This yoga teacher and entrepreneur sought and found her own truth when she opened The Hub, a Westside yoga and meditation center.
In a city full of yoga studios, The Hub is bringing something special to the Los Angeles community — an integrated approach that offers a wide range of classes, teachers and methods to reach people regardless of where they are in life.
“All of our classes flow together to create a holistic approach and meet you where you’re at,” says Lauri Ashworth, 47, the founder of The Hub, located at 2001 S. Barrington Ave. in West Los Angeles. “We try to integrate as many modalities as possible so everyone can relate and connect to the same spirit here. We’re a one-stop shop in that respect.”
Ashworth says The Hub’s breathwork classes are one of the most important elements in the curriculum — and something not often found at other yoga studios. “Breathwork is more than yoga,” she says. “It gets you in touch with moving your spiritual energy. It’s your breath that moves the energy in your body.”
In fact, it’s breathwork that motivated Ashworth to launch The Hub. “I had opportunities of open studios before, but they just seemed to fizzle out,” she says. “It wasn’t until I got into breathwork that I was inspired to really pursue the idea of doing this. It kept me believing that this is what I should do.”
However, the inspiration to bring the benefits of yoga to her Westside neighborhood was a long time coming. Ashworth grew up dreaming of a stage career, studying ballet and modern dance, even graduating from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City. She’d been to a few yoga classes over the years, but wasn’t particularly interested. “I thought it was nice as a form of exercise, but I didn’t really like it,” she says.
She credits her mother with introducing her to the yoga path. “She was into the meditation and yoga scene,” Ashworth says. “She lived in an ashram in upstate New York for 10 years and I’d go there every summer with my two daughters to visit her.” Ashworth says people from all over the world visited the ashram, which followed the teachings of the same Indian yoga guru featured in the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love.
But it was Hatha Yoga that changed her life.
“I took a Hatha class at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center of Los Angeles,” she says. “It had been years since I’d moved my body that way. As a dancer, I understood what it felt like to be in my body, my whole body, and I felt such relief to be moving energy physically again.”
Ashworth says the Hatha yoga “just reeled her in.” She would drive down from Valencia to the yoga center almost daily. One day the teacher asked her to be the demonstrator, the person who would show the poses while the instructor taught.
“All of my dance training along with the yoga training just clicked for me then,” she says. “Next thing, I’m taking teacher training, then leadership training. It all just seeped into me.”
At the time, Ashworth says, she wasn’t drawn to the meditation part of yoga, but karma worked out just like it needed to. “Yoga does that,” she says. “It meets you where you’re at — it finds where you have an opening to accept spiritual energy. For me, physical movement gets me out of my head; it’s like a moving meditation for me.”
Another profound influence came when she met yoga master John Friend, one of the founders of a style of yoga called Anusara. “I decided to train under him,” Ashworth says. “John teaches people to focus on the highest elements, not on the lowest, to talk about what’s good first, and how the answers you seek are within you. It’s about the choices you make in life and then being responsible for those choices.”
Throughout her journey of self-discovery, Ashworth was also raising her two daughters and managing the household while her husband ran a successful car dealership. She also dabbled in interior design as a creative outlet, something she still does today, as evidenced by the clean, simple beauty found at The Hub.
But a little over two years ago, when her husband announced that he wanted to retire early and travel the world, Ashworth realized their relationship had reached a crucial juncture.
“I’d just found the space for The Hub,” Ashworth says. “I wanted to have a career. I’d been a mom and a housewife. I felt unfinished. I wasn’t ready to retire. I understood why he wanted to, but this [The Hub] was what I wanted to do. I wanted to build my own business, just like he had done.”
Ashworth signed the lease; they separated, and soon divorced. “I knew our marriage wouldn’t survive if I did this business,” she says. “It was a huge leap of faith.”
She has no regrets, saying that building her business has been one of the most satisfying and creative things she has ever done. “It’s propelled me into a place of leadership and understanding,” she says. “It’s a business with a spiritual side.”
Ashworth says managing her home when she was married is not so different from managing a business. “I’m a Capricorn, and Capricorns like money,” she says. “I’m not afraid to say it. We like to make it, spend it and give it away.”
And don’t tell Ashworth you’re too old, or too busy, or too anything to discover the healing benefits of yoga and meditation.
“Pace yourself,” she says. “Be flexible. Don’t create huge goals that are insurmountable. Take one day at a time with the intent that you’re doing this because it makes you feel better. Regardless of the class you take, you’ll always come out with a different state of mind.”
She says that every teacher and every student has a different experience — something that’s encouraged at The Hub. “We’re more spontaneous, more interactive, more free flowing, more tapping into your intuitive guidance so you can explore your creativity,” she says.
“No one tells you what to do, there’s no right or wrong, everything is led by the breath. It’s very liquid. It’s not dogmatic like religion.”
She suggests that people explore yoga and avoid locking into one thing, or they might miss an opportunity to go deeper. Committing to four weeks, with two classes a week, or even one class a week is a good way to start. “After a month people will notice a tremendous difference,” she says. “You’ll be more flexible, you’ll have more lung capacity and you’ll know what it feels like to quiet your mind.”
Despite the challenges of starting a business in a bad economy, Ashworth is determined to bring the healing benefits The Hub offers to the local community.
“Yoga lets you experience a connection to spirit,” she says. “It nurtures your soul.”