By Jana Hill
I have been practicing yoga since 1998 and certified to teach in 2012, at Pacific Yoga, in Seattle. I will expand my yoga studies, continually. In 2017, I plan to study suspensory movement in flow yoga: my motivation for those studies was Theresa Elliott, at Taj Yoga. I also have a new-found love for Yin yoga, and will study and practice that as well.
I started Bennu Yoga with a dot-com and a wish. Teaching was minimal in 2012, but two years later my wish came true: I landed a regular class, near home.
How I came to yoga:
I came to yoga in 1998, with a need to de-stress. I was going after a journalism degree then. My go-to prior to yoga was running, aerobics classes, and almost anything else that got me moving: I taught step-aerobics, low-impact aerobics, and strength classes back in the 90s, for about four years. When the stress got ahead of me, that wasn’t enough.
Yoga was different. It became not just exercise, but my go-to mental and spiritual practice. I have allowed it to unfold, year after year.
In 2006, my work in publishing led to a repetitive stress injury. Pain brought me back to the mental and spiritual side of yoga in a big way: as soon as I was able, I re-upped my asana practice. An open-hearted and very talented instructor taught to me, free of charge, for several years — she designed sequences where my sore wrists did not touch the ground, and my tender back strengthened. Today, I have my entire practice back.
My experiences in life and yoga have helped develop my teaching style. I am a cautious instructor, offering the alternative pose first, before the full pose. And while yogic spirituality is where I live, I tend to present it in a universal way. Yogic spirituality is mindful movement, intention, and a focus on the breath — that connection can happen without uttering a word. So, sometimes I don’t mention it. But it’s always there. I try to teach people to access stillness.
I am an RYT-200, with more nearly two decade of home-practice and study to draw on, as I design sequences and classes for my students. I have taught group-fitness classes for a total of five years, with one of those years dedicated to only yoga. I intend to expand my yoga teaching experiences in 2016 and beyond.
Group classes I have had the honor of teaching, in 2015 and 2016, include the following:
- Yoga — styles include Slow Flow Vinyasa, Hatha, Gentle, Restorative, Yin.
- Pilates: Mat.
- Step Aerobics.
I learn from my students, every time I teach a class. And I do love seeing a roomful of yoga poses — it’s like watching a sunset. As I sub for other exercise-classes, I am continually finding likenesses: the mind-body connection is all around us. All we have to do is bring our attention to the moment.