How to Take Your Yoga Game to the Next Level with Lamise Mansur

Meet Texas-based Yogi Lamise Mansur — she’ll inspire you to be your best self…

Like most inspiring things these days, I first discovered Lamise Mansur through the magic of Instagram. Bending, twisting, and practically floating in ways my body cannot even begin to comprehend, Lamise’s images of herself practicing yoga in the most unlikely of places — a construction site, the middle of the road, on top of a tractor tire — are inspiring in the way that I might look at a painting in a museum and decide to go home and paint. The outcome of my efforts might be colorful, but they’re no masterpiece. But Lamise isn’t just showing off (though I wouldn’t blame her if she was) — she’s out to show the world that yoga isn’t just meant for the mat, it can — and should — be brought into your everyday life as a way to discover peace and beauty, masterpiece or not. A licensed instructor, she shares her knowledge and love of yoga with the world through classes, private sessions, workshops and, of course, her Instagram account.

As someone whose yoga practice has always hovered somewhere between “nonexistent” and “suffering”, I started out 2016 with the goal of making yoga a larger part of my everyday life — maybe even exploring other venues besides my living room. With this goal in mind, naturally I turned to Lamise for some answers. Whether you’re like me and simply striving for a halfway decent pigeon pose or are more advanced and hoping to finally master inversions, today Lamise is sharing a bit about her own personal yoga journey and some tips for taking things to the next level. Meet Lamise below…

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Hi Lamise, thank you so much for speaking with me. I’ve been such a fan of your Instagram account since first finding you last year. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in a small town in upstate New York called Oneonta, where I spent most of my childhood getting dirty, playing outside and exploring the three acres of land my family and I lived on. We moved to Florida when I was around the age of 7 and, up until about 2 years ago, that was where I called home for 16 years. There, I did all of my schooling, and spent the rest of my time soaking up the sun and salt at the beach! I’ve now been living in Houston for about 2 years, and am about to start a new chapter of my life with my soon to be hubby! There aren’t many beaches, hills, mountains, lakes or forests around here, so Houston is not where we plan on living indefinitely. I love being outside, submerged in nature, so I see myself finding my way back to that type of lifestyle in the future.

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What first drew you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?

How beautiful the movements could be. I always loved to dance and growing up I trained in ballet. I stopped at some point in middle school though, so I never took off with it. I think a part of the reason that I was really drawn into the practice was to feed my inner child who wanted to grow up being a ballerina/dancer.

Ever since I can remember, I would sit in funny poses and stretch much like I do now in my practice. Yoga means union, and I believe that yoga is our natural state. We come into this world totally in sync with our mind, body, spirit and emotions. As we grow, we are conditioned by our parents and the society we live in. It happens differently for everyone, but I feel that is when a disconnect begins to form. To put in short, my practice started at a young age but was also lost at a young age. Around the time I began college, I found yoga again. My mother, who also practiced, would occasionally encourage me to practice with her in the classes at the gym. I wasn’t hooked on it until I stumbled upon a few inspiring teachers online. The way they moved sparked the inner dancer in me and, at that point, I decided that yoga was going to become my dance and something I would fully commit to.

What is your favorite thing about yoga?

How good it makes me feel after I practice, mentally and physically. The cool poses come secondary…for the most part. Seriously though, that peaceful buzz I feel when I connect to my breath is the best part of my day. I feel like a better person when I practice and I treat others better too. It’s a win-win situation!

Houston is such a wonderfully active city; do you think residing there influences your practice at all?

It’s not quite the city that influences my practice, but the people around me. The nice thing about teaching yoga in a studio is the copious amounts of free yoga that comes with it! I’m surrounded by awesome teachers who give me the space and encouragement to explore my practice every day.

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What inspires you to keep moving every day?

What inspires me to keep moving every day is that I want to be the best possible version of myself. And in order to get to where you want to be, you have to put in the work. No one can do that for you.

Do you have any go-to music you listen to while practicing yoga?

I have years of playlists that I make for my classes, haha, so those are definitely my go-to’s, while other days I simply enjoy the sounds of nature.

So much of what’s shown on your account is outdoors — would you say that’s your ideal practice space? If so, what sets the outside world apart from an indoor studio?

If every day was warm and sunny then yes, outdoors would definitely be my ideal practice space! I find more peace in nature, and feel more at ease with my body and mind. Being inside is also great, but can be a little more challenging if you’re not practicing in a designated space, as there are many things that can easily distract us.

Your account is filled with such incredible images and poses! What advice do you have for the beginner yogi who may strive for the same level of practice?

The best advice I could give to the beginner Yogi who wants to advance his/her practice is to simply practice. Whether it is a 90-minute sweaty flow in a studio full of yogis or a 10-min meditation in your bedroom. Do something every day toward the goals you are trying to reach and try your best. “Practice and all is coming.”

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You’ve been practicing yoga for some time now. How do you push yourself to keep evolving and growing in your personal work?

I have the wonderful world of Instagram to thank for that! There are countless people I follow and whose practices inspire me. I’ll see a cool pose or a beautiful transition and think to myself, “I want to do that” and boom! I’m on my mat that day or the next, practicing.

Any advice to pass along for more advanced yogis looking to take their practice to the next level?

My advice would be almost the same for any level practitioner but I would add: finding a teacher that can take you to the next level you’re trying to reach. To have someone there to physically help you and encourage you makes a huge difference.

Do you have a mantra for 2016?

I honestly haven’t given much thought to a mantra for 2016. I can be a pretty indecisive person, so I like to have a new mantra every week…sometimes every day! Each day we wake up, there are new opportunities, new struggles and new strengths to be found. My mantra of the moment is to ride the waves of life instead of trying to swim against the currents. Floating with the ups and the downs, allowing life to take me where it should.

What makes you feel free?

Traveling. If I am home for too long, I begin to become consumed by wanderlust. I love to explore new lands, cultures and foods. Seeing how diverse this world we live in truly is makes me feel free to be who I am and share my love with the world.

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Thank you Lamise!

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Shop all Free People yoga here

Be sure to check out Lamise’s website and her Instagram for even more inspiration

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