Sivana Yogi Spotlight: Jill Lawson
After teaching my first fitness class in 1992, Jill knew she had found her passion. Since then, she’s earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and followed it up with a master’s degree in physical education. But she was always destined to learn more about yoga.
Her first yoga training was in Power Yoga, and although she excelled at it, she wanted to be immersed in yoga’s deep roots and expand beyond the physical aspects of the practice. She soon went to the Sivananda Yoga Ashram to study, and during that time she gained a humbling perspective on the yogic lifestyle, which changed her life and her yoga practice completely.
In addition to teaching yoga, creative writing has also been something she’s enjoyed. Jill’s had the pleasure of writing regularly for Om Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine, the Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Diets in Review, and many other blogs, magazines, and local newspapers.
Your Personal or Professional Goals:
I recently opened up a studio in the Four Corners area, near my hometown, and near Mesa Verde National Park, in Cortez, Colorado.
When I returned to the area after being away at college, I started teaching just a few classes a week wherever I could find space, as their wasn’t a yoga studio within a 60 mile radius of our small town.
This meant driving long distances to meet my classes in different pockets of the county. My schedule soon grew to 15 classes a week, in six different locations. I knew from that point I had a large enough following to be centrally located. After renting out a small but adequate space for two years on a month-to-month basis, I took the giant leap and moved into a beautiful space on Main Street in downtown Cortez.
As far as my professional goals, I am delighted to keep being of service as I watch my yoga community grow.
I have also recently been approached to create audio recordings of my unique guided imagery and meditation scripts, which are currently featured in Om Yoga Magazine. I love to use them in my yoga for deep relaxation classes, and my students find them very beneficial.
My personal goals really just include staying happy and healthy through my practice. I am not sure of any other way I would like to live, other than enjoying what it is that I do every day.
Why You Became an Instructor:
Teaching comes naturally to me. I think I’ve always been a teacher at heart. My first clue came when, as a little girl, I used to teach my stuffed animals how to do gymnastics.
I used to stretch their little arms and legs, and put them in poses like backbends and handstands. Maybe I was teaching them yoga then, but I just didn’t know it! I can’t imagine not being a teacher. Passing on knowledge feels good to me, and watching someone blossom as a result, is worth its weight in gold.
Where You Teach:
I teach at my studio, Heart and Core Yoga, in Cortez, Colorado. I also teach a 200-hr yoga teacher training course, present at the Telluride Yoga Festival, and teach yoga at retreats in Mexico for Via Yoga.
What You Teach:
We have a diverse community in Cortez and the surrounding area, and a big need to accommodate a wide variety of levels and experiences. I teach anything from gentle hatha, powerful vinyasa flow, yoga for deep relaxation and meditation, yoga for ski conditioning, and fitness classes that combine Pilates, core work, and calisthenics.
With my extensive background in exercise science, I am able to stretch the schedule to serve interests beyond yoga.
Who/What Inspires You:
My dad inspires me. He is the most unique individual I know, with a perspective on life that can’t be matched. I am currently in the process of writing a book about his experiences.
While struggling as a lowly errand boy at an investment firm in Chicago, my dad kept a watchful eye on the trade. His keen attention to the business paid off when he landed a position as vice president of a bond brokerage firm in New York City. After just ten short, but solid years uplifting the face of Wall Street, he decided to leave the city and move to an isolated ranch in Colorado with no plumbing, television, or telephone, and take up photography and other creative endeavors.
Many people only dream of doing such a thing, but my dad did it. I can’t wait to document his amazing story and fill my readers’ minds with tales of his courage, philosophy, and wisdom.
My mission as a yoga teacher, teacher trainer, and yoga studio owner is to simply create a space for self-improvement, and ultimately self-empowerment. I respect the variety of healthy things people do to feel great in mind and body, and I am honored to play a role by teaching yoga and fitness.
My mission as a writer is to expand the minds of those who love to read and seek inspiration.
My mission as a human being is to always keep learning, growing, teaching, and to keep enjoying all that life has to offer me.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Rumi
As yoga gains popularity in America, it is not hard to see how its original purpose can get a little diluted by our Western culture. The best thing we can do as yoga teachers is stay true to our own practice, and be teachers that lead by example.
No matter the course yoga in America takes, if we stay on the path as teachers and as practitioners, yoga will keep prevailing as a method in finding health and happiness.
Online and Social Sites:
Jill Lawson Yoga: www.jilllawsonyoga.com
Heart and Core Yoga Studio: www.heartandcoreyoga.com
Jill Lawson on Twitter https://twitter.com/jilllawsonyoga
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