YOGAudacious #WCW – Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

January 21, 2015

This article is reposted with permission from from the 2014 series.

Jennifer-2756-Edit1-300x300How did you find yoga?

I practiced Yoga on DVD for 10 years with Rodney Yee and Susan Deason. After a particularly stressful year where my husband almost died and we lost our financial moorings (including two homes), I decided to try Yoga in a studio. I found CorePower Yoga, and in discovering the studio, I found a community, as well as a calling.

After only a few months of studio practice, I was encouraged by CorePower instructors Patricia Rae, Noriko Moser, and David Miller to participate in their 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified Teacher Training program. Under the tutelage of Brigette Dunn-Korpela, Milena Sarian, and other master instructors, I successfully completed my certification in April of 2011, then went on to more Extension training to become an instructor with CorePower.

What are the benefits of your practice?

I have always known Yoga integrates the body, mind and soul, but I discovered something unexpected in the practice: Transformation. As a black woman, and especially a Christian black woman, we are not taught to appreciate the variety and uniqueness of our bodies. In fact, we are often taught to either minimize or denigrate them. Yoga has allowed me to open up to discovering my unique self, and to celebrate this each time I come to the mat.

Yoga gives space for the signature expression of each person to unfold. This in turn, opens one up to the divine. I seek to translate this into my guidance, helping others to find transformation, connection to their authentic selves, and balance in all parts of their physical and spiritual being.

How are you courageous?

BKS Iyengar said, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured, and endure what cannot be cured.” I have a number of body misalignments and injuries that can make certain parts of the practice difficult, and some of the more advanced postures painful. Yet I continue to strive to align my body, come to the mat to be open to possible cures, and through breath, learn grace to endure the limitations that exist.

Advice for beginners.

For those who are beginning Yoga, my advice is to just keep coming to the mat; no matter how you feel you look, or whatever difficulty you may be experiencing. Little by little, you’ll find yourself building a practice of increasing strength, flexibility, and freedom.

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