Bookish Yoga Girl Presents : the Yoga Heroes Series Yoga Heroes will be a regular feature on this blog, and will spotlight amazing yoga instructors, scholars and therapists from Breathe Yoga Studio and the wider yoga community of Toronto.
I’m so pleased and grateful to present our first interview with dancer, writer and Breathe yoga instructor Jaimee Horn. Even though Jaimee was immersed in an advanced yoga training, when I asked for an interview, she immediately said yes. Originally from Ottawa (as so many good people are !), Jaimee’s background in dance, together with her yoga practice have given her a rich and subtle body awareness, as well as profound knowledge of anatomy. But it’s Jaimee’s particular brand of yoga magic that keeps students coming back for more. Whether making an epic batch of healthy « bliss » treats for a moonlit yoga event, leading fluid vinyasa, or breaking down the intricacies of headstand, Jaimee puts her students at ease. Her humour and compassion shine through in every class. She would say that it’s important not to stress about your practice, because « after all, it’s only yoga .» Yet, as you will see, yoga has changed Jaimee’s life in many ways.
Jaimee Horn talks about her practice, being awake, and her favorite kind of journey…
What brought you to yoga? When I first discovered the practice of Yoga, it was a way for me to cross train my body. I was actively living my life as a professional dancer and interpreted Yoga as a way to stay active and in shape, but not as a mindful practice or lifestyle. The desire to slow down my Yoga practice did not present itself for almost two years, but when it did, the need to listen deeply challenged everything I had identified with up until that point. I felt conflicted. My truth was changing and although it was messy, there was no doubt that I had to attend to the words my heart was whispering. Once I discerned that my previous dance life’s work could inform my work as a yogi, the transition from dancer to yoga instructor happened fluidly.
How has yoga changed your life, outlook, relationships? The short answer is that I am more aware and awake then I was before. The less abbreviated answer is that it has changed a lot … I’ve created space for the people and things that inspire me, I’ve learned the importance of creating rituals, I met the person I love the most in the world, and I feel more connected to my life’s purpose; all because of Yoga. I sleep better, I feel more grateful, ask more questions, and have more confidence. I make more informed choices, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and information, and every time I learn something new I eagerly dissect it. Life is exciting, busy and beauty-full.
There are brief moments that I feel like what I’ve chosen to do pales in comparison to some of the noble causes being fought for by others, but then I remind myself that there too many ways for people to numb themselves to ailments such as chronic fear, anxiety, pressure and corruption; that are so prevalent in our society. I’ve chosen to help people connect to their body and expand their consciousness, and do my best to hold space for them to listen; because that feels like the most authentic and worthy way I can be of service.
Where do you think the yoga world will go next? I think we are on the edge of a big shift… Once upon a time there was this major industrial revolution… And then not so long ago there was huge progress in the IT industry. Next up (in my humble opinion), will be a significant adjustment to what we value in our lives; a spiritual revolution of sorts.
So, where do I think the Yoga world is going next? I think it will start to infiltrate more parts of our lives, and significantly affect how we make decisions outside of the studio. For most of us, Yoga begins by doing poses on a mat with the guidance of a teacher; but it quickly becomes so much more than that. It becomes a way of life. I hope that with as many people practicing Yoga as there are now, that we will begin to make more mindful decisions about our own wellness and what that entails, the happiness of others, and the holistic health of our planet.
Current pose/family of poses you are curious about I am not so much curious about a particular pose or family of poses per say, but I am very interested in how to sequence postures in a way that is effective and tidy, but sensuous. I am interested in the rhythm of the practice, the experiential anatomy of the body and the energetics of the asanas.
Your best advice to new yogis…Find a studio that is offering a basics or foundations workshop for brand new yogis, and sign up. Don’t just roll in to any class with your well-intentioned partner or best friend that has been practicing for a while because it jives with your schedule. Odds are that experience will be more intimidating than supportive. It doesn’t matter if you are a former dancer or a pro-athlete or if you have super awesome body awareness. Yoga can be hard and there is room for injury when you don’t know what you are doing. Start at the beginning with other beginners.
Finish this sentence…“The best journeys……will have wine at the end.”
Thank you Jaimee, for your time and insights.