Laura Warf is a movement specialist and wellness expert who guides others to be conscious creators of their well-being.
She is the founder of the School of Happiness, which crafts methods integrating wellness tools from ancient teachings to today’s cutting-edge research from exercise science, positive psychology and yoga philosophy. The SOH eight essential elements to health and happiness helps guide the way towards a more resilient body, a calm mind and a light heart.
As a passionate wellness educator, yoga teacher, and mind-body specialist, Laura offers tools and resources in the form of classes, retreats and services in corporate wellness both live and online.
Laura Warf has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (Fitness) from McGill University, she is a trained coach with the certified coaches federation, a movement specialist and a certified canfitpro fitness instructor. Laura is the author of a mind-body specialist program, a yoga-certified instructor mentored by Mark Whitwell, and a Canadian Certified Yoga Teacher CA-RYT-500. She has extensive training from the Kripalu yoga centre and is qualified as a Reiki practitioner specializing in energy balancing.
She has been fortunate to study and work with numerous enlightened teachers in the field of yoga, meditation, positive psychology and exercise science. It is the blend of these teachings which have helped shape who she is today and ignited the passion she generously shares by transmitting her knowledge and experience in all her sessions.
Laura founded the School of Happiness where she applies her principles, shares her knowledge and passion for movement through weekly live online classes and prerecorded yoga, functional fitness, and meditation sessions.
Along with her partner Ian Reid, the creation of the Mend My Back Program came to life in the online world and live at conferences. MMB is a service specializing in back care and posture improvement through progressive movement. Mend My Back is a membership site that showcases a trio of video programs accessible online:
- 'Lifestyle Foundations' focuses on everyday movements and postural habits that can hurt our back when repeated improperly over time. Discover important foundational movements that impact everything you do.
- 'Essentials' introduces basic anatomical principles, it explores the main 7 causes of chronic back pain, and suggests a top 10 of key exercises to improve back health.
- 'Conditioning' is a very comprehensive and progressive program. It is divided into 4 modules with a step by step approach to proper movement, exercise routines and many more resources for back health.
A Passion for Lifestyle Balance, Wellness, Yoga and Fitness
Laura draws upon her 28 years of teaching experience in the fitness industry, she is the former editor of Beyond Fitness magazine and continues to write for various publications. You can follow her blog at the School of Happiness site schoolofhappiness.ca. For those looking for an alternative solution to back pain visit mendmybackprogram.com.
As a former recipient of the Canfitpro presenter of the year award, and the Distinctive Women Trailblazer of the year award, she continues to teach and present at conferences and in companies across the country.
Laura is passionate about sharing her knowledge and she has an engaging and skillful approach to make fitness, yoga, meditation and wellness accessible to everyone.
A Life-Long Interest in Fitness and Wellness
I have explored the fitness and wellness path all my life and have devoted myself to actively working in this industry for the past 28 years and have seen many trends come and go. The key to living long, staying fit and being happy includes a personal formula that encompasses the body, mind, heart and soul, with gradual progression to ensure successful integration and sustainability.
A Happier, Healthier, More Holistic Life
After many years of searching and trying all kinds of fitness and nutrition regimens and being too hard on myself, I finally discovered a healthy balance that feels just right. It doesn't always mean it is easy to make the right choices all the time, I am not perfect! Although I do make my well-being a priority because I prefer feeling uplifted and energized.
I have learned to honour my body, trust its wisdom and have a better understanding of what it is asking for, from the right type of activity to the most nourishing and healing foods along with balancing mentally stimulating time with quiet meditative moments.
Each day is different, some days I know I need to step up the intensity of my exercise regimen and business projects and other days I need to dial it down and practice more inner listening which always sparks my creative flame. Like Yin and Yang, we need both. This way of being assists in living a happier, healthier more holistic life.
Development of the Eight Essential Elements to Health and Happiness
I focus my attention on my own lifestyle balance and overall well-being through the integration of numerous techniques I have learned over the years. This has helped me not only to find a wellness formula for myself but also to evaluate and ask the right questions to suggest wellness strategies for each person I work with. This is what inspired the creation of the Happiness Wheel and the Eight Essential Elements to Health and Happiness.
The Spark of Joy Helps us Shine
My granny used to say “you need to have more fun dear” when she would witness me running full speed ahead without allowing too much down time. For most of my 20s and 30s I was revved and stressed out until I burned out. Life teaches us what we need to learn the most and what we resist the most is often what we need the most. The way I was living needed to change. I now infuse my granny’s motto into all that I do. From activity choices or business collaborations, everything is more fun when I bring joy and gratitude into what I do. I love my work; health and wellness practices light me up, I just do it differently now.
We all shine more when we turn our focus towards the little joyful moments each day brings. Gratitude is a part of each day and the practice changed my life. What we focus on amplifies so I now choose to focus on what I appreciate instead of what I don't. Here are some examples of things that bring a smile to my lips and a lightness in my heart: fun family dinners, comforting morning hugs from Ian, Shiva’s smiley face and waggly tail, stepping onto my yoga mat for a nurturing practice, sitting quietly enjoying my morning coffee – the first sip is the best! More of what I love: hand made soaps infused with essential oils, baking healthy cookies, shopping at fresh farmer’s markets, giggling with my mom and exploring waters by kayak, reading inspirational books, being with the School of Happiness community, seeing and smelling the fresh flowers around our home, facilitating empowering workshops and retreats to engaged, curious groups of people, drinking afternoon tea from my granny’s tea cups, tasting real maple syrup like my dad used to make, walks in the woods, swimming in the lake or canoeing with my dad, relaxing afternoon naps, quiet meditation, spending time with a close friend. And there are so many more special moments that each day offers. Even the most challenging day offers joyful moments, we just need to choose to see them.
