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yoga and stretching for health and wellness

I remember doing yoga in my 20’s thinking, "What’s so spiritual about a nice stretch?" Then there was the time I tried a meditation class during medical school and woke up from a deep sleep alone in the middle of an empty room. Bottom line, I was not a born yogi.

Two years ago, I started on the ClassPass app because I wanted to support the female founder who was struggling to get her company going. It wasn’t until then that I really gave yoga a try. ClassPass gave me access to all these great fitness studios around Los Angeles, so I began trying different yoga classes.

I discovered that hot Vinyasa yoga was challenging enough to keep me intrigued. It’s a more athletic style of yoga where you flow through different poses. There is the deep breathing, but the graceful movements that accompany the breathing make it into a spiritual ballet. The planks and "chattaranga," which are like push ups, build strength in the chest and shoulders. Poses like chair and the warrior are great for gluteus and quad/hamstring strength. 

An hour of hot yoga can burn 500 calories with the room heated to 90+ degrees.  As we get older we lose our sense of balance and our connective tissues become more brittle, so Vinyasa is an excellent form of exercise that includes ample stretching and balancing poses. 

After two years, I am finally able to do a headstand. I love the feeling of exploring my limits when I’m flowing from one pose to the next. There’s no competition, but I feel like a winner every time I step off my mat.  From my practice, I've reached a new level of body awareness and sense of gratitude for life.

In quantum physics, I learned that everything is energy and form doesn't exist. On my yoga mat, I feel this. During my hour of yoga, I have ecstatic moments of stillness in my mind. There is no thinking and no judgment. I am self-actualized and have had some of my greatest creative ideas flow during my practice.

I look forward to at least another 50 years of my yoga practice. My role model is a 98 year-old yoga teacher. Did I mention that yoga is great for anti-aging? More on that later…

Namaste, Taryn

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