Taryn Raine | A Yogi’s Way
As a self described ‘nomad’, Taryn Raine is always on the move. In Bali as we speak now on what she describes as a ‘wellness mission’, I can’t help but to be a little humored about the irony of her last name. “I mean, ‘Raine’ is that really your last name?” I ask.
Taryn laughs and replies with a quick and certain “Yes. Yes, of course!”
You have to admit that for a yoga and wellness trainer, the last name ‘Raine’ is almost a little too perfect.
Taryn’s journey to becoming a Nomad Yogi is quite a story….
“My fitness journey really started out of an insecure place, back when I was in adolescence.” Taryn says, “I was very worried about my image and fitting in, so I began to obsess over workouts. I would dig through the fitness pages in teen magazines and began paying attention to my diet. Around the age of eleven, I read my first “wellness” book, which is what inspired me to go vegan/vegetarian around that age. I was always mindful of my body and and my looks. It wasn’t until I accidentally stumbled into a yoga class my freshman year of college that I realized there is so much more to wellness than attraction. I learned that it is just as important to take care of the mind as it is to take care of the body. Since then, my fitness journey really evolved into this beautiful practice of marrying the physical, mental, and emotional practices into my life through yoga, weightlifting, meditation and spiritual practices.”
Taryn continued to practice, grow from, and enjoy yoga as her primary fitness and spiritual training regimen. Eventually, she decided to go ahead and get certified as a yoga trainer and instructor herself. “Four years ago, I became a certified yoga teacher and my life changed completely.” Taryn tell me, “At that time, I was working in the event world, teaching 7-8 times a week, and had a couple small businesses. I was very overworked, but I loved every moment of being about to teach my students and build a wellness community in the small town I had lived in.”
It’s always amazing to me how major life events (both positive and negative) become the impetus to lifestyle changes. That is exactly what ended up happening for Taryn….
“Many aspects of life began to unravel and I made the decision to sell all my belongings, close my home studio, and set off to travel the world.” Taryn tells me, “Still in love with teaching yoga and coaching my students, I began to teach online through my platform, the Remote Yogi, where I am able to share my knowledge on yoga, wellness, travel, and personal growth. Through free challenges, e-books, or online membership, I have been able to grow an online community of amazing women who are bettering themselves.
I also do a lot of life and spiritual coaching. I found that when it came to wellness, the self beliefs were just as important as the diet and fitness practices, if not more so. I began my coaching practice to help my clients truly believe in their own worth and ability to kick ass. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I’m still living out of my suitcase.“
Getting Started with Yoga
“The biggest things to remember when getting started with yoga is to stop being self critical.” Taryn says, “Often times, we have an image in our head of what yoga should look like or what a yogi should look like. The first challenge is to break through the expectations we place on ourselves, then we can experience the true benefits of yoga. It’s sad to watch. Beginner students will either beat themselves up for not being able to do certain poses or they’ll push themselves into a posture in a way that causes injury. This way of thinking can be dangerous! When starting any fitness practice, I suggest doing a gentle ego check and make sure that you coming at it with an open mind.”
“I know it can be intimidating and overwhelming. It sure was for me when I got started! When you’re new, just take it day-by-day. Don’t worry so much about having the perfect yoga mat or the perfect clothes or whatever. You really just need an open mind and a simple yoga mat and you’ll be fine. I highly encourage people try doing a beginner course at a local studio, if they have one in their area. If not, they can find plenty of online free challengers, like my own, that will teach them the basics from home. Home practice may also be good for those who are worried about feeling intimidated by the environment of a yoga studio.”
That “being said, also know that not all studios are created equally and not all teachers fit with all students. I always tell people to try different styles, different teachers, etc. I may not be the perfect teacher for you; that’s okay! The right fit is out there somewhere. The beauty is, everyone is different. Thank goodness for that!”
Yoga for Fitness & Spirit
I always like to ask Yogi’s what their thoughts are on whether yoga can be viewed as and practiced as just purely a fitness routine. So, in keeping with that, I asked the same of Taryn…
“In some ways, I think it is somewhat possible to separate the fitness element of yoga from the spiritual practice of yoga, understanding that the physical element is only one of eight different parts of yoga practice.” Taryn tells me, “I do believe that there are classes that are more geared towards the physical, fitness aspect of yoga. In many gyms, it may look like a power yoga or fit yoga class where the philosophy is not shared at all. (Sometimes, they even skip savasana, which is like the mini nap at the end of class and SO amazing.)”
“However when practicing yoga, there is a connection of the mind calming down and the breath working with the body. I think that inevitably leads to self growth and personal development, whether that spiritual or just the joy of having a calm mind. That experience is entirely on that the person’s own interpretation. I think it’s impossible to have yoga that’s true to the breath element that won’t transform people’s internal lives.”
