My goal is to share yoga in a welcoming and accessible way

My name is Jenifer Cartland, 200-RYT. I have practiced yoga for over a dozen years and have studied with gifted teachers from a wide range of approaches to yoga, from what can often be thought of a the ‘strict’ Iyengar tradition all the way to the ‘any thing goes’ Freedom-Style Yoga taught by the astonishing Erich Schiffman. Angela Farmer is my current teacher and guide.

My teacher training is from YogaNorth, The International SomaYoga Institute in Duluth, MN. Inspired by Thomas Hanna’s approach to somatics, SomaYoga enables practitioners to restore and build functionality and strength. The goal is to increase the awareness of alignment, strength and openness to safely allow all bodies to enjoy the many benefits of yoga and to increase function in all the activities that are of value.

I am also a board member of YogaCare, a non-profit in Chicago that catalyzes the spread of yoga in communities with limited resources. For this reason, I offer discounted pricing for those who find the cost of yoga classes to be prohibitive. Yoga is for every body and everybody should have access to it if they choose.

My approach to yoga

To quote one of my many excellent teachers, ‘If the yoga you practice is not right for you, it is not yoga.’

I specialize in helping students find a path that suits them – whether it is a vigorous work out, calming and settling practices for the mind, or healing practices for a long misunderstood injury. I work with students to find awareness in their bodies through breath and asana (pronounced ‘ah-sah-nah,’ meaning physical postures and movements). These are doorways into deeper self-awareness and growth.

All abilities and all ages

‘If you can breath, you can do yoga.’ Witness my father, who at the age of 85 discovered the wonder of simple breath practices during a trying period. Nothing surprised me more than when he announced to me that he ‘took up yoga.’ For him, that meant sitting in a chair and breathing with awareness to gain calm and perspective. Such is yoga’s power and wisdom.

Yoga is often represented in our culture as a form of gymnastics, but it is both more and less than that. If your body chooses to seek out a headstand, yoga is there for you. If your body chooses to rest in meditation, yoga is there for you. If your body needs something different every day, yoga is there for you.

My goal is to find the yoga that works for you today. It may change tomorrow, but if you are alert to what matters today, the yoga you seek tomorrow will be accessible and liberating.