Yoga Teacher Interview Series: Laurie Gyurko
Laurie Gyurko is the founder and owner of Balancing Owl Yoga studio in Dublin, Ohio. Since I don’t leave my Grandview/Downtown/German Village bubble that often, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience Balancing Owl, but I am hoping to get out there soon! Balancing Owl Studio offers gentle yoga to a more power flow vinyasa, including some more unique styles that aren’t offered as widely around town, for example Kundalini yoga. Laurie also is certified in iRest. I HIGHLY recommend Kundalini and iRest if you’ve never tried them.
Laurie Gyurko // Balancing Owl Studio
Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences.
Out of college, I spent 3 years as a High School teacher and then 15 years as a Corporate Trainer and Project Manager. One of the things I taught in High School was Entrepreneurship so I knew very early on that someday I wanted to own a small business. I have been married to my husband for 20 years and we have 2 amazing kids- ages 12 and 14, as well as, a dog, cat and many other small animals.
I know you own Balancing Owl Studio in Dublin. How did that materialize?
I began facilitating women’s retreats in 2013 with my business, The Balancing Owl, LLC. These retreats were designed to create experiences to help women find life balance including yoga, meditation, a mindful book club, art, silent nature walks, nutritional guidance, etc. In Dec., 2014, I began hosting my retreats at Nurture Yoga and also became the studio manager and began to teach separate, weekly yoga classes. In April, 2016, I became the owner of Nurture Yoga. Later that year, I changed the name of the studio to Balancing Owl Yoga to more align with my vision: holding space for others to connect, find peace, and become empowered to live the balanced life they deserve!
Where did you do your teacher training?
I received my RYT200 yoga teaching certification from Laurel Hodory at the Yoga Training Center. I received my iRest Yoga Nidra certification from Yoga on High. I received my Reiki Level 1 & 2 certifications from master Reiki teachers here at my studio.
What style(s) of yoga do you teach?
I was trained in Ashtanga & Hatha. My favorite class to teach is a Slow Flow Vinyasa, which I teach twice a week at my studio.
At what point did you decide you wanted to teach yoga?
I was first exposed to yoga on vacation in Grand Cayman at a beach resort years ago. When I came home, I found a beginner series and was hooked. I also explored Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga. Soon after, I decided to go through teacher training and began teaching yoga in my retreats.
What is your advice to a first timer?
For first-time yoga students, I always tell them to accept where they are today as they begin their yoga journey. They were drawn to yoga for a reason and can trust the process.
For first-time yoga teachers, I encourage them to teach their first class as soon as possible after teacher training so they don’t lose their nerve. I also tell them to respect their learning in training, but to also listen to their inner spirit to guide them in their teaching and evolve as the teacher they were meant to be.
Yoga with or without music? If with, what kind?
I know there is a lot of discussion about this topic. I feel that yoga can be great with music, music with lyrics, and without music at all. The teachers at my studio use a variety of these options and I think it’s great! I personally like to teach with music of all kinds depending on what I feel the students need. If I sense students are having trouble getting out of their heads, sometimes music can help them relax as they breathe and move. Other times, it can distract them from listening to their own breath and inner guide, and I turn it off; especially during shavasana.
How has yoga impacted your life?
I could write a 10-page essay on this question alone but to summarize, yoga has helped me discover my true self, find more authenticity in how I live, and helped me maintain life peace and balance. It also now allows me to provide space at my studio and in my classes for others to do the same.
What do you enjoy doing “off the mat”?
I find great joy spending time with my active kids and husband, being in nature, and walking my dog in the woods.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold). I do this several times a day to help me reconnect and maintain my life balance & breath.
Least Favorite Pose?
Sirsana (Headstand). While other people seem to love this pose, it doesn’t feel good for me, probably due to my short humerus bones. I’ve tried making modifications to make it work and haven’t yet had success.