Benefits of Yoga
“To me, the biggest benefit I’ve seen yoga create is the transformation it’s had on my mental health.” Taryn says, “Throughout my early teen years and into adulthood, I have battled depression and severe anxiety. Yoga was the first tool I used that completely got my brain into a surrendering, quiet state of mind. That’s really what hooked me in that yoga class that I accidentally stumbled into.
I honestly thought the movement was kind of silly and I was annoyed that I wasn’t getting enough of a work out. But at the end of class, I noticed that I hadn’t thought about anything other than yoga for the whole hour I was there. That blew my mind! As somebody who has suffered severe anxiety most my life, is was transformative moment. It was through this practice, and personal growth work, that got me completely off the anti-depressants I had been on intermittently since I was 12-years-old.”
“It continues to be the main reason I teach! Most of my students come to me with stress, anxiety, just this feeling of being overwhelmed. The yoga practice can help them take control of their bodies, but also take control their mind in a way that is different than a lot of other fitness practices. Now, I admit that I love lifting weights and I think there are similar effects in regards to focusing the mind. However, yoga specifically spends time working on the breath, clearing out the mind, and resting. I think these subtle changes are what makes yoga so much more beneficial for the mind and overall wellness.”
“Finding the tools to work with my mental challenges is something that continues to be a transformative.” Taryn tell me, “It still amazes me, but that wasn’t the greatest challenge. The biggest obstacle I overcame was my lack of self worth. This is a lot of what I coach about now actually. I spent my whole life thinking I wasn’t good enough. This is why it got into fitness early on. I thought I needed to be thin in order to be loved or belong. But it played out in many other painful ways in my life. I was underpaid and overworked at any job I ever had. I was emotionally and mentally abused in all my young relationships. I found myself in a marriage really young that was detrimental on my mental and emotional health.”
“Honestly, it was through becoming a yoga teacher, that I found the courage to make change. I was able to establish a community around me of people who were strong and supported me. I also took my own practice seriously. I was able to leave that marriage and then leave to travel the world. I grew into the strong and confident woman I am now. I believe in my own worth and value.”
Developing Taryn’s Fitness Philosophy
I asked Taryn how her fitness philosophy has changed and developed over the years. “At first, I felt really overwhelmed by everything. I would read every magazine, pinterest article, and take advice of my peers, but found that every piece of advice contradicted the other. It was rather confusing to me, so I just kind of bounced around and tried different things. I started to you feel out what felt good to my body, both with what I ate and how I moved. I experimented with what worked for me and what was fun.”
“I’ve read many books, watched tons of videos, and worked with a variety of trainers. Something I learned pretty quickly is that there would be different things that worked during different periods of my life. There are times with intense, cardio workouts feel goo and then there are times when I can’t bring myself to do more than gentle yoga. I think this is okay! Honor the body and what feels right to you first and foremost.”
“The strength training I’ve always kind of played with here and there, but it wasn’t until I made it a consistent practice, with my trainer, that I began to love it. He has me doing full body workouts three times a week. We created routines I could follow easily. The routine made it easier to commit and see results. I think having something easy to fall back on has been the biggest differences, as far as my consistency goes. Of course, I’ve tried other things like running and cardio kickboxing, but they didn’t feel good to me (even though my friends love it). I think when it comes to fitness and yoga, it’s really about trying out a bunch of methods and see what you like.”
“While I teach strictly yoga, a lot of my students are curious about fitness and other options. I tend to share what works best for me and help them explore things outside of my yoga classes that might be fun to try. My current fitness routine changes often, as I travel full time. Depending on my accessibility to a gym, it’s kind of always fluctuating. My ideal is a full body workout three times a week, with yoga in between. I usually give myself at least ten minutes of yoga stretches daily.”
“Exploring is one of the funnest ways to add in exercise and something I really encourage my students to do. Find places to hike, ride a bike, or take long strolls around your downtown area. A thing I loved more recently is the fitness bands. I travel with the small booty bands and I found that those are really great for being able to work out the whole body. For people who travel, just throw them in a carry-on and have some equipment to enjoy on-the-go.”
“My methods of finding what works for you are really the best practice for anyone. However, my tribe members are all women, currently, because we focus so heavily on self worth and self love conversations. I 100% think men connect with this too, but my teaching is from what I know, which is heavily female influenced.”
Rewards of the Journey
“As a teacher, being able to lead others is incredible. Everyone I work with is amazing! The most rewarding thing for me is honestly so simple. Reading the emails I get from people who are either reaching out for help or just thanking me for an impact that’s been made in their lives is the best part of my day. It feels so good to know that, not only have I been able to take charge of my own wellness, but that I can gift my lessons to other people and empower them to do the same for themselves. I always say that I’m not responsible for making a change of their lives, it’s always on them! But it is really cool to know that I might have given them the tools or lead them the knowledge they needed. It’s been amazing!”
