Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Therapeutic Yoga: One-on-One with Jo Kirsch, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Over the last 20 plus years, I’ve taught yoga to thousands of people in group or one-on-one settings. I’ve taught veterans, social workers, ski/snowboard academy students, teachers, factory workers, college soccer players, Traumatic Brain Injury survivors, wedding and bachelorette parties, high school students, individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, trauma survivors, yoga teacher training students, at yoga festivals, conferences, ski resorts, on retreats and in local communities.
Yoga has therapeutic benefits in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. According to the National Institute of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep. Research shows yoga improves strength, balance, flexibility, eases back-pain, reduces arthritis symptoms, benefits heart health, improves brain longevity, helps with traumatic brain injury, helps people suffering from cancer, promotes better self-care, and more.
Currently, in addition to teaching group classes, I’m working one-on-one with clients on a range of subjects, ranging from healing and recovering from injury and illness; to reducing post traumatic stress and anxiety; to cultivating a regular meditation practice; to studying yoga philosophy; to developing overall well being; and to improve their yoga practice.
Do you have a physical ache that won’t go away? Like a sore back or shoulder or hip? Are you recovering from an injury? Are you suffering from anxiety or depression and desire to improve your overall well being? Do you have trouble sleeping? Would you like to set-up a regular meditation practice? If your answer is yes, and/or if you have another issue you’d like to resolve, please Email me to set up a consultation. Sessions can be arranged live stream online or in person.
What Clients Have to say:
Jo is a wonderful mentor and teacher. Her authenticity comes out in her unique ability to truly connect. As a client I have felt so understood, met where I was and held in such a deeply loving way. Jo is light hearted and deeply empathetic. She creates a space where I have been able to grow, expand and heal in a way I never thought was possible Working with Jo is truly a special experience. – Sandy B.
Yoga has been an integral part of my life for more than 25 years. Practicing yoga enables me to experience a well-being of body and mind. Six months ago I broke my shoulder. Immobile for a month, I was then cleared to start physical therapy twice a week with daily exercises. But I did not do my yoga. I could not straighten my arm. It was not easy to move from floor to standing. I concentrated on strengthening and resuming daily tasks. When I returned to Vermont, Jo began working with me through a Yoga Therapy Practice, focusing on breathing, movement and the yoga poses that re-opened my body and mind to the benefits of yoga. After just 3 sessions my range of motion increased dramatically and I found my breathing rhythm of yoga returning. Jo thoughtfully directed my movement into the familiar poses, giving my body its needed positions and my mind focus. Under Jo’s careful and skilled facilitating I continue to stretch and strengthen, finding greater capacity and ease in movement and poses both in our sessions and in my daily activities. She integrates her years of yoga practice and teaching, wisdom gained in both physical and mental health training and her unique spirit and joy. Today, we explored a weighted fish pose which opened shoulders, hips and mind. I wish I had started this sooner, but grateful to be here now. – Gerry G
Jo has been my teacher for many years. My practice and understanding of yoga philosophy have flourished under her guidance. Recently, we have engaged in private sessions, and Jo’s contribution to my personal growth has had an immeasurable impact. While genuinely listening and being a keen observer, she has begun to transform not only my physical practice but my emotional & spiritual well-being. Jo has helped me identify goals that are attainable and practical in my everyday life. She has offered tools (exercises, breathing, meditation, chanting, and more) to obtain those goals. Most importantly, Jo’s easy and loving nature has shone through and it lifts me up (with a few good laughs thrown in). – Sue F.
To learn more about my personal journey with yoga, read on.
In 1991, I hurt my back bumping around in a motor boat. A friend suggested I visit a chiropractor who
suggested I try yoga to loosen up my tight muscles and quiet my monkey mind. I was hooked from the get-go.
For 10 years I attended gentle Hatha and Kripalu yoga classes and began to consider learning to teach yoga. In 2001, I completed a 5 year process of becoming a fully certified Alpine Ski Instructor and was motivated to keep learning and teaching. In August of that year, I attended a five-day yoga teacher training with Beryl Bender Birch at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. I fell in love with Beryl and the classical active style of Astanga Yoga. Beryl taught with passion, compassion and wisdom. I went on to study with Beryl for many years and attained my 500 Hour Teacher Training Certification through her school, the Hard and The Soft Yoga Institute.
