Anna Laurita: Yoga with a Twist of Mexico


At first glance, Anna Laurita looks like she’s living the dream. Those lucky enough to practice with her have experienced davannayoga, which Anna teaches out of her yoga shala in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

On second glance, it’s clear she’s living the dream. The traditional-style yoga school is only a few blocks from the beach and with ocean views from most mats inside her studio, the rooftop space offers sunrise and sunset yoga with a 360º ocean-mountain view, dotted by Mexican tiled roofs in between.

“After 15 years of living in five different countries for my husband’s work and my yoga studies and child raising, my husband and I chose to make Puerto Vallarta, Mexico our home,” Anna says. “I knew that I wanted to open a yoga school here in Mexico because living all over the world opened my heart to the way yoga was practiced distinctly.”

While Anna navigated the shifting challenges of living as an ex-pat’s wife and raising three children around the world, yoga became the rock she would look forward to. She describes it as a time for her to find her truth — the more she practiced, the better she could serve her community, family and friends.

Now, Anna will bring her gifts to the 2014 Victoria Yoga Conference for all to experience — even if the climate is a little chillier.

Anna was 28 when she first discovered her key. She was living in Asia, and found her first yoga teacher in Katmandu. Yoga nursed her through her three pregnancies, then she went to study in the Yucatan for two years with a teacher named Morningstar who “got me out of my head and taught me vinyasa yoga as well as how to breathe out of the back of my knees.” She studied pranayama and Iyengar-style in Brazil, then went to Shanghai to study with the body mechanics expert and creator of Yogic Arts, Master Duncan Wong.

“I was able to capture peace petals from all over the world and fold them into the Davannayoga style,” she says. “Here [in Mexico] I am able to invite students from all over the world and feel that they are safe, happy and free … Their study books are sandy and salty after their return from lunch break. The students are so happy with the town and the yoga community here. Everything to me said ‘yes’ — this is where I want to invite yoga student teachers to come.”

During the conference, Anna will teach a class on Ganesh — a davannayoga vinyasa flow class.

“Ganesh is the wonderful elephant-headed deity who helps us to overcome obstacles,” she says. “He may not always work as we expect, but in the end, we are where we need to be. This is a great metaphor for a yoga class. We will use Ganesh to remind us of his characteristics which are characteristics which lie dormant within some of us that we can awaken as yogis to help us overcome obstacles in our lives.”

She will also teach a workshop on a topic close to her heart: the benefits of the yamas and the niyamas. The yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) are 10 practical guidelines for leading a healthy and meaningful life and to awaken one’s spirituality.

“They are to be practiced mindfully for best results because yoga is not about mindlessly accepting externally imposed rules,” she says. “It is about finding the truth within yourself — and connecting with it.”

The now 48-year-old, originally from Redding, California, says that the practice of these philosophies on and off the mat seeps into everything she does.

“As a mother of three teenagers, a wife, as well as a business-owner, the benefits of a yogic lifestyle spread to the entire family,” she says. “We reap the benefits of the rituals of a healthy diet, contemplation and study, plenty of movement, our practice of the yamas and the niyamas, and the practice of mantras from our own monthly kirtan … My children have learned about diversity and acceptance, and their community has grown immensely. This helps balance out living in a small beach town.”

Learn more about Anna at: Friend her on Facebook: Follow her on Pinterest: Google+: Davannayoga