Teacher Feature: Jennifer Nicol
For Jennifer, a love affair with yoga started out as a way to stretch. Being physically active, she first became acquainted with yoga as a companion to her already existing fitness regime. In the spring 2012, attending the occasional class took a turn for the life changing. “I had discovered hot yoga and fell in LOVE!” says Jennifer, “I began attending several classes per week and almost immediately noticed a huge difference in my body and mind. Breathing became easier, my mind was more focused and my body was getting stronger each week. After the first 6 months of consistent practice, I clearly remember thinking ‘This is amazing… Why has it taken me so long to get here?!”
Teaching yoga had always been a secret desire for Jennifer, but she had been unwilling to share it with others because like many of us, she was worried that she would fail. “I was fearful of failure and allowed it to hold me back from taking the steps to becoming a certified instructor,” she says, “It was all thanks to a very close friend of mine, who had inspired me to believe in myself and follow my dream. With the support and nudge from that friend, I took the plunge and enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training.”
Her understanding of this fear is what has helped her to inspire beginner practitioners. Since completing her teacher training at Yoga Tree, Jennifer emphasizes the importance of remaining patient with your practice, allowing for strength and flexibility to come with time. In addition to this, Jennifer admits that she is always growing herself. “I have a great team of teachers to learn from on a daily basis,” she says, “We are constantly asking each other questions, recommending resources, attending workshops and whenever possible, practicing and teaching together.”
So when it comes to her practice, what is Jennifer’s favorite asana? “Headstand (Sirsasana) is my favorite pose for several reasons,” she says, “Sirsasana is a rejuvenating pose for the entire body. When the body is inverted, blood flow changes direction, offering the veins a break from pumping upward and allowing the circulation of stagnate blood that can pool in ankles and feet. Metaphorically and literally, inversion provides the mind with a different perspective and way of seeing things. It takes a strong core and mental focus to hold headstand for 10 or more breaths. It has taken a steady effort to develop the strength of both mind and body to learn how to hold this posture. It is a gratifying feeling when hard work pays off! Now, I love being inverted!”
Be sure to join Jennifer for one of her classes (particularly one of her sensational hot yoga classes) at Yoga Tree’s Downtown or Midtown location. Jennifer is also a register holistic nutritionist, so stay tuned for her upcoming nutrition workshop in the new year!
For more information about Jennifer, visit www.examiner.com and key ‘Jennifer Nicol’ in the search.