About Jacquie Stephens E-RYT 200

A little bit about me …. I am a middle-aged yoga teacher, currently traveling a healing path with yoga while I share my knowledge, love and commitment to yoga with you and anyone else willing to listen.  I am the proud mother of an extraordinary daughter, step mother to two dear young men, five canine bebes and a bunch of hens.  Over the years, I tried a variety of sports and activities to try to relax, lose weight, tone up, the usual.  I ran until my feet got sore, then I powerwalked until I needed foot surgery.  I tried low impact aerobics, pilates, gym yoga, gyms, machines, I tried pretty much everything.  I never found home.

Yoga was always intriguing but like so many people, I thought flexibility was a requirement.  I am not hugely flexible, and certainly was less flexible then.  One day my daughter came home raving about Bikram Yoga.  She swore up and down that flexibility was not the key and that I would love this.  She was sort of right.  I found I loved yoga, not so much the heat.

This was pre-internet so lacking any recommendations, I moved on to gym yoga.  If it’s a gym, they must know what they’re doing, right?  It was not for me.  The teachers I met at gyms were often students who had taken classes and decided they could teach it.  I really got nothing out of those classes.  This is not to say there are not good yoga classes at gyms; I just didn’t experience them.

Finally, the infant internet gave me the knowledge I was missing.  I googled my address and yoga and came up with a Sivananda yoga center called Yoga and Inner Peace.

YIP became my home for the next several years.  The owner/operator, Bharata, gave his knowledge freely and was instrumental in the beginning of my journey.  He pushed me and prodded me; he had me work over and outside of my comfort zone.  I had many good teachers at Yoga & Inner Peace and many of the meditation techniques I use to this day I learned at YIP.

I began to understand how many different types of yoga were available and decided to branch out.  I thought it might be fun to try an Ashtanga class.  I located an Ashtanga Lite class at a studio nearby, Bindu.  I communicated with the owner of the studio, I explained my background and that I wanted to try the Ashtanga Lite class, did she think it would be appropriate for me?  She did, so I went – and kept going back.   Eventually I began pushing my boundaries and taking different classes at Bindu, slowly transitioning from Sivananda to Vinyasa via Ashtanga (Lite).

I practiced Vinyasa at Bindu for years and had some amazing experiences … Wah! at our studio … Ricky Tran helping me fly … trips to workshops and weekends of yoga in Florida … Deva Premal and Miten at the Filmore … introductions to too many things to count.  I completed Bindu’s 200 hour teacher training in May of 2009.   Teacher training was such an amazing experience that I would highly recommend it for any curious yogi, whether you intend to teach or not.  Having now participated in teaching a teacher training, I think the exact same thing – just choose wisely.

After some back issues developed I moved to a studio that teaches Parayoga.   The lineage is ancient but related to Sivananda and Viniyoga.  The differences between the vinyasa flow I’d been practicing and this can be subtle yet for me they are important.  Emphasis on meditation, more information about pranayama, differences in movement and transition.  These differences have served me well.

Because life is never a straight path, my time with Parayoga was shorter than I’d have liked but opened the door to two things that have had a huge impact on me, namely, meditation and hatha yoga.  All those years ago I wanted to practice meditation but I didn’t know where to go or what to do.  When I got into yoga I discovered this didn’t automatically mean I’d be able to meditate.  Finally, while practicing Parayoga I was able to establish a decent meditation practice that has had an affect on every part of my life.  I have a myriad of back-related health issues and hatha yoga suits me better.  Vinyasa was such a wonderful challenge and time for me, hatha yoga has brought me so much strength and peace.  Meditation has made me less reactive and an overall happier person.  I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with others to open new paths on their journeys.

Simply Yoga in Delray Beach is my latest yoga home.  I enjoy the variety of classes, diversity of teachers, and the warm community I’ve found at Simply Yoga.  I spent a cycle working with the teacher training program and in the Fall of 2018 I will be presenting three workshops at Simply Yoga.

So welcome to my blog.  I’m really just someone who cares about the impact I have on others and using yoga to improve my quality of life.  I have an insatiable curiousity that makes me enjoy being a constant student.  “Breathing in, I calm my body.  Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know it is a wonderful moment.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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