Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding Sanctuary in Yoga: Jessica Whittington, Joy of Fitness Instructor

Why did you become a Yoga instructor? 
It was a very natural transition for me to go from Kung Fu to Yoga (both are martial arts and yoga is often referred to as the 'martial art of the soul' for how it reveals much inner truth to you as you progress). Yoga allowed me a sense of sanctuary during a very dark time in my life and for that I will be forever grateful. I love that the discipline is such a COMPLETE workout: developing strength with balance, agility, and breath control but also allows one to center the emotional life and calm the constantly over stimulated mind / nervous system.   

What makes a great Yoga instructor? 
Knowledge mixed with compassion and a nurturing quality. The minutiae inherent within the many different styles of yoga can be overwhelming if one attempts to parse the greater detail, so knowing how to communicate a short hand version of some of these concepts and seamlessly integrate them within a class' theme is a skill that takes a long while to refine. Also, being able to adapt a class on the fly to your students and have the right pacing based on the type of class can not be underestimated.
Jess in dancer profile.
What motivates you? 
Finding the perfect mix of music, sequence movement and mental intent ... when you find it the result is this 'moving meditation' which feels organic and effortless. In my own practice, it is the process of learning how to relax and trust my body during a very advanced practice that keeps me motivated and coming back for more every day. 

Favorite Yoga Pose: 
Lately I've really been enjoying variations of Hanumanasana (Flying Monkey Leap). I LOVE the incredibly deep stretch in the hamstrings / inner hips as you surrender the body to the pose and begin to extend the spine up and roll back the shoulders to open the heart deeply. It is incredibly activating in multiple muscles of the body and allows one to deeply plant the sit bones / pelivc floor. 

Inspirational Quote: 
'Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and to
endure what cannot be cured.' BKS Iyengar 

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