Hi, my name is Jeanie Sallah and I hail from the Great State of California, the San Francisco Bay Area to be specific. Fast forward some years and I now reside on the First Coast, meaning Florida. If I had to pick one phrase that would best describe me I would have to say that my approach to life is that “One Size Does Not Fit All, so I color outside the lines”. You can probably decipher that any way you want, but it simply means I never put someone in a pre-ordered box because you just never know.
My yoga journey began years ago as a way to help rehabilitate my body shortly after the birth of my daughter. Brief story, nine months after her birth I suffered a full blown stroke. I left the hospital with a weakened, dangly right arm, and a haircut that only a mother could love due to the type of surgery I had. I tend to not join in the “WOE IS ME CLUB”, so I went about my life, dutifully doing my physical therapy and pushing to fully get back to a state of normal. My story really does have a happy continuation though because today my daughter has graduated college; I’m fine, healthy in spirit, and thriving (notice I didn’t say happy ending because it’s still going strong). Yoga began as an exercise to aid in my flexibility, strength, and balance but has evolved into a wonderful, mind-body connection that I treasure dearly, and am grateful for.
In 2012 after about a year of practicing at a very peaceful and inviting studio in Jacksonville, Florida I was persuaded by an awesome instructor at Mindful Motion Yoga to take my practice to the next level. The studio offered teacher training, so in 2013 I completed my 200 hour Registered Teacher Alliance approved training. Since my focus has always been to make sure that yoga is accessible to all, in 2015 I went on to receive my Gentle Yoga Certification from Lifespan Yoga. Later that year I obtained my Chair Yoga Certification from Lifespan Yoga as well ( Lifespan Yoga is Awesome). In 2017 after listening to Lakshmi Voelker’s moving presentation at the Accessible Yoga Conference, I was so impressed that I obtained my Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Certification–taking my chair yoga love to new heights. Keeping in the accessible yoga lane, I received my certification from Yoga for All in 2019 and my Accessible Yoga Certification in 2020. I loved how those course stressed INCLUSIVITY! Weather showing up to roll out a yoga mat or by sitting on a chair, everyone present could enjoy the same wonderful practice and that’s the beauty of Yoga for All.
I consider my yoga to be very “URBAN” meaning that although I believe in the typical yoga philosophy; I don’t practice in the traditional fashion. Easy Seated or Sukhasana, they both mean the same thing-Cross Your Legs. Sanskrit is a beautiful language but I rarely use it when I teach, opting instead to use the English translation of the poses. Making yoga accessible to a wide audience is my focus. Meeting my students where they are today and making the yoga fit “THEM” is what’s real to me.
“Yoga and Music are like an AMAZING COUPLE”
Yoga stretches the body, while Music soothes the Soul
Another distinction in my classes is the choice in music, which is an important part of our physical and emotional well being. Music is a medium for relaxing the mood and promoting movement, all while helping the class be a little less intimidating. My typical class might consist of some Smooth Jazz, Mellow Reggae, a little Maxwell, Brian Culbertson, Kenny G., or relaxing sounds that are not distracting (key-no words).
My practices also include talking from the students (I know it’s a little different). At times questions may come up during the course of the class that might not be able to be put on hold. Speak Up; you don’t have to hold it in, just be mindful that it’s appropriate to the class at hand. Another addition is that I tend to use a LOT OF PROPS; such as blocks, straps, bolsters, pillows, blankets, chairs, balls, even the walls. I rely on them because a block may extend the floor up a little higher if you find yourself struggling, a strap might increase your reach a little further, and the blankets might possibly soften those troubled, bothersome bones that come in contact with the floor. Props can really add the gentle to Gentle and Chair Yoga, making the practice DOABLE for all.
If I had to pick one word to describe my relationship with yoga it would be Passionate! I’m truly passionate about the wellness opportunities yoga can provide. I’m passionate about the people it has the ability to help and I’m equally passionate about making my yoga classes accessible to all.
So at the end of the day, I vow to bring my “Best Self” to the students who are practicing right in front of me. Namaste
“My Mission is to Make the Yoga Fit your Body
Not the Other Way Around”
Check out: My Mission.