Yoga District (YD) is pleased to showcase another one of our outstanding teachers as a part of our “Teacher Feature” series – Q&As with our instructors featured on our blog. Today’s Teacher Feature highlights a longtime instructor, Jayanti.
Jayanti completed her teacher training about 10 years ago, and enjoys bringing students the same peace that yoga gives her. She emphasizes much more than poses in her classes: Jayanti advises a daily practice of tapas, svadhyaya, and Ishvara pranidhana for teachers and students alike who want to deepen their practice. Tapas is shifting energy. Svadhyaya is studying yourself, getting to know yourself, and reading and studying scriptures. Ishvara pranidhana is surrendering the ego in meditation. Learn even more by reading our full interview with Jayanti.
What is your favorite style of class to teach, and why?
Alignment, alignment, alignment 🙂 While I do use sun salutations for warm ups, I love to employ alignment tips that I have learned from the Anusara and Iyengar traditions. I encourage students to use props (and sometimes this means going to the wall…it’s a great prop). I like to teach alignment because holding poses that are synchronized with breath keeps the students safe and is very healing and meditative.
Describe your personal circumstances or experiences that made you want to share yoga.
I always wanted to be a teacher. At first it was English, but…life happened. At a time in my life when I went through a rough divorce and had a teenager who was acting out, I was praying daily for peace. I had taken yoga classes off and on since the 70s and decided to try again as I remembered that it was a little bit of heaven. The more I went on the mat, the longer I was able to sustain peace and felt that I had no choice but to share this with others. I completed my teacher training about 10 years ago.
What advice do you have to others sharing or seeking to share yoga with others?
My advice would be to practice tapas, svadhyayaand Ishvara pranidhana daily. How are you going to move your body (asana practice) and shift your energy (tapas); study yourself, get to know yourself and read and study scriptures (svadhyaya) and then surrender the ego in meditation (Ishvara pranidhana).
What pose or practice do you like to teach to help students feel empowered? To relieve stress? Please describe how you saw this practice work with an individual or group.
I like to teach the yang poses for empowerment: Warriors, Triangles, Side Angles. For stress release, I really enjoy teaching gentle and restorative yoga. Some of my students have been with me for several years and I can see how they have become stronger with increased confidence.
Please describe a yoga posture, breath or meditation practice that any of your students connect with and why. Have they taught you a practical application for this or any other pose?
My students seem to really connect with receiving Reiki in Savasana. They confirm that it deeply relaxes them.
How has sharing yoga affected you?
Sharing yoga is an honor. It encourages me to work on myself so that I can show up for my students. I get as much if not more from the beautiful energy they share as they get from me.
Could you describe any best practices in sharing yoga that you apply regularly in your classes?
I endeavor to meet my students where they are at in their practice and help them to feel comfortable right there in the moment. I remind them to experience the journey of each posture…and some days that might mean backing off to stay authentic.
What is your favorite thing to do around town?
Music! I love to go to music events, whether they be inside or out. We have some great talent right here in this city; Thievery Corporation is probably my favorite. I was actually in the music business for over 10 years, managing bands and putting on shows.
What is your favorite thing about the DC yoga community?
The fact that it is a community. Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community here in DC, in all of her amazing wisdom, said that everyone wants to feel like they belong. It’s a universal need. I love that I have a sense of belonging. I have evolved so much by being a part of this awesome community that is very inclusive.
If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be?
Parivrtta Trikonasana aka Revolved or Twisted Triangle Pose. For me, this is a pose that requires patience, concentration, courage and willingness to open up and stay opened in a pose that requires balance while in a bind. The asanas are metaphors to me and this one reminds me to use breath to stay clam and open in a challenging situation.
How long have you been in DC?
I have lived in the DC area since 1978.
YD could not be happier to share Jayanti’s wisdom with you all through this Teacher Feature. To add to her already incredible knowledge, she will complete a 500-hour Kripaulu training this spring. We hope that you will seek out even more guidance from her by attending one of her classes!