Leia Layus is the newest instructor at taoStyle Sponsor, Shree Yoga Taos.
Born and raised in California, Leia spent her most recent years in San Francisco. She studied Theater Arts and Literature at UC Santa Cruz and shortly after her first year in college, joined an indie rock band with whom she wrote and toured with for the next five years.
“We eventually moved to L.A., where we signed with a small label but the fast-paced lifestyle eventually wore us down and we went our separate ways.” She says.
She chose San Francisco for its underground music scene and the underlying influence of natural food and holistic living, the Bay Area has always had.
To support her creative interests, Leia began working in restaurants.
“I worked at places that emphasized local, organic, quality food as well as a sustainable work environment.” She says. “Around the same time I discovered Yoga which became a way to take my health and wellness into my own hands.”
After meeting her partner who is Native to Taos, he convinced her that his hometown could sustain their combined interests. He is a talented chef, food, good food is a common interest.
“The beauty of this place is enough to convince a person to linger,” she muses, “ along with the rich history, alternative ways of living and its raw authenticity, I became fascinated with this town.”
She says she was guided to take classes at Shree, that the studio was her first experience of Yoga in Taos and was extremely welcoming to her.“For any Yogi, it’s important to find a studio when traveling to keep up a regular practice,” she notes. “Deeply seeking an open-minded studio, where I could grow and vary my teaching style, I was drawn to Shree where I felt that the community was receptive.”
“I enjoy that different styles are offered with the commonality of a sacred space.”
Leia’s Yoga journey has brought her to Northern New Mexico from her first days of practice at Yoga to the People in San Francisco’s Mission District, where she practiced for several years inspired by her teacher Yancy Scot Schwartz.
“I later graduated from the their Vinyasa training and began teaching at YTTP.” She recalls. “My enthusiasm for yoga led my studies the following year toward YogaWorks, drawing from Iyengar and Ashtanga, with teachers: Erika Trice and Lakshmi Angela Norwood.”
After meeting during the YogaWorks training, she began a one-on-one Mentorship with Stacie Overby exploring mindfulness practice through meditation, breath work, somatic awareness and guided self-inquiry.
“While in San Francisco, I also had the opportunity to regularly teach at Moxie Yoga & Fitness, where I refined my teaching skills of an Ashtanga influenced Vinyasa practice under the guidance from the studio owner Mark Rausa.”
Currently she is studying with Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe with teachers Tias and Surya Little.
“The focus is on gentler movement, the subtle body, sutras, poetry, myth and chanting.” She explains.
She is also continuing her studies of the Yoga Sutra with Chase Bossart of The Yoga Well Institute.
Clearly her practice is serious and deep and this carries over into the classes she teaches at Shree.
What’s up with the Yoga and coffee connection, I queried?
“Coffee and Yoga, “ she replied. “Wonderful rituals that allow us to take a moment to pause.”
For more about the lovely Leia and when she teaches, please visit Shree’s website listed below. Leia’s personal site is listed as well.
Photographs by Alexis Tiongson except for center shot c/o Leia Layus