A Note from Jill Ivey

Dear Yogi

A few months before my 30th birthday—after years of looking—I finally found a medical practitioner who believed me when I said that I was in pain and diagnosed me with a chronic pelvic pain condition.

If you’ve ever received a diagnosis after a long medical journey, you know what a relief it can be to hear “you’re right, what you’re experiencing is not normal.” But if your diagnosis included the word “chronic,” you also know the feeling of despair accompanying it. I cried for days, telling myself “this will never go away; this will only get worse.”

And then I decided to do something about it.

In addition to a complicated schedule of pills, creams, and ointments, as well as injections delivered via the longest needle I’d ever seen in one of the most sensitive areas of the human body, I began physical therapy to try to re-pattern the muscles of my pelvic floor. And I recommitted myself to a regular yoga practice.

I first came to yoga as a teenager, when I was dancing five days a week. I abandoned both yoga and dance in college, started going to yoga once a week after graduation, and then moved to another neighborhood where my weekly class was no longer convenient but also didn’t bother to look for a new class. I’d still do a video sometimes, but it had been nearly six years since I had taken a proper yoga class.

After four years of consistent practice, I had noticed major results. Yes, I still regularly struggled with pelvic pain, but I had learned how to use my practice to help relieve it—and perhaps just as importantly, how to modify my practice so as not to exacerbate it. I also began studying Iyengar yoga and deepening my pranayama and meditation practices, and gained a better understanding of how doing yoga “right” (in terms of the asana, yes, but also in terms of embracing it as a mind-body practice and not just a physical exercise) made a huge difference.

And I wanted to share that difference with others.

I was in the midst of researching 200-hour teaching programs, trying to find a place where I could focus on the kind of yoga I wanted to be able to teach, when a friend sent me a link to the posting for the Maha internship program. I had never practiced at Maha before but somehow, Justicia managed to select me for the opportunity. I spent the next year managing the studio and deepening my practice and emerged on the other side not just a yoga teacher, but a yoga teacher who was comfortable helping others feel the same therapeutic benefits of yoga that I felt.

I love talking to my students about the things that are going on in their bodies—whether a chronic issue, a recent surgery, a pregnancy, a change in weight that’s made certain poses feel different, or just a tweaked muscle from a bad night’s sleep—and helping them find a way into their practice that works for their unique needs. I’m also completely transparent about my own limitations when I teach because I believe they’re a benefit to my teaching. I’ve had to learn to make yoga work for my body rather than trying to make my body work for yoga—and I’m passionate about helping my students learn that, too.

I’m offering private yoga sessions at Maha! If you’re interested in our private monthly membership program, I have available time Saturdays and Sundays, and other hours upon request. CLICK HERE

We are offering 30% off your first month of membership! Use code PRIVATE30 at checkout to redeem.

Jill Ivey