Lorette Barron has certifications in hatha yoga, vinyasa and meditation. From the mat to the street, she is consistently down to earth and speaks freely and truly about her challenging and courageous trajectory, one that includes a rise to French champion status as a young gymnast, then an Achilles’ heel injury that obliged her to give it all up. An incident that as mentally painful as it was physical…and a turning point in her life.
It was only 7 years ago, upon her arrival in Paris and at her husband’s suggestion that she started to study yoga. And even then, it was not something she was immediately passionate about, but rather a positive and effective way to channel her energy. Eventually she started to appreciate the discipline and get back in touch with her body. The loss of a loved one was the true catalyst in her profound attachment to the practice, in particular as a sort of therapy. This led to the commitment becoming a profession, much to the delight of her large and devoted following.
Inside/Out: How did you become a yoga teacher?
Lorette: A bit by chance. Because I was practicing everyday and really needed it. Because it allowed me to get back in touch with myself. Because it was a place where I wasn’t suffering, a personal therapy of sorts. And then I started studying with the well-known Paris instructor Gérard Arnaud. He was the one who advised me to do a teacher training, in light of my level and strengths. After that, it went in stages, I continued to work in production with my husband, started organizing outdoor yoga classes and parties for kids. Everything is connected in my life, all that I love and have loved, I try to include this in my work. So I got certified, 1st with the 200 hours of practice. I learned Sanscrit, philosophy, anatomy. Then I went back to university, at the same time a mom and working full time! In the end, I got an advanced diploma for the 500 hour level, which allows me to conduct my own teacher trainings and even open a school if I feel like it some day.
I/O: Did you study solely in France?
L: Yes, no India for me. I wasn’t particularly attracted to the idea. I think that when I do go it will be for an ashram retreat, to meditate and not speak to anyone. This said, I know how to do that here, too. In the métro or wherever. But why not India, yeah. Although I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to have gone to India to understand yoga.
I/O: What does yoga bring you on a daily basis?
L: Teaching is happiness. The pleasure of sharing my feelings. If I talk abouthamstrings, breathing, letting go – it’s because I have experienced it, too. It’s interesting, a few days ago my son asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him I wanted to be a sports coach. And he replied: Well, you got that right! I had never considered myself as such before. At 42, I found myself doing the job I had always dreamed of doing. This is what I wanted to do in the first place so I don't think it happened by accident. If you believe in what you are things always turned right…
I/O: You bring a nice dose of humor to your classes. Is it important to you to find a balance between severity and relaxation?
L: Absolutely. This is what makes yoga accessible. Don’t forget that yoga in Paris is just beginning. Everyone is practicing a bit but it’s still fairly new. We are behind. In Canada, the 1st great master settled there in the 60s. There are classes for women with breast cancer since the 70s. And here I am fighting to give classes to patients at the Salpêtrière Hospital. There remains a lot to be done. I am what I am and I give what I am. As a result, that makes my teachings accessible for people who are there by chance, or because their physiotherapist told them to come, or they are just want to discover the positive effects of yoga. And in all of the cases, they feel good. Welcome. I don’t distinguish between expression in real life and on a yoga mat.
I/O: How do you reconcile your particular mix of hatha yoga (static) and vinyasa (dynamic)?
L: The two are easily reconciled. I have students stay in posters for an extended period so that they gain body awareness. And once that is done, I bring them into something more fluid, where they breath and flow to the extent that the physical body is forgotten. To the point of letting go. Whether or not that switch is mental or physical....
I/O: Is it French-ish to follow a yoga class with an apéro, or rather the sign of people’s behaviors becoming less rigid in general these days?
L: Whatever it is, it’s my personal practice! It seems really natural to me. I’m just as likely to post a picture of a nice bottle of wine on Instagram as I am a yoga posture. It makes the practice more human. Obviously, I don’t eat meat. But I do love a good glass of wine, to go to a concert, partying and hanging out with friends. Everything in good measure. I am for life, for happiness. I am an epicurean...and I do yoga.
I/O: You’re very connected to the music world, why have you decided not to play music in your classes?
L: Because I want people to listen to me.
I/O: Yoga has become rather hybrid lately. What’s your take on that?
L: As long as the message is positive, I’m for it. This said, be careful of certifications and diplomas. To teach, no matter what style of practice, it is necessary to understand the human body. We must be careful, because people are fragile, someone can suffer physically or mentally and we have to take care no to injure them…or push them to a breaking point. This is my limit. Three weeks in India do not a good teacher make. Nor does extensive study, for that matter. Teaching leads to progress. It is the others.
I/O: Does the idea of a new feminism resonate with you? Do women support each other today?
L: I would not call myself a feminist. I believe in women. If a woman has a strong personality, I believe that she can go much further than a man. But it bothers me to even say it. To me, the best situation is to do things together!
I/O: What do you think of the yoga photo explosion on Instagram?
L: Well, I do it myself from time to time, it’s part of my job. Although, I’ve been doing it less and less. I’m getting pretty fed up with the whole yoga #hashtag game. I find it too light, a bit empty. There is a lack of humility and I want to move on.
I/O: Tell us about your decision to organize a yoga workshop in a gallery showing work by the artist Antoine d’Agatha?
L: I’m interested in his relationship to the body. Also of this image of a woman who is a bit particular, very beautiful, strong. I also like this artist’s work a lot and liked the idea of exposing him in this way. In fact, it’s surprising that that his work doesn’t make women uncomfortable. It makes men uncomfortable. It must be from the dark and unhealthy side that each man possesses in himself.
I/O: If you had a mantra, what would it be?
L: Om purnamadah purnamidam purnat purnamudachyatepurnasya purnamadaya purnamevavasisyate, Om santi santi santih. In English: Om, That is Full, This also is Full, From Fullness comes that Fullness. Taking Fullness from Fullness, Fullness Indeed Remains. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
I/O: And finally, as a caregiver to many, how do you take care of yourself?
L: I am happy!