LOOKING THROUGH THE LENS WITH LARA ZILIBOWITZ
Lara Zilibowitz is an amazing artist & yoga instructor. We cannot wait for you to get to know her as one of our Muse’s in our “Looking Through the Lens” series – we go beyond the surface, deep into the heart space and creative source.
Who is Lara Zilibowitz?
Ahhh I am many things, including (but not excluding): yoga teacher; creator; mover; maker; physical healer; artist; nature lover; experience seeker and facilitator with an unquenchable thirst for life.
And in this moment, how do you spend your days?
I spend my days pursuing my passions, following my bliss, orienting towards pleasure and encouraging all who I am lucky enough to cross on this path to do the same. My days are woven with wiggling around on my yoga mat as well as inviting students to pay intimate attention to the texture of sensation in their own bodies, satiating creative urges of art making, painting and pottery, planning upcoming retreats and events, scribbling down my musings and contributing to magazines and online publications… and not to forget a dip in the ocean and a bask in the sun.
Creative expression and movement seems to be a focus for you right now, what led you to this point and why are both of these things so important?
I have a longstanding passion for creative expression through the body, whether that be dance, yoga, cooking, music or art making. I grew up in a house and with a family that gave me full permission to indulge my creative desires and follow through with my passions.
However at age 18 I had a life-threatening encounter with a glass table which left my nervous system in a state of severe shock. The medicine I have received from my yoga mat over the past decade or so has been the keystone in my quest towards health during a long-time skirmish battling post-traumatic stress symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.
Due to the severity of the symptoms, three years ago I was forced to leave my full-time role at Delicious Magazine and my yoga teaching was there to catch me. Over the more recent years yoga has taught me that the biggest gift we can give ourselves is to pay attention, to revel in the experience of being alive in all its pleasure and pain. To cultivate joy by searching for the preciousness of small things – such as the flavour of the breath or the beauty of nature shimmering all around us – that transforms everyday experiences into sublime revelation. I feel extraordinarily privileged to be able share these learnings with students, particularly my passion for meditation and healing through movement and creativity.
How do you live creatively?
Creativity drives every aspect of my life. Whether it is brainstorming sequences for a yoga class, curating my playlists, planning retreats or physically making art – I have made the commitment to myself to live from the inside out, tapping into the rhythm of the heart that moves my body first, and mind second.
“I have made the commitment to myself to live from the inside out, tapping into the rhythm of the heart that moves my body first, and mind second.”
I guess I have become known for my mandala art – on handmade, hand-carved ceramics, but also more recently on large-scale murals in yoga studios as well as body art. Each design is completely unique and the process of creating each mandala is a meditation practice. I sit in front of the canvas with no plan and no guide, simply giving my hand free reign. The kaleidoscopic, orbiting solar system that results is often a complete surprise to me, each design a reminder of my relation to infinity – from microcosm to macrocosm.
What I have come to appreciate through my studies and teachings of yoga, is that we are nature too. What is out there, is also inside of us. A nerve branches the same way that trees do. The fluid inside flows the same way as the fluid outside. For me, ‘spirituality’ is revelling in the great truth that all of life contains the same chemical elements and vibrating molecules from the original big bang over 14 billion years ago. We are the microcosm, a miniature copy of that macrocosm, connected to the stars in an ever-unfolding process.
What drew you to ceramics and pottery throwing?
Working with clay is a profound meditation practice in itself. It connects me to nature in a very material way. From a macro-perspective, clay – or mud – is the skin of the earth. But it also connects me to my body. It is literally grounding, and teaches me how to be strong and steady, yet soft and receptive.
Manipulating a raw piece of earth from solid to liquid state and watching it dance and come to life under your gentle but firm pressure is miraculous, and highly therapeutic. When throwing pottery at the wheel the clay will tell you when you’re losing focus. It teaches you to stay centred and maintain concentration. Squeeze too tightly, and it will distort, rush the process and it will spin out of control. All there is in the moment is sensation under your fingers, breath in the belly and complete presence.
You host yoga retreats around the world – what led you to retreat hosting and what do you hope your attendees take away from your retreats?
Hosting my yoga retreats, Back2Roots Retreats alongside dear friend Brooke Elliston has become fertile ground for me to share my diverse passions and trainings – from vinyasa yoga to tantric philosophy, AcroYoga, Thai massage, art making, healthy cooking and the list goes on. Each retreat is a synthesis of luxury and wilderness woven together with a lot of heart.
Through all of these embodied practices and as well as many other immersive experiences, workshops and techniques, we hope to ignite a spark within participants that changes their very way of being into one that is more open, joyful and more connected to themselves, others and this magical universe we have been born into.
When you are caught up in your head or just really busy / distracted in life, how do you get back to earth (and into your body)?
For me, immersing myself in nature is the ultimate cure for when I get too caught up in the tiny dots and details of daily life. Getting back in touch with awe, beauty and the vast mystery of this universe tends to crack me wide open and put everything back into perspective.
Tips for others for living creatively
I believe creativity in all its forms is a gateway towards meditation and an invitation into revelation about who we are. My advice? Your own reasons to make art are reason enough – create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be beautiful. Creativity itself doesn’t care about the results – the only thing it craves is the process.
(Click on the image below to enlarge if writing is too small)
So inspiring and down to earth. We are inspired by how Lara took her challenges and has turned them into art. Something so beautiful that inspires others to embrace their own creativity.
Where you can find Lara –
Website :: www.larazilibowitz.com
Instagram :: @larazilibowitz
Photos provided by Lara Zilibowitz
Did you have a favourite part about Lara’s interview?