Childhood in Rural Quebec
I have lived an active lifestyle all my life. My family owned over 96 acres of property in Lakefield, Quebec so I grew up as a country girl roaming the woods as early as six years old with my dog Albert (a loyal and playful Samoyed) and riding bareback on our horses as they grazed the property. Weekends were spent cheering my dad on at his baseball games. My mom even made us wear funky homemade bonnets on our heads claiming them to be good luck for the team. We looked a little silly, but we believed that it helped his team win! I loved spending carefree summers at the lake swimming, sailing and paddling. Being in nature, especially surrounded by trees has always been naturally therapeutic for me.
Sports Involvement from Elementary School to University
In elementary school I got involved with the track and field team and cross country team along with other team sports. It was in high school that I was introduced to aerobics and weight training and immediately fell in love with those activities. I trained vigorously with a coach in body building as I entered CEGEP and university and also joined the rugby team and thought it was normal to feel sore all the time. Now I know better…
Daily Movement! Hiking, Dog-Walking, Yoga
I always maintained a training regimen and earlier in my career taught numerous spinning classes per week. I now opt for more functional training a couple of times per week with an integration of cardiovascular exercise like swimming, hiking and cycling. I admit my favourite activities involve being outdoors in the woods or on the water with my dog Shiva (an energetic Golden Retriever) along with a yoga practice that varies day today to honour what my body, mind and soul are asking for.
Yoga Life Since 1997
I participated in my first yoga class in 1997 towards the end of university and immediately fell in love with the state of “yoga bliss”: a deeply contented, expansive, peaceful feeling following the final relaxation period of the practice. A welcome sensation to counter balance the stress mode I was used to. I went on to attend a yoga conference at the Kripalu centre for yoga and health in Massachusetts in 2001 and every cell in my body resonated with a loud YES! Since that moment I committed to yearly teacher trainings and workshops in yoga and meditation to deepen my practice and integrate all I could. I met my teacher of heart Mark Whitwell in 2005 and have followed his authentic teachings from the Krishnamacharya lineage ever since. Now a regular part of my day, I enjoy sharing the timeless teachings with others.
This self-care discipline introduced me to the world energy medicine. Along with various teachers, mentors and shamans I became sensitized to my own intuition and developed the ability to assist others along their own healing journeys, emotional freedom and spiritual quests.
Dealing with Back Pain and Anxiety
Since the age of 18 I lived with chronic lower back pain along with bouts of anxiety. My own back issues prompted me to focus on discovering back care methods through collaborations with physiotherapists and osteopaths. As for the anxiety, I have learned what the triggers are for me along with efficient techniques to successfully manage it. Stress reduction plays a huge role.
There are several factors that may contribute to anxiety and the pathway to emotional freedom can vary from one person to the next. I have learned that when I balance my schedule effectively, participate in meaningful work with people I enjoy being with, along with maintaining a whole foods diet, regular exercise, yoga, meditation, quality sleep, and being in gratitude, I feel happier, more optimistic, more vibrant, and motivated to share what I have learned with others.
By staying true to my own personal practices and make my well-being a priority, I have a greater ability to flow through the ups and downs of life with greater awareness, grace and joy. When the anxiety pops up I notice I am usually stressed, too externally focused or “in my head” so I take a time out to tune in.
Being in pain is not fun. Great challenges can lead to opportunities so the Mend my Back Program was born and along with my partner Ian we have designed a comprehensive and progressive program to help others along their back care journeys. Check it out here: Mendmybackprogram.com
An Eternal Student
I will always remain a student of life, I love learning, networking and exchanging with inspiring leaders, I am driven to consistently research new methods, and create new projects that will help others live a healthier, happier life. Being active and inspired is what allows me to continually grow and evolve and subsequently share what I learn.
I am grateful to have been well guided and supported throughout my life by family, friends, mentors and teachers. I have had the experience of working for large organizations along with working in smaller teams and enjoy all my collaborations.
Pay Attention to Daily Thoughts, Choices and Actions
A pivotal quote changed my course of direction in 2013: “Build your own dream or someone will hire you to build theirs.” It is important for me to do what I love with people whom I trust. When the fun stops or if I am no longer evolving, I pay attention and make a move – as challenging as life transitions are, they are also highly rewarding. School of Happiness was born and our community is growing.
Our destiny is shaped through our consistent daily thoughts, choices and actions. I choose to begin each day powerfully to get myself into a centered and vibrant state. My personal intention is to remain in alignment with my soul’s purpose which is about learning to be a better communicator and developing my own spirituality. My mission also includes inspiring others to be conscious creators of their well-being mind, body and spirit. I trust that day by day, I am guided as long as I listen, trust and honour the voice that speaks to me through my heart, then cultivate the courage to keep moving forward.
Learn with Laura
I invite you to join me as I share the elements of a healthier, happier life in my signature programs around the globe so that you can also navigate your way through a fulfilling life with the tools you need to remain balanced, healthy and happy.
= Become a member in our online platform, try one of our complimentary classes or tune in for a drop in class at your convenience. More info here: Online classes
Live well. Be happy.
Healthy living is multi-dimentional; it encompasses a positive, solution-oriented mindset which includes engaging in uplifting projects that serve others well. Living with vitality requires daily movement (ideally outdoors!) to keep the body resilient and strong, fuelled by whole foods to nourish every cell optimally. A healthy, happy lifestyle also allows for time to connect with inner stillness giving the body/mind time to replenish and of course spontaneous play time with loved ones to keep our hearts light and filled with gratitude.