Lorien Neargarder has long believed she has many lives to lead: in her life as a dancer and fitness instructor, she learned to move her body through space; in her life as a mechanical engineer, she learned to move her mind through space; and in her current life as a yoga instructor, she continually discovers how to move her heart and soul through space. All of these experiences, plus the wisdom of her teachers, help inform her as she uses yoga to transform the lives of those suffering from pain and illness.
Lorien has worked with cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers in several settings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Stanford Cancer Supportive Care, Kaiser Santa Clara, Good Samaritan Hospital and the Cancer CAREpoint programs. She taught yoga as part of the Santa Clara Kaiser Pain Management and Rehabilitation Program for several years, and brought yoga to the lock-down facility of the Stanford Hospital psychiatric ward. In addition to her weekly classes, she offers yearly training programs for yoga teachers. She has been practicing yoga since 1999, began teaching in 2004, and hasn’t stopped learning about it since. She holds one 500-hour certification from Breathe Together Yoga and another from Prajna Yoga, as well as certificates from Therapeutic Yoga, Y4C (Yoga for Cancer), is a Cancer Exercise Specialist. Lorien has also received training from the integrative oncology departments of both MD Anderson and Memorial-Sloan Kettering. In 2016, Lorien earned the title of Certified Yoga Therapist from the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
Hear Lorien's interview on the Transformational Power of Yoga Telesummit here.
"Lorien is by far the best instructor in this field that I have encountered. Her explanations and instructions are always very clear and easy to understand, and her exercises and poses can be modified to suit people at all stages of fitness, and accommodate special problems. She is warm, caring, and approachable, as well as being a real expert in her field."
"I found the your workshop a great eye opener for me. The introduction, vocabulary and mindset to teach this population is all new to me. You gave careful notes on how to teach and modify with props, and especially noted which poses worked or were not optimal for a student depending on their body's recovery and strength. The most important thing I learned was the true nature of ahimsa in all aspects of its meaning."
"Lorien's deep knowledge of therapeutic movements, breathing and meditation techniques ensures each class is impactful and varied. I also appreciate how she mixes physical exercises with a dash of yoga philosophy, adding a spiritual element so important for the healing process."
"I was struck by how sensitive and tuned in Lorien is to the diverse needs among her students, while respecting the privacy and dignity of each person. She sets such a positive tone of safety, peacefulness, and good health."
"In Lorien's class, I am completely focused on what is happening at each moment, the ultimate in mindfulness. This allows me to turn my attention and energy toward healing. To me, yoga is as important as any treatment."
"Lorien was a crucial teacher at crucial time in helping me to better know, love, and care for my own individual body."
"I owe a huge thank you to Lorien - her words of wisdom and support are with me at all times, both in and out of her class; it turns out it was not just a yoga class, but a place where I learned that I am truly not alone; an environment in which I saw the immense value of community, met new friends and mentors, and - most importantly, where I learned that it is okay to ask for help. It may not sound like much, but this was a huge breakthrough for me - I am not exaggerating when I say that it has changed and saved my life."
"Lorien’s knowledge of anatomy , physiology ,and in particular, the lymphatic system sets her apart from any other instructor I have worked with. Lorien takes special interest in each of her students, getting to know them individually, not only on a physical level – relating to their cancer, treatments, recovery, limitations, abilities, and needs, but also on a social and spiritual level as well. She is truly a holistic teacher, such a gem and godsend to this community."
"Lorien is a teacher's teacher. Her workshop was so nicely balanced between lecture/theory, question/answer sessions and finally to the student-led instruction of the poses. Lorien creates a supportive group space with her openness and encouragement. We learned, created and thrived. It was an amazing experience."