As I continue to explore spiritual wellness, I’m constantly amazed at how diverse the word “spiritual” is to those around me. Some have written to me about religion, while others find fulfillment in a certain teaching or practice.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jillian, a volunteer at Aurora Sinai Medical Center and a yoga instructor who I met at Core/El Centro Natural Healing Center. She started practicing yoga during her senior year of college while volunteering at a wellness center for those living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago. The organization offered yoga classes and as a volunteer, she decided to check them out. These classes inspired her as she could see and personally feel how they brought about a profound level of healing to class participants.
In 2006, she decided to further her study of yoga in India. While abroad, she learned about yoga in a variety of different settings such as ashrams, yoga schools and while traveling throughout the country.
Jillian practices yoga for its effects on her spirit, but also shared that it helps on a physical level to keep the joints healthy, strengthen muscles, develop proper breathing habits, balance the nervous system and aid in digestion. In addition to teaching, Jillian has made yoga and meditation a part of her personal daily routine and she practices about half an hour to an hour every day.
As we spoke further, I learned that yoga is not about over-exerting my body, but actually a way to honor myself and bring connection and flow between my mind, body, breath and spirit. Yoga meets each individual exactly where they are in their body. One does not need to be flexible to begin. She talked about how life often pushes us to work hard and accomplish tasks quickly. Yoga is a practice that helps us to slow down, enjoy a pause and move into deep relaxation and meditation.
It was truly inspiring to listen to Jillian as she talked about how yoga has become a spiritual practice for her and how much balance it brings to her life. Yoga helps her to feel oneness and connection with the divine. She explained, “Relaxation, breathing and centering help us to feel our most peaceful, our most joy, and to me, that’s God.”
Yoga is now offered at both CORE / El Centro and the Aurora Women’s Pavilion. Sign up today and begin your own journey to spiritual wellness!