The first time you meet Lori Lucas she doesn’t just shake your hand, she’ll give you a hug. That’s just who she is: bursting with optimism, bounce-in-her-step, Lori. Anyone who’s met her is struck by her immediate vibrancy. She’s someone you could spill your life story to without even meaning to. Maybe it’s her moon ring or her effervescent smile, but there is something about her you know you can instantly trust.

Mind you, the trust thing could come from the fact she used to be a doula and now teaches nine yoga classes a week focusing on prenatal, postnatal and kid’s yoga in the styles of Yin and Hatha. Alternating between Mount Pleasant Community Centre and Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre, she sees 75 pregnant women a week and is a self-proclaimed fan of mothers.

“I love mothers – even more than the babies!” she jokes.

She never thought she would restart her career as a doula. It wasn’t until her friend; a labour delivery nurse pushed her to pursue it, that she gave it real consideration.

“She was like, you should become a doula and I was like…what in the world is a doula?”

Despite doula sounding like the name of some extrasolar planet, Lori decided to give it a go and subsequently fell in love with helping and nurturing mothers throughout their pregnancy. At the same time she also found a renewed passion for her yoga practice, which lead to a realization.

“I was at a birth when  I put two and two together and [thought] yoga could be so helpful to [these women], in preparing with their birth, self regulation of their nervous system and coming back to the moment… it’s almost like yoga was made for pregnant women.”

Thus began her yoga vocation, and she’s been at it ever since. On top of her classes at Mount Pleasant and Roundhouse she is also a guest faculty member at Langara College and an ambassador for a handful of non-profit organizations including Vega and Shanti Uganda Society, which works with women in Uganda with HIV/AIDS.

“I feel so lucky because I get to see [mothers] when they walk in newly pregnant and everything in their whole life is changing… I hope that their yoga practice is going to help them plant seeds for their self-care, for the future and for post partum… Yes their babies need care, but so do they. Without them, where would their baby be?”

It is with this appreciative admiration Lori teaches her classes. You can see it in the way she talks, the way she observes her surroundings. She’s one of those rare people who can look up from their own lives and share a moment in yours. She’s someone who cares.

“Hey little birdie,” she says to a sparrow that narrowly skims the air above our heads. She has a soft spot for birds. She has a pet finch named Dean and with her partner she fosters a canary from the Bloedel Conservatory called Friday, who apparently makes a habit of falling off his perch.

Lori hasn’t had it easy herself; after experiencing a traffic accident when she was younger she turned to Yoga to find strength and calmness in her life. Something she has undoubtedly achieved and consistently cultivates.

“I find it so fulfilling. I just hope that the yoga tools that really help me in my everyday life can help other people. We all need to slow down once and a while and connect with ourselves, because we don’t want to miss our lives.”

Lori teaches Monday and Wednesday at Mount Pleasant Community Centre. For more details about Lori and her class schedule you can visit her website.