Our Yoga story: A yoga student, a yoga teacher and her teens yoga story Written by Joan Almond
Our Yoga story: A yoga student, a yoga teacher and her teens yoga story
Written by Joan Almond
(Acknowledgement: Thank you does not express the gratitude I feel for Joan. She took the time to interview me, to learn about mine and my children’s yoga story then take all that info and write the story. )
I meet Jayne after a friend demonstrates his ‘core balance’ in an online video. Terry tells us if our balance is poor to try yoga.
After a sleepless night, I goggle ‘chair yoga.’ I come to an organization called, ‘Wayside Waterloo.’ I get over the idea that at 58 I am a senior, and head uptown.
Jayne greets me on a snowy Wednesday before Christmas. Her welcoming smile, and her unpretentious attitude put me at ease. She begins the class. I know I’m at the right place at the right time has found me.
“Listen to your own body,” she tells us. “It’s not a competition.”
Little do I know; twenty years ago /earlier a ninety year old woman told my instructor the same thing while she was pregnant and living in Newfoundland. The senior’s words resonate.
Prior to her East Coast experience, Jayne is/was physically active, more than most. Swimming; cross country running, and competitive ballroom dancing aren’t enough to relieve her pain. A Doctor suggests yoga.
Jayne tries ‘Power Based Yoga.’ The method aggravates her inflamed joints and chronic lower back condition. This method is not to be. A ninety year old from Newfoundland holds the key. (feel it may be incomplete) Apparently you are never too old to change the world.
A year after Kia is born Jayne and her husband move to (return home to Ontario) Ontario. Dhillon comes next. Leelatwenty months later.
While pregnant with Leela, Jayne begins planning to do her yoga teacher training in India to help improve her personal practice and to learn more techniques to help reduce her pain and discomfort. She has it all planned. She arrives in India, but things just don’t work out for her husband on his sabbatical so they return home to Waterloo.
Finally by 2005, Jayne formally begins her yoga teacher training (with the intention to improve her own personal yoga practice). She divorces by 2008. Yoga becomes the lifestyle of her single parent family. She’s said goodbye to the cooperate world to raise her children. Her only source of income is teaching yoga. She puts the children down for their nap (Bed/sleep for the night…they are 3, 5 and 7) and welcomes clients into her home studio. Innovative Wellness is born. Jayne’s Yoga Business inspires positive results through strategic initiatives.
“Innovative Wellness is driven by passion, focus, and authenticity,” Jayne writes in her jot notes.
“Yoga is about healing,” adds Leela.
“Mom get married again?” Jayne’s young daughter repeats.
“I don’t care if my Mom gets married,” Leela says. “So long as her partner makes her happy.”
Years later, Jayne is still passionate about yoga. Her business is thriving, Innovative Wellness is small, but lives are being changed! Jayne prefers offering an intimate ‘in home’ experience for clients. This will allow her to work individually and intimately with a smaller group.
“Mom has helped so many people,” says 15 year old Leela.
“Neighborhood yoga on demand,” voices a next door neighbor. “Jayne’s home is calm. We know it works. Jayne and the kids live yoga every day.”
The lifestyle of ‘Karma Yoga’ gives back. With Jayne and the children it starts in their own community with clean up days. Charity walks for MS, and Heart and Stroke come next. For nine years she and the children help with ‘Minds in Motion’ advocating for Mental Health.
In 2008, the children are not satisfied. Following Jayne’s example, they believe more can be done to raise awareness in the fight against cancer. Kia with a heart the size of a giant initiates “Spooky Tours’; an innovative ‘yoga focused fund raiser.’ Her kind and sensitive nature lends itself to ‘Karma Yoga.’ This is a proactive yoga household. By 2016, the local MPP nominates Leela and Kia for the ‘Leading Girls’ Award.
Tired yet? Yoga gives Jayne born August 22nd, 1969 boundless energy. On they go, helping with an annual ‘Boxing Day Dinner’ run by Ahmed, a dedicated volunteer. Now 19, Kia and 15 year old Leela perform; help serve and clean up. Jayne has taught her children well. This tight knit family supports one another.
The ‘Yoga’ mindset impacts every part of their lives. Jayne through yoga has taught them to set goals and work towards achieving them.
Her big corporate executive job behind her, she sends Leela for two hours of ballet. That’s the wisdom for the current family budget. (I feel, this sentence is unclear) Each child is allowed one extra curricular activity …two hours a week.
What comes next is nothing short of a Miracle.
