inspirational yoga personalities

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about inspiring yoga studios that are doing something for other people. In this article, I’m going to write about some great yoga personalities who have changed my view on yoga. These people have inspired me to become a better yoga teacher and a better person in general. To make clear that yoga is really for everyone. Instead of just the perfectly shaped yoga teachers you are seeing on Instagram doing crazy yoga poses.

Who are they?

Here I will talk about five yoga personalities that have inspired my yoga practice and my view on yoga. They are not just teachers. But they are an example that just a normal average person also has something to contribute to the world of yoga. I’m not just going to talk about yoga teachers. Everything that has a shade of yoga in it was welcome to make it into this article.

Robert Sturman

Because of this guy I got to know the Prison Yoga Project. When I still had a subscription on one of those yoga magazines that I loved to read, I saw one of his pictures and a small article. At that moment I already found it pretty strange that it was just a small piece and not a full-sized article. 

The mini-article itself was to promote the Prison Yoga Project, but Robert Sturman made some amazingly beautiful pictures for that project. Recently he was even asked to take pictures for the same project, but then in Mexico.

Not only did he promote this project with his magnificent pictures, but he also is promoting yoga for veterans. He’s got some inspiring pictures in his portfolio. Which inspired me the most has been some pictures of veterans who unfortunately were injured. However, this didn’t stop them from doing yoga.

It isn’t so hard to see why he is making these beautiful photographs. He is a yoga practitioner himself and together with his keen eye on beauty, he’s offering something great. If you are interested in watching some beautiful and inspiring yoga pictures, then his page is a must-see.

Anna Guest-Jelley

This yoga teacher is phenomenal. She has put yoga on the map for all the curvy people out there. Once there was a time where I was overly conscious about my body. I don’t have the perfect yoga body, I thought. I’m curvy as well and all of my students were lean and fit. I imagined myself not being able to teach you with the body I was having. But how wrong I was!

With her studio Curvy Yoga, she offers a yoga practice for everyone with different shapes of the body. This is ideal as not everyone can perfectly go into a pose. And to be honest, a lot of yoga teachers aren’t aware of it. For me, it was always hard to go into child pose. Because a lot of my yoga teachers forgot to mention that you could simply just widen your knees a bit in this position to make sure that the belly gets more space to breathe. It’s a simple trick, but if you don’t have that kind of experience, because you don’t have a curvy body, you don’t know how to adjust the pose to make it more comfortable.

Anna Guest-Jelley has transformed herself into a big personality within the yoga scene (no pun intended) and has been able to grow her business into a platform for all curvy people to do yoga. She has yoga teacher training to offer specializes in dealing with those curves. Check out her curvy yoga classes!

I have to say that seeing people with rounded bodies doing yoga is amazing. So I feel I can relate to it. My yoga practice started because I wanted to lose some weight, and at some point, I started thinking that losing weight with yoga was a myth. I did lose a couple of pounds, but I wasn’t creating that perfect body I would see with all the other yogis. Therefore I learned to accept my body as it is. Of course, I still like to lose a couple of pounds, but now I just want it for my health and not because other people are looking different than I am.

Tao Porchon-Lynch

As it’s not appropriate to ask a lady for her age, so I’m not gonna mention it (she has reached a 3-figure age). This woman seems like she has eternal life and she is still enjoying it to its fullest! Not only is she a great inspiration for people who are looking for happiness, but she also shows that you can do yoga until you are somewhere over a hundred years old. 

In a lot of philosophy books and the sutras as well, you’ll read that yogis can live up to about 150 years old. Well, I do have to say that the bible also mentioned that people would get hundreds of years old, so I take it with a grain of salt. Anyway, that you rejuvenate you is something that this lady shows. When you look at her giving interviews or even giving dance performances, she doesn’t look anywhere above 40 years old.

And she is still active as well! She still dances, she teaches yoga and she even gives retreats! I don’t know where she gets all her energy from, but I kind of start to think she might be an alien. 

So if you are looking for a great yoga class nearby New York, try to schedule one with Tao!

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Make the sun ? come out in your own being. #Tao?. . ? @robertsturman

Een bericht gedeeld door Tao Porchon-Lynch (@taoporchonlynch100) op

Amy Weintraub

When I was suffering from depression at already a young age (16 years old) I somehow came across this name. It’s been a while ago so I can’t remember anymore how I encountered her. But anyway, when I read her story about her depression and doctors saying that she would have to take medication for her whole life, that was when it hit me. Like her, I didn’t want to be having the feeling of being depended on some drugs, neither did I wanted to feel this way forever.

