Connecting in a healing way through yoga
Suzie Daggett interviews Deborah Jordan, yoga instructor and teacher for all ages. She teaches for Sierra College and California College of Ayurveda; holds classes at Wild Mountain Yoga Center, Nevada City; Stillpoint Studios, Grass Valley; and offers private and semi-private lessons.
What first interested you in yoga?
I first tried yoga when I was going through a very hard time in my life as I separated from my husband. I needed something physically challenging but relaxing. From the first time, I felt energized, relaxed and yoga really worked to relieve stress. I felt more in my body, less scattered and I was able to focus and meet the challenges of my day. I reunited with my husband and we had our second child. During my pregnancy, my teacher and I modified my practice. It greatly supported and nourished me to the point that I knew someday I would share this with others. Today, I enjoy teaching both pre-natal and post-natal yoga.
What is the allure of yoga?
Yoga is holistic. Physiologically, yoga stimulates a healthy circulation of energy through all the systems of the body that not only effect physical health but also affect our mental and emotional health. When we start to connect the breath with movement, healing happens. It’s important to offer different ways to do a pose so that students can be empowered to listen to their body and respond appropriately. This is the essence of yoga. It is about being present in your body: allowing yourself to feel the challenges of this life without losing your connection to your source of health and vitality.
What kind of yoga classes do you teach?
I have created a diverse variety of classes through my own life experience. I personally practice and teach athletic yoga, children’s yoga play, pre-and post-natal yoga as well as gentle yoga. Last year I had a traumatic head injury that was greatly helped by a practice of gentle restorative yoga. Because of that experience, I began teaching a restorative yoga workshop. I work with physical therapy and cancer patients as they recover. I use chairs for those who are unable to do floor yoga. The goal is to support each student’s natural healing process. The simplest movement can be very powerful putting people on the road to feeling better about themselves and their lives.
How do your classes work with babies and mom?
There are something like 840,000 yoga poses, and some are definitely not recommended for pre-and post-natal yoga. The moms can interact, play with the baby and still do yoga. For instance, in down dog, the mom puts the baby on the floor under her upright body. She engages the baby with her eyes, talk and laughter as she works with the pose. We gently come up and down and touch the baby. After a baby is born, the mom’s body as well as the way she carries the baby is new. We work on how to carry the baby correctly, putting the baby in the car seat, how to support the body to stay balanced to avoid injury. We work on breathing, which is so important to yoga. The Ujjayi breath, or victory breath is audible and nasal. It soothes and calms the mind, relaxes, and energizes. We will breathe, and the baby hears it, imitates it and learns proper breathing for body movement.
What is a typical pre-natal yoga class like?
The first 20 minutes of class is a sharing time for all to check in and find out how their body is doing, where the challenges are – a support system. I sometimes invite people to the class to make short presentations about pre-natal massage and information on birthing. The practice is gentle, appropriately challenging, and prepares women for birth both mentally and physically. A month or so after the baby is born, I invite the moms to come back to class to introduce the baby and interact with those still pregnant.
What kind of yoga is playful?
With young children – 3 to 7 years old, yoga can be very playful and fun. It helps them stay connected to their body, helps coordination, flexibility, strength and concentration. There are many studies in which yoga has been found to help with hyper-activity. In my classes, I use original stories and animal characters to teach children the poses. My 7-year-old son is my helper, and he loves creating with me.
What do you get out of teaching?
I love connecting with people in a healing way. Whether playing yoga, working with athletes, or working with people with illness: it’s important to meet people where they are to engage their own inner resource of well-being.
Suzie Daggett is the TV host of Healing INsights on NCTV, and the publisher of INSIGHT, the Directory of Healing Arts Practitioners; she can be reached at 265-9255, Web site http://www.insightdirectory.com
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