I began teaching yoga in 2001 and I opened Wild Mountain Yoga, a small yoga studio in Manchester, in 2004. And then, In 2006, I began to experience paralyzing anxiety, leading me to close the studio.
After some time I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As happens with many sufferers of PTSD, it took 12 years for my symptoms to became acute and to identify my disorder. Once identified, proactive healing began.
My daily yoga practice helped enormously: moving my body to keep prana flowing; cultivating present moment awareness through breath-centered meditation; using focused breathing to quiet my racing thoughts and become grounded in my body; cultivating my witness self and noticing when my mind was hijacking the truth; using breathing practices to fall asleep at night and to calm down when triggered.
I began to heal. My anxiety lessened. I was once again able to leave the house to go to the grocery store, able to hold a conversation, able to work again.
In 2009, my husband Bob, and I were invited to volunteer at a retreat for post 9-11 veterans suffering from PTSD. Pam Greene, Program Coordinator for the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) in Windham, NY, had worked closely with Bob in the ski industry and knew of Bob’s excellent team building skills. Unknowing of our personal experience with PTSD, (not many did) Pam reached out to Bob to help out at this retreat.
As the veterans walked into the ASF building, their emotional suffering was palpable. After all we’d been through, all we wanted to do was help ease their suffering any way we could. One day turned into 3 years of the most fulfilling work Bob and I had ever done. ASF hired Bob to train their ski instructor volunteers and me to do marketing for this non-profit “dedicated to providing profound and life changing experiences for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses through outdoor physical activity, education, support and community.”
We introduced yoga to ASF and worked with staff members to develop Warriors in Motion; a comprehensive program to provide troops injured in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with a basic understanding of wellness and the importance of lifelong healthful living.
During this time I became certified to teach Adaptive Yoga by Matthew Sanford; Trauma Sensitive Yoga by David Emerson with Bessel Van Der Kolk; Yoga Nidra by Jennifer Reis; Yoga of 12 Step Recovery with Nikki Myers;
After three years of commuting we longed to be back in the Green Mountains full-time. In 2012, Stratton hired Bob to manage its ski school and both of us to develop health and wellness programs. While at Stratton I turned a storage facility into “The Living Room” a yoga studio that continues to this day.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial home, I decided to leave Stratton to open Heart of the Village Yoga in 2013. Having the fortune and fortitude to survive the Pandemic, we are now in our 10th year, and are blessed with a vibrant studio with a cohort of experienced yoga teachers and dedicated students.
While running Heart of the Village Yoga, I continued to study yoga and became certified to teach Yoga of 12 Step Recovery with Nikki Myers; Yoga for Traumatic Brain Injury survivors through Love Your Brain; Yin Yoga with Biff Mithoefer, Soul School Yoga with Sean Johnson; and have studied Bhakti Yoga with Manoj Chalam and Gaura Vani.
Currently, I am enrolled in a Yoga Therapy Training program with Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy. This immersive study is tying my 32 years of yoga practice and training together.
Yoga Therapists are trained to work one-on-one with individuals using yoga techniques, including movement, breath and meditation, to reduce suffering. The possibilities of what yoga therapy can help with are endless, but include: insomnia, physical issues, pain management, digestion disorders, depression, anxiety, asthma, autoimmune issues, etc.
Yoga Therapists do NOT take the place of doctors, therapists, chiropractors, or physical therapists. Yoga Therapists cannot do their job and they cannot do our job. Yoga Therapists are different because they are educators teaching individuals how the mind, body and prana works in an experiential way.
Yoga therapists do not have hierarchical relationships with their clients. They have boundaries, but are “friends” in yoga, and this helps the healing process.
If you are interested in working with me, please Email me to arrange one-on-one sessions. Sessions can be arranged live stream online or in person.