We are stoked to welcome our newest French Brand Warrior, Ludovic. A truly altruistic yogi, Ludovic teaches yoga in prisons, to homeless teenagers and is just about to embark on a global initiative to work with impoverished communities and trauma survivors.
Ludovic, you had a cross continental upbringing – tell us more about this and how it has shaped the person you are today?
As a kid, I grew up moving from one country to another every 2 to 4 years. Leaving your friends, your house, your school and starting all over again several times was not always easy but it taught me to be present in the moment, enjoy what I have, be flexible and quickly build connection. This lifestyle "imposed" on me actually planted the seeds of travel within me and a longing for continuing to explore the world! As an adult, each decision to move to a new place gave me a mixed feeling of freedom & vulnerability yet challenged my beliefs, opened up my mind to new possibilities and ultimately fostered personal growth.
How did you first come to find yoga? How did this evolve into you becoming a yoga teacher?
I discovered yoga a few years ago in New York City. At that time, I had just met my partner, Charlotte. Her passion for yoga sparked my curiosity and one day I asked her if I could come to a class with her. She took me to a Jivamukti Yoga class with Rima Rabbath. The class was intense and I was not very prepared so it was a little overwhelming but I remember leaving the studio feeling relaxed and peaceful for the first time in a while. I was going through some chronic stress and anxiety at that time. I continued practicing together with Charlotte and later on by myself, and progressively noticed a shift: that post-yoga class feeling of relaxation and peacefulness started to spread onto my everyday life! Yoga transformed me and becoming a teacher was an opportunity to share this gift with others.
What makes your classes unique?
My yoga classes are designed to cultivate self-awareness and inspire students to open up to the world grounded in compassion. I craft sequences for everybody and every body. I provide hands-on assist to lead my students towards knowledgeable and safe alignment. Music plays an essential role in illuminating my classes: I love to curate a playlist that echoes the narrative of the 'sweaty & steamy' sequence being taught!
You are currently based in New York – tell us about the yoga scene there
I like to think of New York as a creative laboratory of the world. It’s a place where innovation and creativity is everywhere including yoga. The city is filled with studios and teachers offering classes from the most classical methods to the latest and trendiest techniques. As a yoga student and teacher, I think it’s a unique opportunity to learn new approaches and discover new experiences.
You refer to yourself as a social change agent – can you explain how your documentary photography, acting and yoga create transformation in individuals and communities?
I believe photography is a tool for raising awareness about our human condition and the profound cultural changes of our society. While the US was going through the opioid crises, I published a documentary about drug addiction survivors. I’m currently working on a new project about trauma and the benefits of mind-body therapies on trauma survivors.
Acting is a therapy in itself. I think it has profound healing power. I’m currently exploring opportunities to include acting programs for vulnerable communities.
I teach yoga & meditation to populations at risk. I believe peace happens from the inside out. These practices can help those impacted by trauma, addiction, incarceration, stress, and depression - to name a few - regain control over their bodies, minds, and lives. Yoga can give them the tools to heal from old trauma and respond to new challenges in a healthier way.
You teach in prisons and shelters for teenagers who have experienced life on the streets – in what ways does this differ from teaching regular yoga classes?
Prisoners, youth at-risk and other vulnerable populations have one common characteristic: they have most likely experienced difficult life circumstances including traumatic events. Trauma-informed yoga methodology is based on central components of the hatha style of yoga, where participants engage in a series of physical forms (postures), breathing and mindfulness-based exercises. However, unlike many public yoga classes, this practice prioritizes gentleness in movement, removes strongly directive language, de-emphasizes posture intensity, and eliminates hands-on assistance from the instructor. It also highlights opportunities for participants to customize the practice and make selections that feel appropriate for them selves, emphasizing their internal experience and a felt sense of their own body.
Please tell us more about the Sharanam yoga project
Sharanam Yoga Project is a non-profit organization aiming to make yoga & meditation and their healing benefits accessible to populations at risk and individuals who have been exposed to trauma. In close collaboration with social justice and human health organizations, we set up yoga programs for people in precarious situations, including at-risk youth, women victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, refugees and asylum seekers, prisoners and correctional officers, people recovering from addiction, mental health challenges, patients and hospital staff. The project kicked-off in the Fall of 2018 and will continue over the course of 12 months in 5 destinations across South America, Africa and Europe. You can learn more about our programs on www.sharanamyogaproject.org
Finally, please leave us with some Ludovic Baussan words of wisdom
Yoga is not about touching your toes, It’s about opening your heart.
For more information, including Ludovic's contact informtion and website, where you can view his work, please visit his page here