Creative Conversation

Larissa Deana Carlson ‘The Leo Style’ | Edition Eight



How did you get into your line of work?

I came across an outdoor yoga class whilst I was on holiday in Whangamata in 2013. I ended up going daily for three weeks and when I returned back to Wellington, I searched out all the studios, teachers and workshops I could find. I got totally hooked and was feeling great in my body and my mind from this simple practice called yoga.  My friends suggested I do yoga teacher training, which I then completed in 2015. (Whilst I worked full time as a project manager).  I did my meditation teacher training in 2017.  I now teach 2-4 yoga classes a week around my day-job and family commitments. (I have 2 boys, aged 5 and 8).

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love meeting a heap of people and sharing something with them that will change their lives! I love hearing from people who have tried yoga or meditation with me and now have it as part of their regular wellness regime.  The energy I get from teaching a room packed full of people is awesome!

Where do your ideas/creativity evolve from?

I take inspiration from my kids, who tell it like it is and will let me know if I'm spending too much time on my phone! I listen to a lot of podcasts about yoga (sped up to 2x speed) to get insights about how I could be a better teacher. I love recharging in nature - whether that’s a walk around the beach where I live in Seatoun, or going for a walk in the bush, it all fills my cup.  I also have some amazing #girlboss friends who I look up to and get inspiration from their drive to keep being awesome: Sara from @tailorskincare, Kristal from, Kim from @empower_studio, Kerene from @mindful_at_work, Amber from @goodbuzznz, Tania from @dragonflywgtn and MaryKate from @elderberry.kate

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What are some of the challenges you face in a creative role?

My own lack of confidence in myself, to be putting myself out there in the world of social media. I’m always worried that someone will call me out for not knowing enough or not having enough experience. I think thats why it took me so long to develop the Yoga Deck, because I wanted it to be perfect so the haters had nothing to criticise it for!  

Is there a favourite event you have attended or held? 

Wanderlust yoga festival in Taupo will always be dear to my heart because I met so many people there who have become great friends and it was an annual girls trip away with my friends Gabs and Sara. The yoga, the music, the late night pool parties - oh man, I wish we could bring it back!

I also love the mindfulness "escapes" I host with Kerene Strochnetter from Mindful At Work.  We take a group of busy professional women away for a long weekend, out of the city where they can recharge in nature.  We give them good food, lots of yoga and time to relax as well as teaching them the foundations of starting a mindfulness practice.  It is followed up with seven weeks of mindfulness masterclasses (virtually).  The feedback we have had is amazing and I can't wait for our next one in Lake Taupo in April (26-28).


What is your take on a healthy mentality and lifestyle?

You need to fill your own cup first before you can be off any use to anyone else.  Take time to do the things that make you a better human - meditation, yoga, gratitude, massages, outsource your house cleaning - whatever it is, make time for it.  If you are well then you can encourage others to be well.  While you're at it, don't sweat it if you miss a day at the gym, or smash a whole pizza in one sitting.  The 80:20 rule says that those little hiccups won't impact your overall wellbeing (and in fact might help on a soul level!).

Anything you would like to add?

Learning to meditate or practice mindfulness can be frustrating for some people.  They just can't seem to stop their thoughts, but guess what? Here’s the secret. You don't have to stop your thoughts! The idea of meditation is that you notice when you're distracted (and don't make a big deal about it) and then you choose to come back to a single point of focus (like your breath or the sounds around you). Over and over. No big deal. Over time and through your practice you'll notice that the gaps between the distractions becomes longer.  I like using the breath as my focus or anchor - because it’s always with you. If you haven't got your breath than there’s more things to be worried about than if your mediation is going OK!

How to get hold of me:

Shirley McLeod



My next Mindfulness Escape weekend: 

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