Yoga’s Future: Embracing Restore And RecoverSep 02, 2021 06:00AM ● By Tracy Jennings-Hill
Embracing one of the foundational tenets of yoga—that change is inevitable—many yoga teachers and studio owners have been forced to adapt and change in response to the pandemic and other cultural imperatives of our time. Many yoga students, teachers and long-time practitioners are now seeking a practice that is slower and more grounding, cleansing and healing. As a result, yin-based practices are emerging—the yoga of healing, slowing down, rest, restoration, recovery and going deeper into the “fascia” of the mind as well as the body.
I spoke with Lauren Reese and Dr. Tiffany D. Johnson, two Atlanta yogis who, while coming from different perspectives, both emphasize the restoration and recovery side of yoga. As life in our culture gets more intense, and as physical, emotional and energetic balance become more important to people, a focus on “yin” might be a growing trend in yoga’s future.
Lauren Reese, E-RYT 200, FMS; Co-Founder, Breathe Yoga Atlanta
Lauren Reese, along with her mother, Peggy Smith, opened Breathe Yoga Atlanta in January 2013, and Reese took sole ownership in 2019. A mobility coach and performance-recovery specialist, Reese works with individual athletes as well as teams to help them increase mobility and deepen recovery.
Reese, a certified Yoga Tune Up® teacher and Functional Movement System practitioner, likes to help shift people’s ideas about yoga from being a highly intense physical movement to a modality of rest and restoration. She teaches players to slow down, be aware and look for the nourishment they need, both physically and mentally.
“I never felt like I fit in with the traditional yogi mold,” says Reese. “I consider myself an athlete and feel most comfortable sharing mindfulness practices with athletes. I truly believe my purpose is to share the benefits and gifts of yoga practice with them in a very practical manner.”
Teaching yoga, breathing techniques, body awareness, visualizations and self-myofascial release, she helps athletes develop focus and stress reduction. The idea is to help establish more of a balance in the athlete’s workout and practice schedule and to allow them opportunity for recovery. “The result is a win for the athlete and a win for the team,” she says.
Reese’s mantra is: “I am a student of my body. I show up on my mat, and I practice being present, exploring and always open to learn each time. I always unroll my mat as a student.”
Tiffany D. Johnson, Ph.D., RYT 200; Asst Prof, Organizational Behavior, Georgia Tech
Tiffany Johnson is a work, equity and wellness researcher and a teacher at Georgia Tech. Her embodied approach to teaching, working and consulting with organizations stems from having “reclaimed [her] sense of wholeness” through her yoga practice. She says it has brought her an awakened sense of adaptability and a more humanistic approach to her teaching.
Johnson’s own yoga journey started with hot yoga, but she soon felt that it was not creating the space, balance or sense of wholeness she was seeking. Then she discovered Sacred Chill West yoga studio, founded by Octavia Raheem and Meryl Arnett, which fed her love for a practice that creates space, stillness and room to heal. Sacred Chill West’s yin-based yoga program prompts people to move into stillness and hold poses for longer periods to promote healing of body and mind. [Editor’s note: Sacred Chill West closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.]
At Georgia Tech, Johnson developed the first-ever Work, Equity and Wellness course to support the MBA program, a course that was inspired by her yoga practice and the teachings of Sacred Chill West.
“I discovered a humanistic approach to guiding students through their coursework,” says Johnson. “But, more importantly, [I found what] the future of organizational wellness should look like. That is, we expect our lives and work environments to change, but it first starts with our own change.”
Johnson gets inspiration from words from Sisters of the Yam, a book by bell hooks[DE1] : “The way is one, and the paths are many, we all need to go somewhere to restore our souls. We need to be on that path to recovery to wholeness.” ❧
The owner of LiveURYoga in Roswell, Tracy Jennings-Hill, C-IAYT, YACEP, is a holistic yoga therapist using Ayurveda and Jyotish as the basis for healing. She leads private sessions, workshops, Ayurveda and yoga teacher trainings and retreats.
More Yoga Thrives in Atlanta
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