Jill’s Thoughts on Parivrtta Galavasana: “Boeuf. This posture eludes me, personally, so it there is an added challenge in teaching it. I can’t rely on my own experience on how to land the full expression of the posture. But I do like all the elements required: opening of the outer hip, deep twisting, balance, strong and even breath, and the trust in yourself required for all arm balances.”
Jill’s first yoga experience was back in high school when her gym teacher showed the class how to do a Sun A. “I practiced a few more of them later that evening at home before I went to bed and slept the deepest, coziest, most restorative sleep I could recall,” she said. For whatever reason, she didn’t do any more yoga until she was in college — and then only briefly restarted her practice until getting back into it once she was released into the real world. Perhaps this is because fate intervened when she realized that a brand new yoga studio — O2’s Cambridge location — was just a block away from where she was living. “I came the very month it opened,” Jill said. “I thought it was silly to keep traipsing by but not go in. My first practice was with Emily Reardon. She taught a great sequence, addressed me by name, and gave me an adjustment in savasana. I felt seen, appreciated. I was hooked.” Not long after Jill started practicing here at the studio, she joined workstudy as part of the Somerville desk crew, eventually going on to manage the team, something she continued to do for awhile even after she started teaching here.
In so many ways, it all goes back to that first blissful experience with Sun A’s Jill enjoyed as a teen. “I don’t like being yelled at during exercise, so traditional sports never really clicked. The deliberate movements of yoga, the precision, and the opportunity to work strength, flexibility, and balance at the same time really appeals,” Jill said, adding, “Plus, mat time equals me-time. There is no other point during the day when I only have to worry about the breath and the movement.” Giving herself an hour or so a day to live by the ol’ Vinyasa Code (On the inhale, do this, on the exhale, do that) has given some depth and exposition to the peace she couldn’t quite identify as a high school student.
All of this led to Jill deciding to take the leap and do Mimi’s 200-Hour Teacher Training program in Fall 2016. “I had experienced so many benefits since becoming a regular yogi and since becoming part of the O2 community — I wanted to give some of that back,” Jill said of why she signed on for TT. Since embarking on that journey of completing not only our comprehensive program but continuing on to teach Karma Classes, our teaching internship, and eventually moving onto the regular class schedule as a full-fledged O2 teacher, Jill has taught just over two hundred classes in the last year, both here and at other studios. This fall, she also completed our very own Barrett Reinhorn’s 40-Hour Prenatal Teacher Training Program to build on her knowledge of anatomy and go more in-depth about yoginis who are mamas-to-be. “Diving into prenatal has given me a chance to learn more about the human body, and the (astounding, tremendous, unbelievable) changes that occur during pregnancy,” Jill said. But there’s more: “I am a feminist, so teaching prenatal allows me help women develop a greater understanding of their own bodies, take good care of those bodies, and in turn, be better advocates for themselves along the journey to motherhood. It’s an honor and hugely fulfilling to empower women in this way.” We are very excited that Jill will be leading a very special Prenatal New Year’s Eve class in Cambridge from 3pm-5pm — it’s the first time we’ve offered this class to mamas-to-be and so to honor the occasion, Jill’s going to cap off what will undoubtedly be tremendously relaxing and rewarding class with a sweet treat. Happy New Year, indeed!!
We are so proud of Jill and all that she has contributed to our wonderful community starting from when she first walked through our Cambridge studio doors in 2012 all the way up until now. She brings a lovely energy of calm, peaceful playfulness to her sequences and her commitment to teaching has, practically since Day 1, made it impossible to tell she’s “new at this.” She’s a wonderful teacher and a wonderful student and we’re so lucky to have her on Team O2.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?
“Lead from the heart. That’s good advice for most asanas and for life.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?
“Every day is different. The space, the number and makeup of the students, the sequence, the response — it all changes. Yoga is linked with mindfulness, and teaching yoga requires mindfulness: I have to recognize and react in real time to all those changes.”
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from other teachers?
“We really do have a talented group of teachers here at O2, and I get regular inspiration from so many. Ann’s deep knowledge of anatomy and luxurious adjustments in savasana. Emily Leadholm’s exquisite pacing. Carly’s precise and efficient cuing. Melissa’s balancing of effort and ease. Elliott’s barely concealed giddiness when making people sweat and groan.”
What’s your favorite pose to do?
“Parigasana. The combination of twisting and lateral movement makes my hips and spine feel so good.”
What’s your dream pose?
“Fully bound EPRK. I’m getting closer!” [that’s Eka Pada Raja Kapotasna or King Pigeon Pose for the non-yoga nerds]
Do you have a mantra or theme song?
“I’ve been working on cultivating two things over the last few years: gratitude and compassion (for self and others). The self-compassion part is the hard part.”
Do you play music in class?
“I do, but it’s always instrumental and I keep the volume fairly low. For me, it’s a way to create a little background noise — sometimes yogis need a little encouragement to fill the room with their ujjayi breath, and music can help with that. And since so many people have asked me about one of my favorite savasana songs, I’ll share here that it’s composer Max Richter, ‘On the Nature of Daylight.'”
Do you have any fun facts you’d care to share with the group?
“My right eye is blue and my left eye is brown. I have a hangup regarding ‘less’ vs. ‘fewer.’ I am part of a local filmmaking group and one of our shorts was screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (we got to attend!). I will eat anything. I love to feed friends and family from my own kitchen. I find travel thrilling and have learned that consuming sparkling adult beverages makes everything feel instantly more fancy. It makes me deeply happy to take care of the people for whom I care.”