January 25, 2011

Inspiring Instructors - Jacoby Ballard

 As a teacher who offers classes specifically to the Queer and Trans communities, I have had some disheartening experiences and witnessed some students struggle to find a place for themselves in the yoga world.  While some studio owners have turned classes away because they want classes the can offer "to everyone", others have "scooped" requests for me to teach to a LGBTQ group because they felt "anyone can teach Queer and Trans Yoga". And, sadly, I’ve taught students who have experienced homophobic and/or transphobic experiences at other classes.  I know we can do better as a yoga community—to open our hearts and create more spaces that provide safety, understanding, and community building. Meet Jacoby Ballard, a yoga instructor and co-owner of a wellness centre in Brooklyn, New York, who is doing just that.
What led you to decide to offer yoga classes to the queer and trans communities?

 I came out as trans while training to be a teacher, and so yoga has always been a part of my gender. It’s been a very spiritual process, to transition socially and medically, that it has really demanded that I know who I am. Though I found support through yoga in yamas and niyamas and through the warmth of my teachers, I also found a complete lack of understanding of the trans experience.  

For the rest of the interview click below:

January 1, 2011

Inspiring Instructors - Jennifer Musial

Ever since I became involved in the world of teaching yoga, I have been moved by my peer instructors’ unique approaches and individual dedication to increasing yoga’s accessibility by sharing its benefits beyond the mainstream audience.  I am inspired by this work and am always curious to know more and so I will spend my next few blog entries sharing my interviews with some of these fine folks with you.
Meet Jennifer Musial, a Hatha yoga teacher from Kingston, Ontario, who teaches within the walls of Joyceville penitentiary.
What drew you to teach yoga in prison?

Click here to read the rest: http://torontobodymind.ca/blogs/heather-douglas/inspiring-instructors-series-part-1