THE SPA IN ME
Interview With Jeanette Sealy, Yoga Therapist
As a mother, yoga therapist, and Air Force veteran, Jeanette knows first-hand the healing that yoga can bring. With over 20 years of experience in long term care, Jeanette brings together grounded compassion and yogic wisdom to show others how this practice connects us with our inherent wholeness. She is an avid learner with a passion for nature, travel, and creating a better world for our children. Jeanette lives in Point Pleasant, NJ, with her partner, four kids, and five pets.
Thanks so much for doing this interview. Our readers and listeners would love to get to know you better. Would you share how you were introduced to yoga?
I was first introduced to Yoga when I was in the US Air Force. I was stationed in Aviano, Italy and one day in the gym there was a class I hopped in on. This was way back - in like 1995 - and it was the most wonderful I had felt in my body in a long time. I had subscribed to the no pain no gain mentality for too long and this practice opened up a whole new pathway to pleasure in embodiment.
What led you to become a yoga therapist? And, what do you enjoy most about your yoga therapy practice?
After years and years of practice, many injuries, two babies, and a professional career in sib acute and end of life care, I decided to deepen my understanding of Yoga to serve all populations. In my yoga therapy practice, I enjoy my time with the mothers, caregivers, people recovering from illness and injury, and those at the end of their lives.
What are the differences between yoga and yoga therapy? When do you recommend that someone visit with a yoga therapist?
The main difference between Yoga and Yoga Therapy is the content of the practice and the educational level of the practitioner. In the west, we are mostly familiar with modern postural Yoga - yoga as physical exercise. Classes are large-ish and are taught in levels or in a somewhat hierarchical structure. In Yoga Therapy, we focus on the individual. We begin with a thorough assessment and from that point determine the person’s unique constitution, history, lifestyle, and needs. As a Yoga Therapist, I mostly work individually in a one-on-one setting or in small groups with people in a similar place. A Yoga Teacher can begin teaching with 200 hours of education whereas a Yoga therapist is required to have over 1,000 hours of education in Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, Neuroscience, Yoga Philosophy, and more.
I think it’s amazing that you work with caregivers. How can caregivers benefit from a yoga practice?
Thank you so much. I have been a sandwich caregiver myself, for many years of my life. Caring for my children, dying parents, and as a role in my profession. I know all too well how depleting and isolating it can be. Caregivers can benefit from yoga in so many ways, but to name a few: Yoga can help build resilience, tonify the nervous system, regulate mood and emotions, establish a grounded sense of well-being, and inherent connectedness to all of life.
Are there other special populations of people that you work with in your yoga practice?
I work with women in the liminal phases of life - caregiving, divorce, trauma resolution, injury and illness recovery, and end of life. I also mentor Yoga Teachers who are drawn to teach and practice more therapeutically.
Pre-Covid, you offered a family friendly yoga retreat. Where did you host your retreat? Also, what inspired you to create a retreat that allowed parents, partners, and their children to attend together?
I have hosted a few family retreats now, sometimes with mommas and kids, and sometimes with the whole family where everyone is welcome. I was inspired to create this from all of my years attending Yoga retreats and trainings, where I would either bring my children and have to find something for them to do or leave them with someone. I longed for a way to involve them in the retreat and create meaningful interactions and forever memories. My favorite retreat is the one I hosted alongside Avital from The Parenting Junkie in Costa Rica. You can check that out here if you like: https://jeanettesealyyoga.mykajabi.com/opt-in-retreats
What activities and/or workshops did you include at your retreat?
Art, Yoga, Music, Meditation, Couples Healing Sessions, Massage, Adventures into the surrounding community (turtles hatching on the beach!, surf and horseback riding experiences, and a permaculture tour to name a few), and an opportunity for Seva or selfless service.
How do you believe your retreat program brought a sense of relief to the families that attended?
I believe the families discovered community with like-minded people, a sense of connection with each other, their children, and with nature, deep rest and relaxation, fun and memories!
Will you offer another retreat? If yes, have you decided the destination?
My next retreat is in the works for August in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
What self-care rituals do you use in your own life?
In my own life self-care looks like nonnegotiable time to do the things that help me show up with consistency and wellbeing. That looks like walks with my dog every morning, routine eating times, Ayurvedic Dinacharya, or a daily routine that includes my favorite practice of Abhyanga or self-massage, daily workouts, Yoga, and meditation. In total, about 90 minutes daily that is virtually nonnegotiable. I wake early to make sure I can fit it in. With four kids and a virtual business, this time is vital and deeply nourishing.
How can our readers follow you on your website and on social media?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much.