Our founder and director, Jackie Kubica-Aronoff, has been practicing yoga since 1998, following a miscarriage. However, it was after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2005 that she began to use her daily yoga practice as a tool to heal her body. It was through that practice that she learned to use yoga to heal her mind and spirit as well. When she was first diagnosed with FM, she weighed over 200 pounds and was unable to walk in the grocery store for more than 20 minutes; with patience and dedication, less than 4 years later she participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, completing a marathon in just over 8 hours. Going through periods of being overweight and feeling self-conscious about not having a “typical yoga body”, she practiced exclusively at home for the first 11 years by watching DVDs; she attended her first live class when she began her first yoga teachers training program in 2009. That is when she was first introduced to yoga philosophy, namely the yamas and niyamas, and how they could help alleviate suffering. She realized that by only practicing asana (poses) she had been practicing just an eighth of what yoga could offer; it felt like having two hands and only having used a finger or two until then. She realized the true transformative and healing power that yoga could bring to the mental and emotional aspects, in addition the physical body. Yoga has helped her deal with many of life’s challenges, such as dealing with trauma, abuse, grief, divorce, financial loss, physical injury, and illness – including COVID-19.
Given her history, Jackie specializes in Gentle, Restorative, and beginning levels of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, especially for those who are new to yoga, who are recovering from illness or injury, or who are dealing with chronic health conditions. Since 2014, she has been honored to be a yoga instructor at the Monte Nido and Associates group of eating disorder centers. She gives precise directions and cues so her students can confidently and safely execute poses in ways that are appropriate for their individual body’s needs. She also believes that yoga should be fun, encourages building community with other students, and teaches all eight limbs of yoga in her asana classes – including yoga philosophy, breath work, mindfulness and meditation – using mantra, mudras and kirtan.
Coming from her personal experience with chronic pain and knowing how beneficial yoga can be to alleviate it, she was inspired to share that knowledge with others. Being a yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner is one of the most rewarding and incredible things she has done in her life. She knows with certainty that she is living her life’s purpose, and that she is incredibly fortunate to love her job! It just took until she was 39 for that to happen.
She believes that no matter what your physical limitations, yoga can help you heal yourself – to realize your full potential, and to radiate that out into your life.