We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Burns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, how do you think about risk?
It’s funny because I don’t seem like a big risk taker – I don’t enjoy gambling, extreme sports, or putting myself in dangerous situations. But my life has been full of other kinds of risks I’ve taken, some that have paid off and some that haven’t. Even the ‘failures’ aren’t really true failures since I learned so much from those experiences. I think about risk a lot! To me the best risk is a safe risk, which means that I know something good will come out of the experience even if it’s me simply learning more about the world and people in general. I’ve taken several big risks in my career over the years, including switching fields after having worked incredibly hard to climb the ranks, leaving the nonprofit world to consult, leaving consulting to become a yoga teacher and body liberation coach, leaving coaching to focus on teaching classes and running retreats, and collaborating with someone outside my field to create a membership community for people with PCOS. All of these were huge shifts and were accompanied by fear and anxiety! I know that I can always recover from a risk that goes awry; I can always learn from the experience. I have a tattoo on my chest that’s a quote from the late poet, Mary Oliver. It’s from a poem called ‘When death comes’ that reads “When it’s over, I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. / I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” This sentiment is what drives me to continue to take risks and to learn and grow from every experience. I don’t want to look back and ask ‘what if?’. I want to be able to say I took the risks that mattered to me and was resilient regardless of the outcomes.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Radical Body Love is different from other yoga practices because it combines body-liberation, accessibility, and a trauma-informed teaching philosophy. This fact alone is what I’m most proud of! My goal is to create spaces for folks to learn about themselves and find the healing benefits of yoga while being free from body shame, diet culture, ableism, and traumatic triggers. It’s taken a long time to develop the Radical Body Love Yoga philosophy and teaching methodology, but it feels amazing to be able to help folks change their lives and their relationships with themselves! I’ve learned that it’s ok to do things differently, that not everyone is the right student/client for me and that’s ok, and that I am capable of anything. Lol, oh, and that I need to be kind to myself and have a strong self-care practice! I want people to know that they don’t have to live in constant struggle with their minds and bodies. I want them to know that it’s possible to find peace and ease in their bodies, and those lessons will also impact the rest of their lives.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ll assume this question is about normal times! I love to take folks to places that really show off Houston’s diversity of cultures. There are so many restaurants of every kind that are excellent ways to introduce new foods and drinks to visitors. Bubble tea, matcha drinks, elote carts, food trucks, taquerias – you could spend a whole trip eating and drinking. Going to Galveston is fun to visit to show people the strand and taking a haunted tour. I used to love to take people to Col. Bubbies (rip). The cistern, museums, kayaking on the bayou, renting bikes and riding around Allen Pkwy, visiting Buddhist temples, Moontower Inn or Axelrad, clay soldiers, hiking at various places around the area, taking classes at a yoga studio, pottery workshop, glass blowing place, etc.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I always say that the combination of body-positivity and yoga saved my life. It’s true, and the folks that were instrumental in those groups are the true MVPs in my life. The fat Black women who pushed body-positivity forward before it was a global movement are the unsung heroes who laid the groundwork for every one of us who now advocates for Radical Body Love. The yoga teachers who quietly taught fat folks about embodiment and mindfulness, and whose work paved the way for the modern fat yogis to write books and teach sell out workshops. Abby Lentz of Heavyweight Yoga, Michael Hayes of Buddha Body Yoga, and Meera Kerr of Big Yoga made space for Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga and other dynamic teachers who are bringing the benefits of yoga to Every Body.