YOGI OF THE MONTH
February 2014 - Janet Hill (pictured right, at the Ballet with her daughter, Anna)
What first brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
As the younger sister of a professional dancer, I was drawn to Pilates about 20 years ago. Although I didn't have the talent to dance professionally, I had the muscular legs and arched feet of a ballet dancer, so Pilates was a great fit. Luckily for me, my teacher wasn’t into “burn your abs" Pilates, but rather a mind/body version which was like a beautiful yoga/dance approach. When I moved to the Northern Neck, I didn't resonate with the Pilates classes I attended, but I did find Susan’s yoga class (thank goodness!) and realized it could be very similar to mind/body Pilates. I stuck with her like glue, and now Susan’s classes provide the mind/body peacefulness I was looking for but also a super challenge for my body.
What is/are your intention(s) for your yoga practice?
As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life, yoga has helped me to become more mentally and emotionally healthy. My intention for my practice, first and foremost, is to continue to reduce worry, anxiety and depression. Secondly, I want to maintain my flexibility and continue to grow my strength and vitality as I age.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Gosh, it's really hard to pick one! I love Downward Facing Dog because every time I do it I learn something new about my body---so many layers to Down Dog. But I have to admit I feel like the Princess of Power in Warrior II, and there are few times in life when one feels like that! My body craves moving into Side Angle after that pose and I love opening my ribs up to the sky.
What is your favorite class at InsideOut Yoga?
All of them, but with Power Flow I have watched myself go through an amazing process of eliminating mental resistance to go farther in yoga than I thought possible. About a year ago, I began to resist Susan as she increased the intensity of the Power Flow class. I got mad at her. I told others I thought it was too hard (excuses, excuses, excuses). At t that point I had a choice—to leave or surrender. Luckily, I did the latter and have reached a beautiful new level of strength, peace and letting go which has spilled over to many other aspects of my daily life. That’s pretty miraculous to me.
How has the practice of yoga influenced your life?
Yoga allows me to surrender my mind to the spiritual and to the present moment. It allows me to stop the endless machinations of the mind -- something no amount of therapy, meds, or self help groups could do. Yoga is an amazing tool if you are seeking emotional and spiritual growth.
What advice would you have for a beginning yoga student?
Just do the best you can, but try to let go of resistance to go to a new level.
What is your occupation?
I worked for 36 years in the mental health and disabilities arena. I still do occasional consulting, especially family support for those living with mental health or disability issues.
What activities do you enjoy?
I have been teaching yoga to children at the Montessori School and the Boys and Girls Club---super fun and rewarding for me. I love to travel to foreign countries and blend in (like going to local yoga classes and self help groups) rather than just sightseeing. I love regular exercise in general and I go to Richmond pretty regularly for Bikram Hot Yoga. The 90 min of 106 degrees provides tremendous relaxation of my muscles post class and releases a super endorphin trip. (Being a recovering hippie, I have to admit I love that high after class!)
What is your favorite thing about living in the Northern Neck?
The river. Our little house is all glass on the river side. I have focused all the furniture so that you see the river constantly from every almost every room all the time. Water gives me a feeling of spaciousness and spirituality. I don’t think I could live away from water ever again. Next, I love the people and slower pace of life. I get nervous in the city now.
Is there anything you want to add?
Love you, Susan!