My name is Enyaj (Jayne Pitchford) and I wanted to become a yoga teacher because yoga has been an intricate part of my life. From a young child, I went from pacifiers to following Lilias Folan on t.v. Through my teens, I read Hesse’s Siddartha repeatedly and followed Richard Hittleman’s illustrated yoga guide. During my pregnancies, I used Sandra Jordan’s pregnancy yoga guide and Gurmukh’s videos, through three ecstatic births where I was blessed with ‘om’ing through my contractions. And now, it is part of my daily quest to stay physically and mentally fit as a single mom of three radiant and demanding beings. Yoga has been the key to get my though hard times and to keep the good times lingering as long as possible.
When I teach yoga, I notice that people become infected with my love for yoga and they continue to practice. I have inspired weight loss of over 75lbs in one individual with yoga and simple dietary changes. I have taught groups of children and watched them become close friends and face their challenges with more certainty because of the gift their practice has given them. Having been a victim of violence as a young girl, I know the strength and endurance yoga can give when life seems to have left you behind, forgotten. These experiences have made me love to share yoga with the world.
I have had great opportunity living in Santa Monica to study with many great teachers. The magical part is that I have been of limited means, so all my teachers offered their services to me irregardless of whether I, once bohemian artist and now a single mom of three, could offer payment or not. I studied with Julian Walker at his 6am class at Anna Forrest early on. Then Kia Miller at yogaworks and with Chris Stein after my yoga instructor training. I trained with Subahdra Bowman, the CEO of Yoga Angels; Pagan (of Liberation Yoga, her mentor,) assisted the teaching and Greville of yogaworks helped teach the yoga kids training. They were all wonderful, committed teachers, full of inspiration.
Although Inyengar will always be the foundation of my teaching, I enjoy the variety of styles that have influenced me. I also find Inyengar has a limited audience. Inyengar yoga focuses on form in a very precise manner. But yoga is also a vital tool of self expression, which escapes analysis. Being a holistic health practitioner and a student of Ayurvedic Buddhist medicine, I integrate yoga poses in the healing process as it helps heal and prevent relapse into sickness whether of a physical, emotional or spiritual nature.
Within this tapestry of personal experience, the teacher which seems best suited for my future studies is Shivea Rea. I have taken classes with her before, and it was truly a unique experience. It was a personal transformation with each workout. My son’s father was a Master Drummer and drum circle facilitator. Having come from years of a deep, cultural experience of dancing and drumming in drum circles, her classes brought back memories of these ecstatic moments. There is great magic in such ecstasy; it helps one wonder‚ and nothing is better than the art of wonder!
Shivea Rea has an eclectic style of form and flow and self expression. She also integrates Ayurvedic body types in her teaching. For me, she is the clincher that takes my diverse interests and brings it vision. Also, like Shiva, the sun salutations have always been the prime tool of my teaching. I feel that it is a series that someone can learn in a short time and build upon for the rest of their lives. It is for me one of the great ‘gifts’ of the yogic experience.
Shivea Rea’s teaching modality would strengthen my teaching skills. It would make me feel more comfortable with my instinctual process. I feel that through having a fair share of troubles and conflict in life, I have had a chance to enjoy the process of life. Life has it’s ups and downs, continuously until it so called ‘ends’, which is actually a transformation, a new beginning. Yoga makes this transformative quality of life apparent in the process. It is a system of movements that help us explore our ‘limits’; it opens up the ‘edge’, taking us a little further from our comfort zone, exploring the unknown. I want to take people to that place, just beyond their limits, to the place of wonder. I want to help them find peace in their journey to themselves, which in itself is a limitless wonder. I would love to instill this in the youth and the elder as well. I would like to work with victims of violence, especially women, in recovery from drug abuse and other crimes against humanity, to help them build the inner strength to recover.
Ultimately, I would also like to teach yoga in foreign communities, where tourism is encroaching upon local life. Yoga can be a resource to share with the tourists and generate income as well as cultural exchange. It can be complimentary to an ecotourist package. Yoga can help individuals cultivate the strength and motivation to succeed in life. It has certainly helped me through many an obstacle. May I be granted the opportunity to help others as well. NAMASTE.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Jayne “Enyaj” Pitchford
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