Lauren Eirk is known around town not just for teaching yoga at her studio, Yoga I.S., but for her MAT training, which is the same process that “fixed” super-athlete Peyton Manning. To give you some perspective on how specialized this training is, there are only six people in all of Kentucky who do it, and three of them work at Yoga I.S. Lauren has been in the business of fitness and wellness for years, and prides herself on her individualized attention to all of her clients. We loved talking to her about all things fitness, but what we most loved about this interview was her awesome music selection. Check out her playlist below for all your workout and daily tunes, but before we get to that, we’re thrilled to introduce her as today’s FACE of Louisville!
Lauren, how long have you owned Yoga I.S., and how did you end up owning your own business?
The tenets of Yoga Integrated Science™ are a culmination of more than 30 years of work experience in the industry of health and wellness. I have owned Yoga I.S.® since 2006, and we’ve been in St. Matthews since 2013. I learned [a lot] from my years teaching in and managing fitness centers, wellness centers, yoga studios, and attending and instructing in national and international fitness conferences. I have had some very gifted teachers along the way who have helped me to create my own unique methodology of teaching yoga and helping people with their fitness. I started to realize that I needed to create a business with my very own vision so that I could align myself with my goals where I could have a better control over the customer’s experience.
Tell us what makes Yoga I.S. different than other yoga studios.
We are more than a yoga studio with classes. We are a facility staffed with individuals hand-picked by me who possess unique skills to navigate people’s health. Some of our clients come to get fit, but others have very complex health issues. My staff and I all speak a similar language that is rooted in biomechanics and muscle activation. We have Pilates, yoga, barre, meditation and group strength classes, personal training (we have a private personal training resistance gym), Muscle Activation Techniques™ and yoga therapy. We help people find out where they are weak and help them to achieve muscular balance to minimize joint stress. I am proud of my teacher training program as well. We are almost at 800 hours of coursework, and we are also an IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) member school, which is an organization to bridge the gap between yoga and healthcare. We are currently pursuing accreditation with IAYT for yoga therapy.
What exactly is MAT training?
Muscle Activation Techniques™ was developed by my teacher, Greg Roskopf, in Denver, CO. It is a specific and unique process that is used to improve an individual’s ability to develop efficient muscle contraction(s) as indicated by the measurement and comparison of AROM (active range of motion) symmetry issues on each side of the body. The MAT process can address hundreds of muscles and joints in order to uncover the muscular issues that could be contributing to the loss of physical performance and associated subjective complaints. Through evaluation, muscle testing, isometric resistance and digital force palpation, MAT evaluates the body as a mechanical system and the interrelationship of the joints, prioritizing weakness instead of tightness, as loss of range of motion is viewed as a strength issue. We have three MAT practitioners at Yoga I.S. I am pretty proud of that since there are only six in the state of Kentucky.
People swear by your ability to “fix” them. What is your secret?
I don’t fix anyone. I just help align people with the tools to get themselves healthy again. I have a great team that I am so grateful for. We all care a lot about our clients, and we try to really get to know them. The body has amazing healing capacities if we just align ourselves with appropriate, well-progressed, individualized stresses to stimulate positive change. We use a combination of MAT, personal training, yoga therapy and our unique group classes to map out the right plan for each person, monitor progress and re-evaluate as needed.
What is the easiest part of your job? And what’s the hardest?
Nothing is easy about my job. I enjoy teaching and researching the most. The least enjoyable is marketing, accounting and bookkeeping. I hate that stuff. I am grateful for the people who help me. I would not have a business without them.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
I usually have eight to nine classes to teach per week, I see about 25 to 30 clients a week for MAT. I usually have about seven to 10 straight personal training sessions a week. I spend about two to four hours a day on administrative work running my business. I get up around 7 a.m., at work by 9 a.m., I leave around 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., get home and do chores, exercise and work on my business, then get to bed by usually 1 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
What advice do you treasure?
“When you know better, you do better.” — Maya Angelou
Also, when my grandfather, Harrison Jones, was dying of lung cancer, I went to see him. It ended up being my last conversation with him. I was going through a tremendously hard time in my life, and I don’t really know if he knew, but he looked right at me, grabbed my hand and said “I wish that this (his cancer) had never of happened … but you know you have to keep moving FORWARD.” I still cry when I think of this and how much this advice has helped me.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my ________.
Vibrams (toe shoes)
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Yoga Integrated Science a lot! Also PetSmart or Feeders Supply getting things to take care of my pets, and sometimes hiking at Tom Sawyer Park.
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Go to concerts with artists I love to listen to.
Are you a night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
I love the nighttime. I stay up late and love the silence at night so I can get work done and interact with my kitties.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Lightning round! Give us your:
Candy or junk food splurge: Candy corn at Halloween (My favorite!)
Guilty pleasure song: I am all about music!
- Hair Band: “Kickstart My Heart,” Motley Crue
- Pop/Dance: “Baby I’m a Star,” Prince
- Classic Rock: “Honky Tonk Woman,” Rolling Stones
- Rock: “American Bad Ass,” Kid Rock
- Jazz: “Take Five,” Dave Brubeck
- Electric Music: “OKAY,” Shiba San
- Rap/ Hip-Hop: “Hypnotize,” The Notorious B.I.G.
- Country: “Get Rhythm,” Johnny Cash
- Classical: ”Clair de Lune,” Claude Debussy
Tearjerker movie pick: Hope Floats
Standby nail polish color: Can’t wear it on my hands for my job, but metallic silver is my favorite on my toes.
Favorite cocktail: I don’t really drink alcohol much, but I love La Croix orange-flavored sparkling water.
Cartoon alter-ego: Wonder Woman. She has her own jet and superpowers. Independent, kicks ass and fights for the good guy.
What are three of your favorite things right now, besides faith, family and friends?
- My kitties!
- Fitness: yoga, Pilates and weight training
- Listening to all my old Prince albums
Thank you, Lauren, for sharing a glimpse into your world with our readers. And thank you to Adele Reding for today’s beautiful photography.
Be sure to download our free SB App, a guide to all the inside scoop on everything local: shopping, restaurants and happenings.