Laura Bernas

Home City: Buffalo, NY

Department: Global Humanitarian Projects

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am a creative goofball who loves learning. Anything that makes me think, challenges the way I view the world, or questions my previous conceptions I am enthused by. I love being out in nature and finding the simplicity in our world’s natural beauty. I find myself to be the kind of person who has many passions and is rather unconventional. I wish to change how people view success and happiness through the varied kinds of work I do.

Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?

A: It came about in a roundabout way! After job hunting in NYC for about 3 months I applied for a job at Yoga International. I had heard about YI and the Himalayan Institute through taking some yoga classes with my mom at HI Buffalo. The job with YI did not work out, but the person I interviewed with recommended me to my now boss—Jeff Abella. I visited in November and something just felt right. I knew that coming to the Himalayan Institute would be the right choice for me, so I jumped!

I knew that coming to the Himalayan Institute would be the right choice for me, so I jumped!
Q: What inspired you to join the community?

A: I am often drawn to and inspired by unconventional ways of living. However, the Institute is not as unconventional as I think many would believe. Rather, it is a place that cultivates all the aspects of life that I believe provide me with a good sense of balance and contentment. I love yoga and the practice, science, and philosophy behind it, so that was a huge draw. But I also believe strongly in cultivating positive communities for myself and within the daily aspects of my life. The Himalayan Institute is filled with people actively trying to do just that, and it gives me great joy to be around such individuals. There is a gentle fearlessness and a sense of continuous tiny achievement in being part of a community of people who practice compassion, empathy, self-awareness, and love—particularly in such times as these when there is a lot of turmoil in our world.

Q: What have you learned during your time here?

A: Patience is really, really…really hard! Understanding who you are and where you want to go is merely one step in becoming someone you hope to be or accomplishing the things you want to achieve. If there is one thing that being at the Himalayan Institute has illuminated in me thus far, it is that clarity does not speed up time and that patience—both with myself and those around me—is so important in my ability to actually do the things I want to do. Patience with myself, where I am at in life, and with whatever the circumstance may be. This is one of the toughest challenges for me, and the Institute helps me to become more confident in the uncertainty of my future…I am very grateful for this current experience.

Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?

A: Yoga, compassion, and living life through joyous perspectives is for everyone! There is nothing that cannot be achieved with the outlook that practicing yoga and creating a positive, loving environment provides. The Himalayan Institute is a place in which you will be tested personally and shown how much you are capable of growing. For me, I hope this for every experience I encounter—whether good or bad, something positive can be learned. The Institute allows you to cultivate self-awareness, passion, and meet incredible people who come from every different background. It is a very remarkable and unique place to live, study and learn, or just simply be! I am immensely happy to be living in a place where all this is not only possible, but encouraged.