“For somebody is just getting started and is currently living a more sedentary life, understanding your drivers is going to be most important. Understanding what motivates you, understanding the why behind what you’re doing. It has to be something bigger than to “look better.”
“While looks or bragging points might feel important, they are not going to drive you as hard as you’d think. For my moms and dads out there, it might be being the best role model that you can be for your child, showing that you’re taking charge of your health so that you can be around for your family to the best of your ability. For those career oriented, see the fitness as a way to better your overall performance and be more effective at work. Know your drivers for life.
What lights you up? What motivates you? Use that as the thing that’s gonna pull you out of bed and get you moving each day.”
“I’m also a huge fan of routine and scheduling things. You’re much more likely to do yoga or go to the gym if it’s scheduled in your calendar and you’ve got everything ready to go. Make it easy on yourself. Start morning routines or evening routines, whatever you need to do to get yourself in the right headspace. I think that’s the biggest hurdle when it comes any kind of personal development whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, etc.”
Taryn’s 80/20 Fitness Rule
“While it would be a lot easier if I told you to focus on doing one downward facing dog everyday for longevity, there’s honestly not one thing to focus your energy on that’s more important than mindset. In developing a firm belief in yourself and what you’re doing is so important. You’ve got to really believe in yourself from the beginner because there’s going to be good days and bad days whether you’re doing yoga, running, weight training, whatever. You are going to have days where you go in and kill it and feel great. Then, you’ll have other days where your body’s outta whack and you don’t do well. Those days suck. Having a firm belief in yourself and why you’re doing it is going to get you through those rough days. Having the mental strength to pull you through and again, having focus on those drivers is going to make the bad days much easier to deal with.”
“I think it really depends on why people are wanting get fit Regardless, it comes back to a mind thing. If someone is trying to lose weight, we have to pay close attention to mental wellbeing and stress. When we’re stressed out, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol, along with several others that impact our levels of anxiety and depression. Cortisol sends messages to your body that pretty much says. “we’re in survival mode!” Therefore, it might hold on to fat stores because it thinks that you’re preparing for winter or something. We also have a harder time sleeping well.”
“I often see people starting their fitness journey and they overwhelm themselves with doing everything perfectly. They’re obsessive about their diet restrictions and their fitness routine. They do everything right, but they’re not losing weight. In fact, sometimes they gain weight. This is because the obsession is causing too much stress on the body and it won’t function as well as it should. We have to get our mental space in the right zone, then just find really simple things commit to. 20% of what you should be focused on is creating routines and habits you don’t have to think about over time. Start super simple and add on as things feel easy.”
“What’s happening in the brain is going to release the hormones for how the rest the body responds. I can throw in some fancy science, but basically the way we think and feel about things impacts us in a physical way more than people give it credit for. If you don’t have your head in the right space, you can run all day long, pump weights all night, eat super clean, and still not feel great about yourself. You might even see physical results, like getting thinner or putting on muscle. However, if you’re not feeling empowered and good about yourself at the end of the day, then what’s the point? Really? What’s the point of you doing any fitness, if it’s not going to get you to be happier and living a joyful life? No one’s goal is the look good and feel miserable.”
Fueling the Body for Optimal Performance
“When it comes to diet (or anything really), I think it really varies for each person individually. As I mentioned, I when vegetarian pretty young, so that’s still heavily influencing how I eat now, but that may not work for everyone. I am a big fan of intermittent fasting, which means I try to have a small window for eating each day, anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. The goal behind this is to release hormones to help you perform better, very similar to the effects of ketosis. The keto diet can be great, but I found it challenging as a vegetarian. But these performance diets are really challenging. My concern is how stressful they tend to be, as the impact of stress can be detrimental. If you can really commit to it without it feeling stressful, try out different ones and see what works for you.”
Sometimes, it is easier to just start making simple changes. Add more fresh produce in your life and, of course, cut back on processed foods. I’d also say to cut back on meat, as most Americans eat too much of it. If you really want to see what works for your body, try cleansing out anything that can be a possible food sensitivity (dairy, sugar, gluten, etc) for a couple months and see how you feel as you start to reintroduce each one. My biggest advice: experiment!
The Yogi Mantra
Regardless of the goal behind your wellness journey, stop and evaluate the path that you’re on and make sure it’s one that’s gonna lead you to more self worth and more self love. That should be the main goal. Vanity is not bad, but usually not very helpful to our sense of personal worth and our own joy. Your fitness journey should be all about making the most out of your life and feeling joyous. I love getting a good workout and clean eating, but my aim is always self care and focusing on how I feel about myself.