The Model Yogini
Beliefnet catches up with Christy Turlington.
BY: Interview by Anne Simpkinson
You mentioned a personal yoga practice. When and how did you start?
I started practicing Yoga at about 18. I had a friend who was doing it and was incredibly disciplined and meditatedall
the time. I found it really intriguing. I think Yoga was the thing that attracted me to this friend in the first place. It was sort of like, wow, the discipline and the respect and the quietude.
That's what I wanted. I started to doKundalini Yoga
, which is not the Yoga I do now but it's a Yoga that I believe originated with the Sikhs, who combined Islamic and Hindu practices. It's based a little on meditation but there is a physical aspect to the practice, too.
I did it quite regularly. I had a daily meditation practice, and started to go to retreats from time to time. But at the time I was traveling and working a lot as a model. I used some of the tools that I learned through meditation and Yoga to keep me calm and sane through my career. I didn't always have an asana practice but I continued to use things such as meditation, mantra repetition, and breathing exercises to keep me balanced and centered.
Could you briefly describe the type of Yoga that you do?
The Yoga that I do now isAshtanga Yoga
. It means "Eight-Limbed Yoga." It's almost like meditation in motion in that you use Hatha Yoga postures done in a specific sequence. It's all very strategic in the way that it's been created and set up.
You really have to have a teacher, and you can't rush it at all. You have to get into the postures and be there as you are, as opposed to trying to reach some specific goal. It's very much a metaphor for living in that you have to give yourself a bit of a break. It forces you to be very much in the moment. It's always the same sequence, [and] you find that there is a tremendous amount of freedom through very strict routine.
Do you approach Yoga as a fitness regimen or a spiritual practice?
Yoga is a spiritual practice that has incredible physical benefits. I look at it as a lifestyle, a way of living that connects me to me. You know, the word "Yoga" means union. It's like everything in Yoga yokes or unites you to something higher, the highest part of yourself.
What I did for a living for so many years separated who I was from what I did, and Yoga has brought back all the parts of me. Yoga puts me in a place that is a little bit less about doing and more about being, which enables me, in fact, to do more.