Health & Wellness

Like Mother, Like Daughter

From cooking nutritious meals to playtime, I was fortunate to be taught early on that being healthy could literally be fun and games. Physical education wasn’t just running the mile in school for me, it was my mother’s passion and our lifestyle, and as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and physical fitness competitor, she’d bring me along to the Oahu Club to sit in on her pilates and Ho’opiopio (Hawai’ian for “Rejuvenation”) classes all day. When she was with a client – often stars from ABC’s hit show LOST –  I was observing and standing by with water and a towel as a trainer in training (and losing my damn teenage mind when she was working with Josh Holloway).

Practically raised in a gym and around its various machines and programs, I didn’t think of exercise as a chore “to-do” because the attitudes surrounding me there were genuinely happy and supportive. The same mentality came with dancing and playing sports. I was lucky to have instructors and coaches who were committed to helping us develop and grow physically and mentally. They all emphasized form -proper body mechanics-  and after ten years if dance and eight in year-round sports, they ingrained in me how to move my body and how to take care of it. Like all great achievements, my abilities took time and dedication to build. The great thing is, we can all take steps to live a happier, healthier life. I’m here to inspire and show you all the ways I know how to do just that.

Yoga Student, Yoga Teacher

While earning my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of  Illinois, I delved deeper into how the brain and mind work the body. In my first year, I started practicing yoga regularly and enough to appreciate not only physical benefits but mental benefits too. I noticed yoga improved both my immediate mood in class as well as my overall state of mind well-after rolling up my mat. Long-term, though my courses and workload only became more challenging, I was able to manage my stress and anxiety levels because I found a way to regain real peace of mind in a way I wasn’t able to achieve through other activities (like running, improv, or partying). As a psychologist, my views on health and wellness began to evolve as I observed the effects of yoga. I began to study a proactive approach to preventing injury and illness as a way of increasing one’s quality life: giving the body what it needs (over neglecting it to the point of crisis and relying on a pill or surgery they have for that) as well the effectiveness of yoga as therapy and even medicine.

Years later, I became a Yoga Alliance-registered yoga teacher training at the West-East School of Yoga in St. Louis, Missouri. Our curriculum focused on anatomy and physiology and intensive class sequencing design with an emphasis on Sivananda, Iyengar, and Hatha yoga styles. We also studied meditation, the principles of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Bandhas, and Pranayama, as well as the philosophy of the Yoga Sutras. One of the biggest takeaways for me was how to re-educate the nervous and muscle systems, strengthen the body, and undo the damage of daily misalignment and anxieties, which is so important in this digital age, with so many of us spending hours sitting at our desks these days!

Now, I want to spend my life sharing the benefits of yoga and am always happy to teach classes in groups or privately. Feel free to drop me a line at jeanierhoads@gmail if you’d like to connect and arrange a time to take a class with me!


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