Q&A with lifestyle and yoga guru Lauren Imparato

8 October 2015 by
First published: 11 June 2015

Our Q&A with lifestyle and yoga guru Lauren Imparato, who’s gone from Wall Street to NYC yoga studio, will inspire you to reach your goals.


1. What was it that made you take that leap from the finance industry to fitness?
Quite simply, I saw a need. I was working 12-18-hour days, confined to my desk with four screens, two phones and infinite stress. I was doing all I could to maintain my Californian-bred health regimen, but it was challenging. My colleagues and friends both in and out of finance started asking me for wellness advice – back pain tips, ideas for snacks, inspiration to sweat and more. I realised that there was not a lens for wellness that spoke to normal people – something straight-up, non-dogmatic and effective. I knew I had to quit and create it – which I have via my wellness lifestyle company, I.AM.YOU.

2. What would be your advice to those looking to do the same?
First dream. Then plan. And always hustle. Taking a leap without a dream can end up in unwelcome surprises. Leaping without a plan can be very risky. And if you do not hustle, you probably will not get where you want to go. Decide, then go for it! No regrets – ever.

3. What do you think is a common misconception about yoga
There are so many, but most of all that it was created to relieve stress, relax and become more flexible. Yoga actually started 2,000 years ago as a mind exercise. It was about training the muscle of your mind to create the world you want. In fact, in the Tibetan yoga philosophies I.AM.YOU. is based on, you were not allowed to do one yoga pose until you mastered your mind, and this often meant that monks meditated for 20+ years before doing a Warrior II. Yoga was not created for zen. Or for you to become a vegan – another misconception!

4. When did you first try yoga and what did you love about it?
I grew up in California, so yoga was everywhere. That said, I became serious about yoga in 2003. I had done a lot of yoga before, but in 2002 I started practising seven days a week. It made me feel totally different from how I felt after an eight-mile run, fuelling my inside body and my outside body.

5. What’s your favorite thing now about yoga?
That it always changes. Each pose feels different on every day, but it is the same pose. It hasn’t changed, we have. Sharing this with students across the globe has been remarkable.

6. Which yogis do you find particularly inspiring and why?
My grandmother is the most inspiring yogi I know, and she has never done a pose in her life. Yoga is not about posing for Instagram, but rather about connecting the mind and body, thoughts and world, in a way that you inspire and transform yourself into the best you that you can be on any day, in the best world you can create on that day. That is what she has inspired me to do.

7. Do you do any other kinds of exercise? If so, what
I.AM.YOU. yoga is quite thorough. I do it daily at the studio in NYC, on my own, or via one of our video classes. It’s all I need and I am in better shape than ever.

8. What do you like doing on a rest day when you can just forget about working out and treat yourself?
Hanging out with family. Sometimes with my blood family, or sometimes my husband or a group of our close friends. I find that sharing a meal with family and laughing is the best nourishment there is.

9. What’s your favourite food – healthy and treat?
So many! I love salad. Big, lettuce filled salads with a vinaigrette. Steak tacos are another favourite. I was a vegetarian my seven years on Wall Street but now eat everything except game, pork, shellfish and processed food (duh!)

10. What are your can’t-live-without yoga essentials
Mio’s products are the I.AM.YOU. Dream. From the exfoliating, invigorating wash in the shower before I go teach, to the oil to keep it tight after and the wonder cream to soothe my sore parts. I use all three daily. With tons of water to drink as well!