1. Tell us about your life before being an instructor?
I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia in the states. I currently live in New York. My life before teaching yoga and aerial yoga could honestly be a book. I will try to give you the abridged version. I got married and had my son at a young age and as you would imagine the marriage did not last. I found myself taking on a lot of different jobs because I needed to support myself and my son. I think I've done every job in the hospitality industry from cooking to being a waitress and bartender and even managing several places. I worked as a pharmacy technician and for theater companies. I've even acted in commercials and an HBO movie. But I always just wanted to help people in some way. I never considered myself an athletic person but I've always loved movement, gymnastics and dance. I love the feeling of creative expression through movement. Did I mention that I was also really really shy? So this process has taken some time. My son calls me "a late bloomer" hahaha! He says " you're not weird, you're just not boring" I guess I'll take that.
Janie with her son
2. How did you get into yoga and aerial yoga?
I first started doing yoga at home to videos when my son was a baby and I wanted to lose weight. I quickly realized that it not only helped my body but it mostly helped me with stress and it helped calm my mind. I finally took my first real yoga class in New York several years later. I started doing aerial after seeing friends show in LA. Several of the performers in the Cirque-style show were around my age (36 at the time) so I thought maybe I could do it too. I started with the flying trapeze and then aerial silks, aerial rope and aerial hammock. A friend actually told me about aerial yoga. She said "it combines two things that you love! aerial and yoga". After a few classes and with a little encouragement, I decided to get my 200-hour vinyasa yoga certification followed by my aerial yoga certification and I started teaching.
3. Why did you decide to become an instructor?
I decided to become a yoga and aerial yoga teacher because I wanted to share with people the two things that have brought me so much joy and healing in my life. Through the practice of yoga, I have found more self-acceptance and peace and aerial yoga has shown me that I'm so much stronger than I thought I was. Teaching has helped me move past a lot of insecurities and shyness.
4. What's the best part of the practice; of being an instructor?
One of my favorite things about teaching is to see people go from being fearful or shy to being excited and even be able to laugh at themselves. I love showing people that they are so much stronger than they think they are. My classes are very playful because I think we learn more through play and when our minds can relax and stop adult braining everything! Life is already serious and working out can actually be fun!
5. Tell us about your experience teaching in Singapore
This has been an incredible learning experience for me on a personal level. I was hoping that my message of self-acceptance and learning to get out of our own way would resonate here. I have learned that it's really just human nature to want to better ourselves but its also a global need for us to learn to accept and love ourselves. My favorite quote says "interrupt anxiety with gratitude" and I love that quote so much because it makes us change our perspective. I think we could all use a little shift in perspective sometimes.