Even though I had heard about yoga more than once, it was always mystified, as if hidden under a huge mysterious curtain. Maybe that’s why I had hesitated to try yoga. When I moved to Spain and my friend invited me to join outdoor yoga classes, there finally was no reason not to do it. It turned out to be very interesting: a pleasant activity (at that moment I did not know that it would be pleasant) in clean, sunny air, surrounded by the magnificent greenery of the park. In fact, it was one of the best exercises, although at that moment I was not yet hooked on it. I started liking yoga after it helped me to relieve migraine headaches. Only after I personally experienced what yoga’s benefits mean for the body and soul I started to believe it more. I started reading books and looking for scientific explanations why yoga actually cures, helps to recover from depression and strengthens the body. And now I decided to talk to my first yoga teacher, who introduced the wonderful world of yoga to me and to hear all the answers from the first lips.
- How did yoga come into your life? How did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
When I was about 17 years old, I began practicing yoga as a means to study ways to relieve stress and anxiety. About 10 years later, I went through a very difficult time in my life, suffering from a great deal of stress, anxiety and depression. I remained dedicated to my yoga practice and through it, discovered a unique sense of healing. I left my stressful, high-paying corporate job and decided to fill my life (including work) with only things that I loved and enjoyed. I realized that I had the passion and ability to share the gift of yoga with others and made the choice to train to become a teacher.
- How has yoga changed your life? Maybe you know some stories how yoga changed other people‘s lives.
Yoga has given me a steady sense of being. A safe place to turn to during times of stress, illness, but also times of joy. I taught yoga for five years before moving abroad to Spain. Teaching in Valencia has given me purpose. It has become more than a practice, but it has developed into my LIFE. The yoga community here is where I made most of my friends, connected with the community and developed deep, meaningful relationships with others. I have witnessed day-shifting, as well as life-altering moments as my students allow themselves to truly experience yoga through their practice. Many people have shared with me their ability to live more presently, joyfully, and truer to their authentic self because of their yoga practice.
- In general, what benefits can yoga give to a person?
Primarily, yoga is a great form of exercise that can modified for all people. It relieves anxiety, alleviates stress, and teaches one strategies to calm the mind and live more presently in the moment. It creates flexibility in the body as well as the mind. Yoga enhances acceptance and confidence through its practice and builds strength physically, as well as mentally. Practitioners experience a sense of balance and connection between mind, body and soul. Because of this, it is so much more than regular exercise!
Yoga classes with Jennison
- How do you think: is yoga more spiritual or physical experience?
One’s yoga practice is unique to the practitioner. There are times in my life where my intention and focus of my practice was purely physical. I was in need to connect physically, to improve my health physically, and to gain strength. Other times in my life I attended yoga for the spiritual aspect, to focus on being present in the moment, to develop my connection with my breath, to listen to the messages in the class and in my own body in order to dive deeper into my own being. In each class I teach, every single individual comes with a unique intention, making their practice personal to them.
- I have heard that yoga can help recover from depression, is that true?
Yes! As I mentioned before, yoga was an important component of my own recovery from depression. Going to class everyday allowed me to build routine back into my life. Exercise helps to regulate one’s hormones, shift perspective, and help one to feel well in their own physical body. The spiritual aspect of yoga also played a part in teaching me how to be with my own thoughts and how to use my breath in silence to control my anxiety. I practiced yoga along with attending counseling and supervised medical care. The healing process for each individual is unique.
- Is it possible to lose weight or get fit by consistently doing yoga?
Absolutely. Yoga is a great form of exercise. There are many styles of yoga that incorporate a cardiovascular component and most styles, when practiced frequently, focus on strengthening the muscles. Even the most relaxing of the yoga styles help to reduce the stress hormone in the body, helping the body to lost weight.
- How long do we need to practice yoga in order to feel the benefits?
5 minutes! Honestly, most days I don’t have time for a full practice, but if I practice even five minutes of sun salutations, meditation or stretching, I feel a difference in my body as well as my mood.
Evening yoga classes with Jennison
- What do you like most about yoga? Is this your favorite activity?
I love yoga for its diversity. I love that each time I attend a class, or teach a class, I discover something new. I love that, yoga itself, is my teacher and I feel myself growing both physically and mentally with each practice. Right now in my life, I am really enjoying restorative styles of yoga as a way to care for my mind and my body during the change of seasons. In the spring I love to practice vinyasa, acroyoga, and arm balances!
- Are your yoga classes suitable for beginners? What is the level of your sessions?
Yes, most of my classes are the perfect place for beginners. Almost every class we have at least one person experiencing their first yoga class ever and one person who has been practicing for over 10 years. The class is designed for all levels because my mission is to share the benefits of yoga with as many people as possible. I incorporate ways to modify the postures in order to adapt to each individual’s level.
- Upcoming events.
We love to build community through our yoga program, so I host many events throughout the city as a way for people to practice yoga, but to also make new connections and friends. I host a Yoga and Brunch at Almalibre Acai Bar every month as well as lead various workshops with a focus on alignment, meditation, or strengthening your practice. You can always find a Yoga and Wine Tasting on my calendar too! In addition, we have three retreats already planned for 2018, (with more to come!). A weekend winter getaway in January as well as two retreats in Italy this summer! All details can be found on my Facebook Page.
Thank you, Jennison!