“My Ballet teacher wants to talk to you,” says Leela one day after class.
“What about?” asks Jayne whose waiting in the car. “You’re never get into trouble.”
Leela laughs with her Mom.
“I can audition in Barrie for Ballet School this summer,” Leela tells her Mom. “My teacher wants to talk to you about it.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” explains Leela’s teacher to Jayne.
“It doesn’t mean you’re a bad dancer if you don’t get in,” she says, looking at Leela. “But I don’t think you should miss this.”
Leela’s dream is birthed.
Jayne preps Leela on the road. How you ask? Yoga of course!
“You know what to do,” says Jayne, getting Leela into the ‘Warrior Pose.”
The audition is about to begin.
“I AM A CHAMPION!” mother and daughter shout.
Jayne gives Leela a hug. (lol.. Leela hates hugs)
Leela dances. She’s in!
If wealth is an inside job, Jayne through Yoga has tapped into something. Remember that family budget. The tuition for one month of Ballet School that summer was $5,000. Yoga brings balance to the body, mind and spirit. When all is in balance, impossible things become possible.
Leela sets to work with Jayne’s guidance. She cleans (should it be past tense) houses; she bakes, she plays her harp at wine and cheese parties, she walks dogs, cat sits, and she sets up a Go Fund.
Meanwhile morning, and night, and whenever needed yoga is practiced. The household cure is: deep breathing for stress, stretches to prevent headaches, strengthening of muscles to avoid back pain, poses to relief menstrual cramps, and deep breathing for anxiety.
“It’s given me the tools to combat (prevent) osteoporosis,” Jayne tells me in my living room.
Fast forward, Leela is living her dream attending L’ École Supérieure de Ballet du Quebec (ESBQ), a professional Ballet School in Montreal. She received top academic award when graduating grade eight in Ontario. At 14,(grade 9) she moves by herself to an all French Speaking School, in another province. Leela uses yoga. Jayne has given her this gift at a young age. The young ballerina finds strength in yoga in the long, and stressful days far from home.
Kia supports Leela’s dream. She is her younger sister’s number one ‘Cheer Leader.’ Kia creates and coordinates “Leela’s Ballet Dream Showcase Fundraiser”. Not just once; but for three years. Each Fundraiser is a huge success!
Leela keeps giving.(giving what?) She continues to work hard. On her own, the young leader chooses L’ École Supérieure de Ballet du Quebec (ESBQ) The Montreal School offers a Scholarship. Tuition costs are mind boggling. But this is a family, a yoga family, who believes in dreams being manifested. With Yoga, obstacles are like hurdles to breathe your way through. Stretches and poses close the divide between impossible and possible. Champions only need to believe they have what it takes!
Dyslexia Canada states that 15-20% of the population are diagnosed with the disorder. Jayne and Kia are dyslexic. Reading, writing, and spelling are the obstacles. Wait a minute, did ‘Karma Yoga bring an aspiring writer into this family’s life? That would be me, a recent graduate of Humber’s Creative Writing Program.
Now 16, Dhillion is a little shy about sharing his yoga story. “Yoga allowed him to spread his wings,” laughs Jayne. “He found his independence, let go of me. He lives with his Dad. Don’t let my son fool you; he is a ‘yoga guy.’ He even shared “I use yoga when my back hurts”.
“You’ve done ‘Yoga Poses’ in every province?” I ask.
“Not quite,” laughs Jayne. “We have more stops to cover. Toronto saw the ‘Pigeon Pose.’ Thunder Bay the ‘Warrior Pose’ on top of the ‘Sleeping Giant.’ Winnipeg the ‘Fetal Clock.’ Montreal the ‘Rolly Polly Bear.’ We finished that tour with ‘The Pose of the Dancer.’ There were others, yoga travels with us wherever we go.” (Awesome I like this)
Let’s get back to Kia with the ‘Big Heart.’ Her own yoga story is a courageous one. After a routine vaccination, Kia falls. Her concussion triggers a deep depression, followed by anxiety. Once again, yoga is the answer for Jayne and her family.
The Canadian Mental Health association states that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience anxiety, stress, depression or some type of Mental Illness. Chances are someone in your immediate family has experienced some type of Mental Health concern.
“Yoga builds confidence,” Jayne says with her usual smile. “I don’t know how people live productive lives without the practice. It brings together body, mind, and spirit. That’s the balance and foundation of yoga.”
“I continue to meet amazing people who are positively impacted by yoga,” she tells me in an email. “Many have become amazing friends!”