The Magic of Retox: A Better, More Balanced Life

  • Persiana Burns
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Leading a class while sitting down is not Lauren Imparato's typical style. If you make it to one of her popular Retox classes at her studio, I.AM.YOU, you'll usually find the athletic brunette giving hands on adjustments at all times while providing precise cues and encouraging everyone to be their best selves on and off the mat.

These days she sits in front of her students, in a Retox tank top, a large bottle of water and a cast over her right foot. Members of her team offer physical assists as Lauren instructs. After a foot surgery that has resulted in some of her toes being held together with a wire, many a person may have chosen to take some time off to heal, but not Lauren. She loves teaching and she is determined to make lemonade out of lemons.

Over the last year, Lauren has published a book, which led her on a book tour across the globe, all while running her studio and training a small, mindfully selected crew to become the next crop of teachers for I.AM.You's newly expanded schedule. As if that isn't enough, she managed to split her time between NY & London so that she could see her husband Jorge every other week while he worked abroad. Always energetic, detail oriented and kind, one may wonder how does she do it all?

The answer is in her book RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life, a philosophy Lauren lives & breathes. According to Lauren, “Retox is all about living. It is about accepting the chaos of the modern world around you and implementing the tools to not only manage it all, but thrive within it, becoming truly successful inside and out.”

Lauren offers simple tips and solutions that do not require copious amounts of time, money or self-deprivation. Instead of carving out hours on end to start a new exercise routine, she encourages readers to take the time they do have to add accessible, can-do anywhere yoga to their day. Ten minutes at the office or three minutes in the elevator does indeed add up and is more attainable than the extreme alternative.

She’s also a fan of enjoying the foods you love and readily admits her love affair with wine and burgers. Lauren encourages readers to eat what they want, as long as they balance it out with a salad or veggies on the next meal.

Throughout the book, readers are empowered to embrace who they are and the tools they already have so that they might add easy techniques to lighten up their minds and bodies. Guilt and pressure are gone and balance comes into play. Sometimes that means a large glass of water before a yoga class and other times a cookie. This approach of taking it one simple step at a time is reflected in Lauren’s classes – smaller building blocks that make a whole stronger, better, freer you.

Here are a few things from Retox that resonated with me:

1. Eat What Your Body Craves

Lauren points out that, “Whether you realize it or not, adhering to some self-imposed nutritional dogma is probably stressing you out. Unless you are clinically, severely allergic, forget the latest trends and just eat the real, whole foods your body is asking for, even if they have the “dreaded” gluten, meat, dairy or sugar. We have been eating these foods for centuries – they are not inherently bad. So give your mind one less thing to worry about.” I really appreciated this sound advice about listening to what your body really needs.

2. Plant The Seeds You Want To Grow

If you're feeling blue or lacking in resources, spend some time to pinpoint what it is that you want. Declare it to yourself and to those around you and then go out into the world to give it to others. “In doing so, you are planting the seeds for it to come back to you. So for instance, if you want someone to shower you with presents, surprise someone with a little gift, even just a cookie from the bakery or a single flower. If you want money, donate some money away. If you want friendship, be a good friend.”

3. Your Happiness Is In Your Hands

It is up to you to decide how to perceive the world around you. “You become happy, healthy, successful, and high on life by harnessing your mind and teaching it to see the true nature of you and your world. You create your reality. If you saturate your thoughts with positivity and happiness, you will create similar perceptions, and in doing so, you'll actually make yourself happy from the inside out.” 

About the Author: Passionate about connecting with people, Persiana has led yoga classes all over the world – from the exotic beaches of SE Asia & the Caribbean, to the urban jungle of NYC and the alkaline soil of Burning Man. She specializes in pranayama & trauma sensitive yoga and spends the majority of her time covered in fur from her three pets. You can find out more about Persiana at and check out her photos on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Mick Rock