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Interview with Joanne Jackett - Shraddha Yoga Centre

Joanne Jackett from Shraddha Yoga Centre recently sat down with us to discuss the benefits of yoga, the importance of incorporating meditation into your yoga routine, the best poses to relieve stress, and her wonderful annual yoga retreat in Bali. Have a read for a beautiful insight into the world of yoga, and if you’re in the Brighton area, feel free to head to one of her weekly classes for some rejuvenation & relaxation.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into yoga.

The twists and turns that took place in my life led me in 1974 to seek the answers to some of life’s ‘big questions’. A business associate at the time, said to me one day – ‘you have a permanent frown on your face, you really should do yoga’. Hearing this made me think that perhaps I should do something about it. So it was on that day that I enrolled as a beginner at the Gita School of Yoga. From that very first class to this present day I have enjoyed the exciting journey of discovery along the yoga path.

Margrit Segesman was the founder and principle of the Gita School and I was most fortunate to be her student for many years. I learnt from Margrit that with a positive attitude life is limitless in its magnitude. Life is exciting and it can be a continuous adventure.

After many years of teaching and ongoing study I have been drawn to the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. I am a member of the Self-realisation Fellowship which has its headquarters in Los Angeles, California and was founded by Yogananda in 1920. I continue my studies with the Self-Realisation Fellowship as the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda give his in-depth instruction in the practice of the highest yoga science and offer his inspiring and practical guidance for attaining physical, mental, and spiritual balance and well-being.

What do you think are the main benefits for someone wanting to get into yoga?

There are many reasons why people want to get into yoga these days. There are various traditions available to people who may want a very physical experience or practice. Then there is the more classical yoga which consists of the postures which are practiced slowly, effortlessly and mindfully, allowing one to work with and understand the body and the human condition. Of course the management of stress and learning to slow down in everyday life attracts people to yoga. This is what we all need and that is addressed in the practice of yoga and meditation.

Regardless of the tradition chosen the underlying message is to be present and awake, often referred to as being a Spiritual Warrior whose qualities are that of gentleness, open hearted and open minded.

What is your go to yoga pose to relieve stress.

It is necessary to have a regular or daily practice of the postures to help keep stress levels down, but then I would say my go to for stress relief is a mindful breathing meditation and Shavasana or Corpse pose. It requires relaxing your body and mind while fully conscious. So I would say that the combination of postures followed by relaxation definitely relieves stress.

There are a lot of yoga fads at the moment. What type of yoga should people avoid?

I would say avoid anything that does not feel right or anything where you are required to extend your body to the point of strain. Practicing yoga that is right for you helps to increase wellbeing on all levels and leaves you feeling relaxed and calm.

How has yoga changed your life?

Well it certainly has removed the frown on my face! Change is something that continues to present right throughout life. Good and sometimes not so good. I have experienced many positive changes but I would say that one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to accept change, whatever it may be. To stay open and present. Do the practice and enjoy life is a saying that I refer to often.

How important is it to incorporate meditation into your yoga practice?

If you look at Patanjali’s eight fold path of yoga, meditation is certainly part of a yoga practice. However there are a number of steps before it could be said one is ready for meditation. Having said that I would always recommend that techniques of relaxation such as Yoga Nidra and breath practices, be incorporated into a yoga practice right from the beginning. Yoga is training the mind as well as the body. Practice mindful yoga and you are on your way to meditation. Meditation is definitely part of my practice.

Is yoga suitable for everyone?

I would say it is suitable for everyone who wants to do it and wants to help themselves. If there are health or physical challenges, one must find the right teacher that can address those challenges. There is so much more to yoga than just asana. It is a journey towards peace of mind and living mindfully and happily.

Tell us a bit about your classes and your particular way of teaching, also if you have any classes/courses coming up?

I teach Classical Yoga in the style I was trained in with Margrit Segesman. In the tradition of Hatha Yoga we start with mindful breathing, stretching to help warm up, and then proceed to various yoga postures or asana. Movements are linked to the breath which assists in keeping the mind present with what is experienced in the body. I emphasise letting go of resistance and feeling peace in every movement and in every breath. I believe in establishing an attitude of unhurriedness throughout the session, allowing time in between postures to pause, breathe and assimilate. When you practice yoga, it doesn’t start and finish on the mat, I encourage students to live with the teachings in everyday life. I incorporate yoga philosophy at appropriate times during the practice and always end the session with relaxation.

I conduct general classes for those who have been practicing for some time, and beginners or gentle yoga classes where I can give more attention to those that may need more modifications or variations of the postures.

Twice a month I run a one hour Yoga Nidra class which is a guided deep relaxation. Please click on link for more information

My Yoga Retreat to Bali is an annual event and the next one is scheduled for 30th September to the 8th October this year. All the details regarding this retreat are on my website It is a week of nurturing, healthy living and I have to say, ‘bliss’.

Joanne also runs weekly yoga classes in Brighton, if you would like to attend click on the following link for details

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