Leah Adams wants to bring you home—to yourself.
Even as a child, she gravitated towards connecting to nature and compassion. But it was when she sought out yoga as a respite from her hectic fashion world work that she truly found her calling: Adams became a yoga instructor and ayurvedic wellness counselor who also incorporates meditation, Western science and Chinese medicine Meridian Theory into her practice, helping others reset and heal.
Now, the yogi helps people of all kinds find inner wisdom and strength, but especially those who are struggling or who put their energy towards helping others. She teaches weekly classes to providers at Washington State’s top cancer care hospital and helps cancer patients develop their practices, as well. Her organic beauty line, Lumi Ayurveda, is designed to rejuvenate the skin and spirit simultaneously.
Here, she explains why in yoga we can find ourselves:
Live The Process: Have you always been enamored with health and wellness? How did you discover your passion?
Leah Adams: I began exploring beauty alchemy at the age of 7, crafting perfumes and potions from the apple blossoms and wildflowers in my backyard. My mom still talks about how, as a child, I always ate my veggies and knew I didn’t want to eat any meat. When I was 18, I worked for an esthetician, Maureen, who traveled the world with a Kundalini master. She had this mystical and grounded beauty about her. Maureen taught me about living in harmony with nature (including my own nature) and alternate nostril breathing, a practice that saved me from anxiety in my twenties. She sparked a way of being that I am ever grateful for. However, full disclosure, I ended up on a detour from my wellness journey in my twenties that included fashion, late nights and rock and roll. But, eventually, working as a fashion and advertising stylist led my achy body and frazzled nerves to yoga.
LTP: When you discovered yoga, why do you think it resonated so deeply with you? And what continues to inspire you to teach the practice as you do?
LA: I was blessed to have some incredible teachers at the very start of my yoga journey including Yin Yoga Master Teacher Bernie Clark. He shared a heartening message about how we all have different bodies and skeletal shapes. His teachings gave me a starting place from which to launch my practice that wasn’t about “achieving” a specific pose or external ideals. Yoga was a homecoming, a vehicle for me to come back to my body and slow down. I had so many “light bulb moments” in his class. I had no idea how hard I’d been pushing myself, sometimes working fifteen or sixteen hour days. More than a few tears welled up as I began to learn to identify resistance in my body and make space to release physical tension and mental stress. At the end of every class, I always felt lighter, more grounded and a lot more in tune with what matters most to me.
I teach yoga to support people going through various stages of their cancer journey (whether stem cell transplants, mastectomy, hysterectomy, chemo, radiation or remission). In my experience, their practice has deepened their ability to access their own inner reservoirs of strength and calm. Yin Yoga and mindfulness provide powerful tools to stay connected to our natural ability to feel joyful and empowered even amidst the storms. My role is to share tools they can use to tap into their own inner pharmacy to find relaxation, calm and peace. So, while they have an amazing and talented team of doctors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, nurses and nutritionists backing them up, this practice is an empowering way for cancer patients to continue to harness their own internal strength and participate in the process in a new way.
When I was invited to teach doctors, nurses and support staff at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance weekly classes, I didn’t hesitate: It was a giant “yes” moment for me. I’m in such awe of health care providers’ dedication to their patients and I feel a powerful desire to serve those who care for cancer patients. These ancient practices have thousands of science-backed studies that confirm that yoga and mindfulness are effective practices for reducing stress, supporting the immune system and increasing sense of well-being. It’s a privilege to be able to support care providers with these practices.
LTP: What makes your line, Lumi Ayurveda, so special?
LA: Your skin is your body’s first line of defense and a key indicator of health. When working with rejuvenating skin, I focus on nourishing and rejuvenating clients’ skin, bodies and innermost peace. My line includes aromatic ayurvedic teas and dosha-balancing skincare formulations. I use organic skin oils that supply essential nutrients to balance and protect the skin. The results are internal and external: Your skin will be brighter, but you will also feel enlivened and energized. I’ve been custom blending for friend and family for two years and am preparing to launch a dosha-specific line in 2017.
LTP: Do you have any personal wellness obsessions at the moment?
LA: Guasha, guasha, guasha!
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
LA: Playing in warm ocean waves, late nights and long talks, clumsily playing my guitar and cooking for friends and family.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
LA: It can be helpful to remember that we are held in the web of life. We can step beyond the rules of generating and knowing and practice, resting in the mystery.
To me, “Live The Process” means honoring my life as it is and resisting the pull of always feeling like I need to do more or that things need to be different. Years ago, I heard these words in a class and they have stayed with me in my practice and teaching ever since: “When we nurture where we are, we get where we want to go”.