Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shree Expert Teacher Focus: Jan Jeremias

 Jan Jeremias RYT 200

Jan has been practicing yoga since 2006 and teaching since 2010. She feels that Yoga continues to provide her with the tools to handle the “rollercoaster” of life and is passionate about sharing the teachings of yoga with her students. Read below to learn more about her practice (on and off the mat) as well as get a sneak peek into her newer class “Yoga for Strong Bones”.

What is your biggest physical challenge in your practice? 
The greatest physical challenge for me is my scoliosis, which manifests as a curve in my spine and a rotation of the pelvis and shoulders. At points in my life this has caused me pain and some physical limitations. As a result of my scoliosis I have altered my yoga practice to one that is slow, deep and very mindful.  I learned early on to divide my body into quadrants or parts and learned what each area needed to be doing so that the poses were comfortable, safe, and beautiful. For me this awareness or mindfulness has been refining each pose so that each time I practice, the asanas/poses becomes deeper, more meaningful and I am able to explore my body just a little more. This mindfulness practice is quieting for me and creates a feeling of calmness which brings me to my mat over and over again. It even astonishes me sometimes how that if I focus on what I need to do and where my breathe needs to be directed I can stay balanced, safe, full of light and stability even with my physical challenges and limitations. Scoliosis has shown me my gifts as a teacher as it helped me find my passion for teaching yoga therapeutics and yoga for strong bones.  

** Jan teaches Yoga for Strong Bones. Her classes are creative and fun. In her class, she guides the student through poses that are beneficial for building strong bones and shares which bones and parts of the body are being nurtured and strengthened by the specific poses. See below for more information on her class!**

Who inspires you? Why?
am inspired by poetry. I find my greatest inspiration comes from reading poetry. I love the great works of Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Rumi, and Jeffrey Foster. Right now I draw inspiration for my life and classes from the beautiful words of David Whyte. Let's look more closely at poetry. A good poem, or even a good line of poetry, can very swiftly and deftly pierce the heart and I have found that both poetry and the physical practices of yoga move me in deep and personal ways. My favorite poet David Whyte expressed a similar sentiment on the NPR show “On Being” with Krista Tippett. He said that poetry is "a language against which you have no defenses." I feel like poetry provides me with insight and helps me to live my life with an open heart. I read poetry in my classes hoping that my students will feel or connect in with their own hearts. My intention is that I am able to show my students that our yoga poses can be like poems that we write with our bodies. The practice of yoga is an art if we practice it as such and that art might be different for each of us. 

Jan's Hydrating and Nourishing Sugar Scrub: 
I have been making sugar scrubs to nourish and hydrate my skin. It is very fun, easy and I love being creative. Currently for spring I am adding in Eucalyptus, Lemon and Lavender essential oils as I suffer from seasonal allergies. Eucalyptus helps to open up the sinuses and air passages, Lavender has anti-histamine like properties, and lemon is great at supporting the immune system. This simple practice allows me to enjoy spring and all the wonderful beauty that comes with this beautiful time of year. 

Jan's Sugar Scrub for Allergies
1/2 cup Organic Sugar
6 drops Lavender Essential Oil 
4 drops Lemon Essential Oil
2 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
2 tbsp. Fractionated Coconut Oil


Even 10 seconds in a yoga pose can help trigger chemicals in the body that build bone mass.  With yoga, you can protect and lubricate your joints safely for an increased range of motion while building strong bones.

A disease characterized by weak, thinning bones that can lead to fractures — affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide, and one in three women over 50 experience osteoporotic fractures. Classic risk factors for osteoporosis include being female, age, low body weight and smoking. Forty-four million Americans suffer from low bone mass. Osteoporosis leads to painful fractures due to loss of bone mass; yoga strengthens bones without endangering joints: it stands to reason that yoga is the perfect therapy for osteoporosis. Drugs and surgeries can alleviate pain, but study after study has shown that exercise is the best treatment, specifically low-impact, bone-strengthening exercises―hence, yoga.” (Yoga for Osteoporosis by Fishman MD and Saltonstall). Studies show that with consistent careful yoga practice, Osteoporosis can be arrested and even reversed.  

 This class is a great fit if you have scoliosis. Jan can help you expertly modify to most optimally align your spine! Here is one of Jan's favorite poses for bone health:

Viparita Karani is often called Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, but viparita actually means "inverted," and karani means "in action." We can interpret that to mean that the pose inverts the typical actions that happen in our bodies when we sit and stand. There are many benefits to inverting the actions in your body. Here are a few: When you put your legs up the wall with your pelvis elevated on a folded blanket, lymph and other fluids that can lead to swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs flow into the lower belly; this refreshes the legs and the reproductive area. This pose also gives blood circulation a gentle boost toward the upper body and head, which creates a pleasant rebalancing after you have been standing or sitting for a long time. 

Alignment: Start on your side as close to a wall as possible. Swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat. Release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart. Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. 

If you are concerned about your bones and would also like to reduce stress and move with more freedom then join Jan for this slow therapeutic class to heal mind, body, and bones.  

Gentle Therapeutic on Tuesday 1:30 to 2:45 PM
Yoga for Strong Bones on Friday 12:30 to 1:45 PM

**This week only, bring a friend to their first class at Shree and they get to take the class for free and learn Jan’s remedy for bone mass building. **