Q&A with Lauren Imparato
Owner and Founder of I.AM.YOU Yoga Studio
At The Sweat Life, we really believe that there is no best of anything, only what works best for you — which goes to say, there is also no best body. Everyone has their own hang-ups about their body image, areas that they would like to improve and body parts they love to flaunt, and what you see is not always what you get. #Sweat Your Body is an ongoing feature, one that promises to be quite eye-opening. Thank you to the rockstars who are brave enough to #sweat their bodies for the world to see, and tell us what they love — and what they don’t.
Lauren Imparato’s yoga practice first began as only a distraction from her fast-paced life, working on Wall Street and getting in her workouts on treadmills at the gym. What she found on the yoga mat changed the course of her life, and she left Morgan Stanley to create I.AM.YOU, her studio based around yoga, nourishment, and music. Even as a guide to others in embracing their body and mind, Lauren has her own body celebrations and hangups. Here, she shares her thoughts.
How would you describe your body type?
My body is mine. The type is me. I see no point in labeling myself as one thing vs. another. Who invented those labels anyways? I am me. Tall with muscles.
Why do you think you have your body?
Because God gave it to me. And a lot of competitive sports growing up — basketball, track, tennis, lacrosse, swimming — followed by years of daily 6-10 mile runs, and for the past 12 years only yoga. Regardless, daily sweats since I was a little kid have built the body God gave me, into who I am.
What do you do to maintain a healthy body image?
I.AM.YOU! I.AM.YOU and my upcoming book, RETOX, are a 360 degree lens for wellness based on yoga, nourishment, mindset, and music. I make sure I follow I.AM.YOU daily — sweating in a classic I.AM.YOU yoga class, eating what my body needs as much as what my mind craves, listening to sounds that uplift me, talking or spending time with loved ones. And above all — being happy. You can't like how you look if you don't like how you feel.
What triggers you to stress the most about your body?
Do I love every aspect of my body every day, no. I am a weirdo perfectionist female, for goodness sakes. So that stress can change depending on the day, mood, or time of the month if you know what I mean. The good thing is when I spazz out in my mind, I usually remember some of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy I.AM.YOU and RETOX are based on at some point, and go back to eating, drinking, sweating, breathing, and just being grateful that I am alive in this beautiful world.
What does your workout routine consist of?
I.AM.YOU yoga daily. It's cardio, it's sweaty, and it's fun. Try it.
How would you describe your eating habits?
Normal and guilt free. I was a vegetarian for my seven years on Wall Street, and now high quality red meat 3+ times a week. Salad is probably one of my favorite food groups, and I grew up in Cali, so expect one, usually two, a day. I eat dessert, gluten, coffee, pasta, pizza, and my morning croissants. But I always do it without feeling like I am indulging or inflicting guilt upon myself. I basically eat everything, make sure the majority of what I eat is green vegetables, which is what I love the most anyways, and enjoy eating like it was originally meant to be enjoyed before we all started over-analyzing everything and obsessing about how we look.
What’s your favorite thing about your body?
That it changes and I can change it. There is no "perfect" — it's just all me, which ebbs and flows with changes in life patterns, hormones, diet, and simple evolution.
What would you change?
I would change my mind's ability to see things sometimes in harsh light, being too hard on myself, on my body and mind. In RETOX, I dedicate an entire chapter to this, and provide a solution of yoga, nourishment, and mindset.
When did you feel the best about your body?
I don't believe in thinking like that — it just traps your mind in always wanting something in the past, and thus never being happy with the you of now.
What outfit do you feel best in?
I sort of have a tomboy chic / elegant rocker look, so that ranges... A skirt and my vintage Nike kicks, a dress and some espadrilles from my shoe line, a bikini, skinny jeans and a button down, even a suit. There are certain things I feel like a stuffed sausage in, whether I look like it or not I see it in my mind, so I just don't even go there. Every outfit reflects and enhances a different facet of my personality. I make sure I feel good in it all, starting with my mind.
Are you comfortable naked?
I guess so yes. I am a private person. And I love the beach and swimming. And a bikini is as close to naked as it gets... So I would say yes.
Any last words?
The world has gotta obsess less. I started I.AM.YOU and wrote RETOX because I wanted to give people realistic, doable, and efficient ways to be healthy — and become their ideal self no matter what life throws at them. Obsessing over everything is not going to make you healthy, mainly because you likely won't be happy. Live life and be you. That's when you will uncover your ideal you, the one you love in body, mind, and life, from the inside out and outside, in.
Named one of the 100 Women in Wellness, Lauren Imparato resigned her job as a VP on the Wall Street Trading floors in 2009 to launch I.AM.YOU, a wellness lifestyle company based on Yoga, Nourishment, and Music. In NYC and across the globe she is renowned for her athletic yoga classes, and straight up, real approach to wellness, nourishment, yoga, and life. Lauren’s yoga classes are known for their attention to anatomy, sweat, and tradition within the chaotic modern lives we lead, and are always paired with I.AM.YOU famed MusicMixes, with music ranging from rock to salsa, jazz, hip hop and more.
She has been featured in Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, NY Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, The Financial Times, Bloomberg News, CNN and countless others — and writes for MindBodyGreen, PositiveMed, and her own blog. Lauren has led I.AM.YOU classes for up to 3,000 people in Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Ibiza Opening Weekend, and most recently, all of Times Square. She graduated from Princeton University, with her first book, RETOX, due out with Penguin February 2, 2016.