Tiffany Stark Marker’s yoga practice has come a long way since she did her first sun salutation at 15 to a Jane Fonda video. About two years ago, the 30-something Long Island native earned a yoga certification and began teaching classes, and she later started her own company, Three Yoga Chicks, with her two sisters. She lives by the adage that “you’re never too old to try something new,” which holds true in her life and in her kitchen. Through proper nutrition and exercise, she shed a life-changing amount of weight. She now cooks and develops her own healthy recipes that anyone can check out on YouTube.
When did you first try yoga and what about it appeals to you now?
I started yoga, I believe for the first time, with a Jane Fonda video. This was many, many years ago. This was probably when I was, maybe like 15-16.…It was very hard, but I remember feeling much lighter physically after I did a few of the poses and I really liked it very much….It was a phase, and I wasn’t very involved for many years, and then on and off I would go back to it, but I never really deepened my appreciation for it.
My sister actually was going through a yoga certification program herself a couple of years ago and she asked me to join her with it. I was going through a rough time in my life, some transitions, and I thought “OK, well, this sounds great. I’ll just go with it.” I was overweight and I really wasn’t very flexible… I felt like my life changed a lot from the training and the types of people I’ve met, and I decided I wanted to be a different type of person in the world. I became myself. I fell in love with it. I decided after the certification I was going to start doing it on my own, getting clients and building a business.
You lost an impressive amount of weight through yoga and proper nutrition. Can you describe that process?
Before I started with yoga, I lost about 30 pounds on Weight Watchers, and then when I did the yoga certification, the weight started coming off from that, too. When we’re learning about the philosophy of yoga, we’re understanding how our body works and how food is used to either heal our bodies or enliven them or detoxify or to make you feel really full and sick. Through yoga, I became very aware of what foods were healing me. I would feel differently, and I would take that time to notice different reactions I had. Then I was able to refine my diet more that way.
Before you made yoga your career, you worked in the corporate world. What did you do, and why did you leave it?
I worked in a cubicle for many years. I worked in recruiting, and I worked in resource management. Every day I would sit there and think, “When is my real life going to start?” I was just hoping that my life would actually begin at some point. I knew that I wanted to have a purpose and I wanted to promote something that only I could do in the world. There are a lot of yoga instructors, of course, but I feel like I’m personally connecting to my clients in a genuine way that’s different from taking a class. I work one-on-one with a lot of people. It allows me to feel really fulfilled in life, which I was lacking. I just felt like a number, like a peon in the corporate world, so that’s why I changed.
How do your Jewish values affect your work?
I was actually talking about this the other day with someone. We were saying yoga is really a supplement to any religious philosophy. A lot of Christians and Jews take yoga. I find that it just deepens your own awareness of your own faith. In some ways, it brings me closer to God, and so it deepens my relationship with Judaism. I think God is present around me.