Embracing Yoga as a Way of Life with Stephanie Spence – EP87

 In Podcast

Most endurance athletes come to yoga because we are in recovery from an injury or surgery of some kind, or perhaps even an addiction to exercise. And the physical benefits are many, helping practitioners gain flexibility and strength and affording them the opportunity to stay active while they heal. But what surprises many of us is the spiritual aspect of the practice, the self-awareness and mental clarity that we can then apply to other areas of our lives. Whether your pain is physical or emotional, embracing yoga as a way of life has the potential to help you heal—and navigate life’s ups and downs with grace.




Stephanie Spence is an internationally-acclaimed yoga instructor, activist, author and entrepreneur. She has been published online and in print magazine OM Lifestyle, Yoga UK and Yoga Guide. Stephanie writes the award-winning yoga blog One With Life, and she is the author of Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat. Stephanie has been practicing yoga for nearly 40 years, and she is passionate about educating and inspiring as many people as possible to try yoga and adopt the practice as a system of living.

Today, Stephanie explains how she discovered yoga to address her back pain at the age of 19. She walks us through the fundamentals of yoga as a physical, emotional and spiritual practice, explaining the wide range of styles and her approach to using yoga as medicine. Stephanie also covers the eight limbs of yoga as a system for living and her personal take on yoga in the context of competition. Listen in for insight around how Stephanie’s epic yoga road trip informed her book, Yoga Wisdom, and learn how embracing yoga could transform your life!

Topics Covered

[1:13] How Stephanie discovered yoga

  • Taking drugs for twisted spine at age 19
  • Trainer friend suggested yoga
  • Slept better, improved focus and energy
[4:00] The fundamentals of yoga

  • Physical, emotional and spiritual practice
  • Welcoming regardless of age, weight, etc.
[6:38] The range of yoga styles

  • From ashtanga (intense) to yin (restorative)
  • Try several to see what works for you
  • Start with beginner class, share goals w/ teacher
[11:02] The two main components of yoga

  • Breath and being in body
  • Translate mindful practice to life
[15:03] The eight limbs of yoga as a system of living

  • Yama—moral vows, discipline
  • Niyama—observation
  • Asana—posture
  • Pranayama—breathing techniques
  • Pratyahara—sense withdrawal
  • Dharana—focused concentration
  • Dhyana—meditative absorption
  • Samadhi—bliss, enlightenment
[21:58] Stephanie’s book, Yoga Wisdom

  • Inspired by yoga road trip (10 years, 40 countries)
  • Common thread among teachers interviewed
  • Use yoga to move through ups and downs w/ grace
  • Helped Stephanie reclaim voice and LIVE yoga
[27:25] How Stephanie uses yoga as medicine

  • Slower, healing styles to recover (i.e.: chair class)
  • Lighthearted practice to balance flexibility, strength
[36:42] Stephanie’s take on competitive yoga

  • Focus on joy of achieving rather than competition
  • Value in exposing more people to yoga (e.g.: Olympics)
[41:22] Stephanie’s dharma to inspire people to embrace yoga

  • Comforting, powerful to know purpose (gives peace)
  • Realized on road trip, experienced new kind of elation

Learn More About Stephanie Spence

Stephanie’s Website

Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat by Stephanie Spence


Ana Forrest

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