Her story is so inspiring as she has proven that yoga can actually “cure” a depression. She has written many books about it and they are worth reading! 

She was the one who gave me the push to try and do something physical. This is why I started with Tai Chi as there wasn’t a yoga studio nearby, nor did I have the energy to drive on the bus to a different city. This is what led me to my recovery.

Of course, I’m not saying that yoga is going to help everyone, you’ve got to have an open mind for it as well. If you already start doing yoga, with your intention, and with the thoughts, it’s not going to work, it will not work. Therefore you also have to be aware of your thoughts before you start doing something.

Anyway, check out her website for some of her amazing articles and inspiration. Yoga for depression is what helpt her and she has been an inspiration for it.

Dorinda Farver

This name might not ring a bell to a lot of people, but when it comes down to yoga, she rocked my world. Dorinda is the founder of Yogasite in Breda, the Netherlands. She gives inspiring yoga classes and her teacher training is absolutely stunning!

I remember the first day when I walked into the teacher training. In the beginning, I didn’t feel anything for her at all. To me, she seemed all about the business and she was tough as well. Well, that was my first impression. And it’s a shame that I thought about her like that, as I was wrong about everything! So the first thing that she has taught me is how to practice non-judgement. And she probably isn’t even aware of it (yet) ;).

Okay, she does love her business and it is everything for her. But you can feel that her heart is in it and with all of her students as well. Of course, she needs to survive and that sometimes can be a struggle as a yoga teacher, especially with yoga studios just popping out of the ground. But still, she manages to keep her calm and to help anyone she can.

What I love about Dorinda is the fact that she is very grounded and that’s also the way that she teaches. She has a lot of insights and although she can sound quite tough, she always has your best interest at heart. It happened quite often that after a class or during the training some things came up with her students, and she always made time available for them to talk about their experiences and to give advice. I’ve seen a lot of people, including myself, confide in her because of her open and big heart. It’s not for nothing that all of her students are praising her.

I can still remember a time where I was talking to her about my life, and that I felt I didn’t belong where I was anymore, she listened and she gave me advice. And now I’m perfectly happy here in Portugal ;). Although I do have to say that I miss being part of the yogasite family over there now and then.

Dorinda’s Teacher Training

I only have experience with her teacher training, which she is leading together with Robert Boustany who has been known for the Pralaya yoga style. A style of yoga that focuses on breaking down connective tissue. The course itself is great for people who don’t have a lot of time. There are fixed days when the training is, but you don’t have to show up if you can’t make it. You just have to make sure that you come to 20 training days and after that you’ll receive your 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification.

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Let go of your thoughts and great ideas will arrive #ArunaYoga #Yoga #Breda #YTT #TeacherTraining ?

Een bericht gedeeld door Yogasite (@yogasite) op


There are of course many more teachers or other yoga personalities that I didn’t mention here. They are all around and maybe you’ll even find someone near you. I’m always curious about who was there for you, who was the one who inspired you the most on your yogi life? Feel free to write something down in the comment section down below!

And for now…

Nama-stay wonderful!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hanlie

    Yoga is probably the most interesting form of exercise of should I say lifestyle which always intrigued me the most.  Staying in a rural quit far from city life there is not a lot of opportunities to practise yoga.  I have familiarise myself with yoga and apply a few of the poses by watching some YouTube videos but you don’t know if your poses are correct. I found the information you shared food for knowledge.  Virendra looking forward to your next post.

    1. Virendra

      Thank you Hanlie! Feel free to reach out to me whenever you need help with your yoga practice! And maybe it’s also good to go on a yoga retreat once, there you’ll be having the full attention of a yoga teacher, and besides that, you’ll also feel the group energy, which is quite uplifting as well!

  2. Henderson

    This is a very good post I have to say. You see people have always said that there is a better way to get out of yoga and that is to research more about it. Look for people people who are happy in it and model yourself like them. From what I have seen here, I really like Tao Porchon-Lynch. She seems to be a very happy woman with so much to offer. As old as she is, she still does so much yoga. She really is my inspiration now. Thank you for this one!

    1. Virendra

      Hi Henderson, I couldn’t have said it better at all! When you surround yourself with inspiring people, you’ll be inspired and hopefully being someone inspiring as well 😉

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