Many years ago, a colleague challenged me to try yoga. She was older than I was but looked absolutely fantastic. One day I asked her if she lifted weights and did aerobics. Her answer shocked me. “No, no weights or aerobics. I only do yoga.” I looked at her with the side-eye and said, “Yeah right!” She said, “No, really; that’s all I do. You should give it a try.” At the time, I thought (like so many who’ve never tried it do) that yoga was just “stretching.” Months later, I changed jobs and never saw my colleague again, but I never forgot that conversation. Years later, I gave yoga a try.
My first experience came in the form of one of the P90X workout DVDs (“Yoga X”) and honestly, I wasn’t a fan at all. I only did it because it was part of the routine, but to me, that DVD session was difficult and boring. Years later, I was diagnosed with “The C Word,” and after undergoing abdominal surgery to remove a tumor, I had lost a considerable amount of core strength, which severely affected my ability to play tennis without having lower back pain. One day, my wife (who loves bargain shopping) found a Living Social coupon for 10 classes at Om, and figuring that a live session had to be better than the pre-recorded tapes, I decided to give it another go. The rest is history!
When I started, my core was so weak I could barely bring my knee off the floor to do a single cheetah pose; but through the guidance, gentle assistance, and constant reassurance of instructors like Maria, I eventually gained full abdominal strength and cheetahs were no longer a problem. Also, practicing an average of three days a week sharpened my focus, which resulted in a drastic improvement in my tennis game. Learning to take my mind “off the pose” and focus on breathing has carried over into other areas of my life. Now, whether I’m lifting weights, playing tennis, or doing my occupation (writing), when things get difficult, I just breathe.
Today, yoga is a part of my regular wellness routine, which includes eating healthy, taking supplements, learning how to rest, and regular strength training. I’ve practiced at Om now for five years, and if there is any advice I can give to anyone, it would be to give Om Yoga a try (not only are all of the instructors patient, kind, and very good at what they do; I absolutely love everyone’s playlists)! Finally, of all the forms of exercise and physical activity I’ve ever tried, yoga is the only one I’ve found that massages, and perhaps even strengthens and tones the internal organs; so if you wanna be whole, you can’t just work on the outside, you’ve gotta work on the inside too!
By Matt Talford author of From Fear to Faith: A Survivor's Story
In 2010, at the age of 37, Matt began feeling a “constant ticking” inside his body, not knowing that what he was feeling was a virtual “time bomb” that could explode at any moment. Seven months later when he was diagnosed with a rare and malignant form of “The C Word,” he quietly reassured himself that time was his ally, while constantly battling against the growing tide of external voices whispering, “don’t procrastinate; time is not on your side!”
In From Fear to Faith, author Matt Talford takes you on a journey through his personal war on cancer and shares the physical, mental and spiritual tools that inspired him to reverse what he referred to as “a slow death,” and how he courageously fought to overcome a dreadful condition that to this day, he refuses to take ownership of, choosing the words, “I was diagnosed with…” as opposed to “I had…”