Ji's Yoga Story: EXPANSION + PURPOSE
I came to the yoga practice for a sense of solitude . I grew up not "moving" much- I didn't do sports, I wasn't incredibly active. At some point, I found myself seeking the peace of mind of running. It was my first outlet. I dabbled in yoga as a way to help recover after runs, especially after I found myself with shin splints and needed a new way to move.
I loved the practice because it incorporated curiosity and challenge- a never-ending journey. There is no "AHA, I've done it!" but rather a million moments of "AHA!" that make us feel embodied. You discover a new pose, a new feeling, a new philosophy... and it continues to change everyday.
In all honesty, I don't know what called me to take a teacher training. It happened. I knew that I wanted to do my training at Heartwork. Northfield has a deep history for me and my family, and I knew that doing a transformational training in Northfield was the place.
I didn't want to teach.
In hindsight, I really have no idea what led me to making the choice to register of training... but I'm glad that I did. I felt an urge, or a call, or a beckoning from inside me to do it. And I listened. (My practice has, and always will be, a practice of listening to gut instinct and responding accordingly... even if sometimes, like with teacher training, it didn't necessarily make sense at the time.)
At one point during training, I remember sitting in a group, discussing the Yamas and Niyamas. There's a limb in the Yamas and Niyamas called Aparigraha - a practice of non-possessiveness, or letting go.
I distinctly remember Amy saying, " You can choose to break apart or break open. " It's stuck with me so much since then, over many years- in this moment, I have a new choice, over and over: break apart, or break open. Break apart or break open. Break apart or break open. It's a choice you make, not something that happens to you.
The practice changed everything. I found the solitude I was looking for. Even more, It peaked my creativity, curiosity, and presence in my life. Naturally a self-learner, yoga has provided an incredible springboard for the rest of my life. The tools I've learned on the mat- compassion, gratitude, critical thinking, presence, mindfulness- has correlated into the rest of my life with ease.
Now, I consider myself both a yoga and movement teacher. As my yoga practice evolved, I started to dabble in other movement methods. My regular yoga practice right now involves lots of somatic experiencing- small movements that help generate bigger movements. I spent a lot of time laying on the floor, and creating awareness in my body through Functional Range Conditioning, Move Nat principles, and Feldenkrais. Exploring other realms of movement has only made me love my yoga practice more and more.
Recently I read Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown - when she writes of creating change in our lives, societies, and cultures, it's not that we create it all at once- instead, we make small but incremental shifts over a period of time . That's how change sticks. I think this is how yoga works- it asks us to shift our perspective, slow and small to start, until our lives begin to adapt and evolve.
If you're feeling it deep down, do it. That thing you've been wanting to do, but waiting for the ~perfect time ~ to do. If you're hearing the call, listen. Even if you don't have an answer to the question "why?" Listen to the instinct that says, "Yes, yes. Yes, and the time is now." You don't have to know the answers (but you will eventually.) Apply this to everything in your life.
I think of this quote often from Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It's helped in times of curiosity and wonder, and also moments of despair and confusion.
"We all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
Jianna is a movement educator, yoga teacher, climber, avid slackliner, radical daydreamer, adventure partner, and nature enthusiast. She believes a good soundtrack to a yoga class makes it or breaks it, and is most likely found hand standing, balancing on a slack line, or soaking up the sun.
Jianna went through Heartwork's teacher training program in 2014: she was 20, and still in college. Since then, Jianna has went on to teach yoga classes, workshops, and trainings.