Lorelei Taylor grew up in Berkeley, Calif., lived in different areas of the West Coast and moved to Portales in 1996. Taylor started practicing yoga in 1971 and has studied under prominent Hindu yoga teachers in California, India and Bali. Taylor's dance career began at age 7 with classical ballet; she discovered modern dance at age 13. She taught yoga and dance at Eastern New Mexico University from 1997 to 2008 and started teaching at Clovis Community College in 2002. Taylor said ENMU and CCC had no yoga program prior to her arrival.
Lorelei Taylor at age 57 in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu (southeast Indian state) emulates the poses of the Hindu deities to her left.
Lorelei Taylor at age 12 posing minutes before her fist professional ballet performance of "The Nutcracker."
What got you into yoga? I've always been interested in Eastern philosophy. I've always had this sort of predilection toward yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism. I do believe in reincarnation. I became a Zen Buddhist at 19. Then my spiritual path took me to Hinduism and I became a Hari Krishna girl at 25. My Buddhist and Hindu background has been very important to me in yoga.
Tell me about your yoga and dance instruction in Clovis and Portales. I teach classic Hatha yoga. I come from many disciplines. Besides teaching at CCC and ENMU I've given workshops at dance studios and I've done my own teachers' training in Hatha Flow and yogini. I also teach pilates. I put a lot of yoga in my pilates. As far as dance, I teach gypsy, Spanish, tribal belly dance, Bollywood and Indian stick dancing. Daniya, which is Indian stick dancing, is much like folk dance. Bollywood is very glamorous.
Tell me about your travels to India. I started traveling to India in 2001. I've been to India eight times and I've been to Bali eight times. I studied with a dance guru for seven years in Bali. I last studied yoga and dance in northern India, in Rishikesh, in 2009. Rishikesh is very famous. It's the city of the Rishis (composers of ancient Hindu hymns). It's been a place of yoga and spiritual development for thousands of years. I like to visit my guru's ashram (a secluded dwelling of a Hindu sage), in Tamil Nadu (southeast Indian state). My guru Sri Ramana Maharshi is one of my favorite gurus. I had a very significant spiritual experience at his ashram. I've had some great times in India. It can be crazy but I love it. It's very stimulating.
How does your husband fit into your life as a yogi? I met my husband while living in San Diego. He's my little protector when I go to India and Bali. He's a photographer and a musician. While I'm doing yoga or studying dance he takes pictures. That's our partnership.
What do you think your yoga and dance instruction does for Clovis and Portales? I think it's a great way to give diversity to the area. There's always plenty of Zumba, weight training and different things like that. I think I offer a style that's different, especially because of my world dance background.
Why don't you have a cell phone? I have an iPod. I love everything we can do with computers but I have to admit that I don't have a great interest in embracing it. I'm sort of kicking and screaming into this new world. I'm very fortunate that my husband and my son Roland are experts in computers. They'll do things for me on the computer, even check my email. I also don't want to be that available. I don't want to have to talk all the time. It takes away from my yoga and spiritual practice. When I'm driving I'm chanting or singing to the radio. I can hardly turn the volume down on the radio. I have to concentrate on driving (bursting into laughter).
Name: Lorelei Taylor
Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.
Occupation: Yoga and belly dance instructor at Clovis Community College
Married to: Brackston for 32 years
Children: Molly, Devin and Roland