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Laura Caulfield-Lewis

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The Whole Origin Story

I started my early career as a professional dancer performing in musical theater and numerous film and television productions.  Falling in love with the filmmaking process, I believed that media could provoke people to think and act; a catalyst for great change. Obtaining my Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Communications, I graduated cum laude while working my way up the ranks of the Hollywood studio system.


Branching out on my own, I raised equity financing and produced several independent motion pictures which toured the film festival circuit.  Finding that I had an affinity for the business and legal side of the entertainment industry, I went on to complete the Paralegal program at UCLA in conjunction with the School of Law.  Upon graduation, I joined the legal department at New Line Cinema where I worked on the Lord of the Rings franchise, Wedding Crashers and numerous other films.  From there I worked at prominent Law Firms on major studio financing transactions. I was very fortunate to be mentored by some of the brightest legal minds in the industry. Of course, it was not without its stress and that is when I began practicing yoga.

I started going on yoga retreats for all my vacation and free time to eco-friendly centers in foreign locals to unplug and recharge. I prefer quaint lodges on the road less traveled. I find that practicing yoga outdoors and hiking in exotic places helps me to reconnect to my true nature. I made a promise to myself that each year I would travel to a new sacred place so that by the time I die I would have traveled the world.

On one particular yoga trip to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, I went on a trek through a remote village with my fellow explorers. Like so many poor countries, people were living without running water or proper waste management systems, they were bathing in the same water they used to cook with and as a result, the children were becoming sick and dying. My heart just ached when I saw the hardship on the faces of these people. It really makes you pause and feel gratitude for everything we so often take for granted. It made my problems seem so insignificant and helped put things in perspective. The trip leader took us to a local non-profit founded by American ex-pats called Amigos De La Santa Cruz, which built a school for the kids and provides solutions to local health and environmental issues. The group of yogis pitched in and raised enough money to purchase several clay water filtration systems and wood burning stoves for local families.  It felt great to give back.

It was then that I decided to add the component of service (known as karma yoga) to my practice. Since then, I have traveled to over two dozen retreat centers around the world and have volunteered and taught classes in conjunction with a variety of non-profits, and contributed to numerous worthy causes (see my web series YOGA TRAILBLAZERS for some of the karma yoga projects I've had the privilege to be a part of).

Meanwhile, I was brought on board to head up Paramount Pictures physical production legal department where I trained and supervised the production legal staff. It was an incredible opportunity to work on the biggest action pictures in history with some of the most talented professionals in the business. Being a type A personality that thrives under pressure, it was exhilarating - at first. After time, the workload increased exponentially (as the downsizing grew). Working late every night and on weekends for decades straight without reprieve; I was exhausted.

I thought: This can't be all there is.

I headed out on another retreat in Costa Rica where I contemplated my life's purpose. The instructor had journeyed to India and studied Pranayama (breathwork) and started each practice with a silent breathing meditation. I’ll never forget sitting on the mat in the middle of the rain forest, my thoughts racing “When is she going to do something! I don’t want to just sit here!” but for the next 15 minutes we sat in silence taking long slow inhales through the right nostril and exhaling slowly through the left. I found that by focusing on the breath, I started the practice from a calmer place. Having cleared my head of the incessant chatter, my never ending “To Do” list, worry about the future, remunerating about the past, etc., I was able to be completely present in each posture and focus on right alignment (not just physically, but aligning with my higher purpose!). After 10 days practicing silent breathing and meditation, I went deeper into the practice than I’d ever gone. When we sat for meditation, I was able to truly let go and just BE for periods of up to 45 minutes or longer, bringing more insight into my life.

I dreamed about how great it would be to create a full, balanced life, making a living doing all the things I love: filmmaking, yoga, travel, and volunteering. Getting healthy and maintaining that sense of peace off the mat.  Contributing in a meaningful way to help make the world a better place.  Setting my intention, inspiration started stirring inside me, and Sacred Garden Wellness was born! I began to write down all the ideas and vowed to take active steps each day to blaze a new trail and reach my full potential. One step, one asana, at a time.

I completed the Yoga Alliance certified 200 hour RYT Teacher Training at YogaWorks in 2011 and faced down the fear (which was enormous) and left my studio gig and started a consulting business working from home for major independent production companies. Eight years later I had saved and was able to purchase my dream home in Santa Barbara, and slowly get out of the rat race. I went on to complete my Meditation teaching certification with Soul Awakening Academy and obtained my Pilates teacher training at Club Pilates.  I continue to study various other healing arts modalities including Ayurveda and nutrition for my Dosha. I wanted to take a full mind body integrated approach fusing Pilates, Yoga, Meditation, Breathwork and Ayurveda practices to reconnect to my true nature and get back to vibrant health. Now, by practicing regularly the stress level and body ailments have gone away. I decided to retire and spend more time doing the things I truly love. Making this radical change, I’ve become more fearless and have released beliefs and relationships that no longer serve me. I found the great love of my life and am following my passion and living with renewed purpose.

Learning, exploration and being of service to others has always been a source of inner peace for me.  As I continue on this journey as a lifetime student and brave explorer, it is my calling to share what I have learned with others, to inspire others to take action, to be stewards for change and give back in small ways. Just think of all the positive change we can make by taking our practice off the mat into our daily lives, volunteering our time and resources just a few hours quarterly!


I invite you to join me for community classes, workshops, retreats and meditation walks in nature.

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