Mandy Ingber: My father first brought yoga into my life when I was 7. He began yoga, meditation and diet to help with his back injuries incurred from being really athletic. Once he healed, he began to use yoga to take his body to a new level. My brother and I tried to bond with my dad by doing yoga with him. I followed in my father's footsteps by using the book Iyengar's Light on Yoga. I also really love Richard Hittleman's Yoga for Health TV series. My parents brainstormed about creating a program to bring yoga to the office in order to improve productivity...a yoga break instead of a coffee break. I can really relate to the beginner who feels intimidated by yoga and meditation, because that's how I felt with my father—somewhat untouchable, restrictive, as if there were a right and wrong way to practice—I had big shoes to fill! Even though my father practiced daily, he had a highly stressful job and occasionally had a quick temper. I am under no illusion that yoga is the solution to all issues! That's why I am a very open-minded yogi.
MK: How has yoga changed your life?
MI: Yoga is a part of who I am. It has given me a permanent relationship. A relationship between my body, my mind and my emotions.
- Mind: It's been influential in giving me a sense of detachment from my struggles and my victories and has allowed me to observe myself. Yoga has given me greater focus.
- Emotions: Yoga has given me more compassion for my imperfections. When I wanted to give up, it slowed me down enough to tolerate what I once perceived as discomfort and to recognize that it is just a feeling. I believe when you want movement in your life, move your body! It has helped me through heartbreak and my father's passing. It is truly a thread that runs through my entire life.
- Body: Yoga has given me continued and increased strength and flexibility, cardiovascular stamina, body awareness, more consciousness of when I am hungry or full and increased sensitivity. Yoga relaxes my nervous system and regulates my hormones.