a divided streets so far away, took one step off the curb, and I went through this, I went through the crosswalk on the other side. We never know David Cameron got a ticket. So they're very, very particular. So here I am driving. And this to me is living my yoga. All right. And I go a little bit into the crosswalk, but I do stop. And man's walking coffee started before the light turns in, he walked up. And he took a city hit the front of my car, my car went out of drive. And I reacted I noticed that I reacted typically for me, which is Everything's my fault. And not everything cannot possibly be your fault. And I thought, Oh my God. And then I noticed I said, Okay, I can go there. And I can braid myself. Or I can give myself empathy for being in a hurry and not paying as much attention as I would like, and maybe driving a little faster than I should have been and how human of me and then I thought about him and I he just walked on. I never had worked with him. But he used to boot or no once we were all booted right? So if I think that I would definitely give empathy to Buddha. So I began to imagine when he said Sam and learn how to drive what you might have been saying. I'm so afraid that you almost hit me. And I have no health insurance. And I don't know if I lost this part time job, I don't know, obviously on the street, and I'm very afraid. And I really wish you hadn't done that stimulate that fear, which is such a big part of my life. Now, is any of that true? I don't know. But what I liked about imagining that the possibility of that seeing it from him with a soft, hard and soft dive. I felt compassion for him at the same time, but I felt compassion for me that we're both acting through this human form.

Todd McLaughlin:

Yeah, that's beautiful. I mean, you remember your bumper sticker think globally, act locally? Yes, of course. And, and I, I guess I am a little bit of a dreamer in the sense that I figure if everybody learned the communication techniques that you're speaking about, like if the if there was a global education system, or like, all of a sudden everyone woke up, and it just made perfect sense. And they all we all knew how to honor each other in this way. Like, wow, what a beautiful world it would be. But I see that starting locally, like, personally, obviously, that's the only thing I probably really can truly do and have control over.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Do you tend to like follow us in every moment? Yeah. Well, I so enjoyed this talk. Thank you.

Todd McLaughlin:

Man, this has just been such a treat. And I'm, you know, I just, I'm just so thankful. I, I really appreciate it. And I can't wait till next time, I'm already you know, visualizing, being able to come visit you somewhere where you're teaching and come up and give you a big hug. So.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Well, thank you. And I want to appreciate you for your preparation for this talk. This conversation I should say more accurately, and appreciate all the things you do known and unknown, that facilitate a world where I want it that I want to live in, that I want my children to live in, in your children to live in. And they may not be seen some of the things that you do with your practice in your teaching. But I want to honor that.

Todd McLaughlin:

Thank you. Man. You're amazing. So are you all right, I hear you. Again, let's ring the bell. You ready? I'm ready.

Judith Hanson Lasater:

Can you come away from your body and heal the breath? Exhaling Bring your palms together in front of the heart. Namaste. May we lead live like the Lotus at home in the muddy water. Thank you all for listening and practicing yoga. Thank you.

Todd McLaughlin:

Thank you Judith. Native yoga podcast is produced by myself. The theme music is dreamed up by Bryce Allen. If you liked this show, let me know if there's room for improvement. I want to hear that too. We are curious to know what you think and what you want more of what I can improve. And if you have ideas for future guests or topics, please send us your thoughts to info at Native yoga center. You can find us at Native yoga center.com. And hey, if you did like this episode, share it with your friends, rate it and review and join us next time