My Yoga Journey

JACKIE MENON 

My yoga journey began some 20 years ago. At that time I was struggling to fit into my new role as a longhaul air stewardess. Whilst my colleagues were gregarious, and outgoing, I was shy, introverted, and lacked confidence. I struggled to look people in the eye and always kept my distance. I felt I didn’t belong there.

For some reason I was drawn to my local Buddhist centre, where I attended my first yoga classes. At first, I struggled with a body that had never done any sport or exercise, but in truth I was hooked from day one.

So began a journey of self discovery. Those first few years were a period of intense growth and personal development. Yoga became a much needed discipline, challenge and framework for my life. Having always felt like an outsider I noticed that I now felt a sense of belonging and connection to the yoga community. Destructive and unhealthy relationships in my life were traded for supportive new friendships. My physical body was changing, gone were my knocked-knees, pigeon toes and poor posture. I felt that I stood taller and for the first time felt an inner confidence beginning to grow. I was moving forwards and although I couldn’t put my finger on precisely why, I knew that yoga was integral to this process of transformation.

Whilst my job left me feeling exhausted and ungrounded, I would always travel with my yoga mat in my suitcase. I learnt to use yoga as a tool for managing my dysfunctional body clock and yoga became an antidote to an erratic and demanding lifestyle.

In 1998, with a desire to gain a deeper understanding of my own experiences on the yoga mat I began my training as a yoga teacher with Ruth White, who had been trained by BKS Iyengar. Pretty soon I found myself juggling my full time flying career with a busy yoga teaching schedule and dreaming of making a living out of what had now become my passion.

I continued to expand my knowledge base, reading anything and everything relating to yoga. I explored many different styles and facets of yoga with an array of respected teachers both at home and abroad and continued to further my yoga education with additional training in anatomy studies and perinatal yoga.
I then became drawn to the field of yoga therapy and its links to mental health. I knew from my own experience that practicing yoga had positively influenced my state of mind, outlook and ability to cope with challenges, uncertainty and instability in my life.

I had noticed with growing interest that more and more students were coming to general yoga classes, with conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression, sometimes having been referred by their doctors. Their feedback indicated that they were greatly benefitting from the yoga and I decided to further develop my understanding of which specific yoga practices were working for them and why.

It was a respected fellow yoga teacher who first brought Yoga for the Mind to my attention. She herself was recovering from depression and had derived great benefit from attending the Minded Institute's Yoga for the Mind eight week course for stress, anxiety and depression.
On investigating the teacher training programme at The Minded Institute, I recognised that the founder Heather Mason, who has a background in psychotherapy, neuroscience and yoga therapy, had created a very precise programme of treatment for mental health issues, tried and tested over several years and founded on scientific data and research. This training would surely give me the answers to my questions.

It did and I graduated from the first Minded Institute training programme in the UK in 2011.

I have since then become a supervisor on teacher training programme, helping to inspire, guide and support others on their journey to become yoga therapists 

After a 22 year flying career I have finally hung up my wings and am now truly following my heart on a path that has been calling to me for a very long time.


 

HONOURING THE TEACHERS WHO HAVE GUIDED AND INSPIRED ME ON MY YOGA JOURNEY:

Vaccasin
Gingi Lee
Ruth White
Lino Miele
Mahamani Carol Smith
Paul Grilley
David Sye
Gary Carter
Francoise Freedman
Heather Mason

TRAINING AND EDUCATION