“Be the light you want to see in others”

Who are your favorite heroes in real life?

Heather Lilleston is a yoga teacher in NYC who gave me the confidence, after 10 years of practice, to step into a teacher training. She made me feel immediately welcome and happy in the studio (Yoga Vida, NYC) and exuded the kind of golden/grounding energy I want to cultivate and pass on to others who need it. Doing this teacher training saved me in a very difficult year where one of my parents was very ill, it helped me deal with some deep fears and an emotional roller coaster, it helped me to connect with people around me rather than retreating and feeling lost. So even though there are several heroes in my life, Heather is one who appeared most recently and brought me into a next level of my life, and it is thanks to her subtle, energy and teaching that I can see, speak, hear, feel and give more clearly today.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Three things I appreciate most in my friends is
1) their loyalty
2) their willingness to forgive without too much drama
3) the affection and appreciation they express towards me in different ways.

Growing up in different countries, with diverse kinds of friends who also travel a lot, its become clear to me that what I value is very little about what they can do, who they know, or what parties they can take me to – and so much more about being able to connect into the heart of others. I love to give love, and I love to feel it reciprocated. Those three ways are, I believe, what best defines the love of friendship.

Since when do you practice Yoga?

I have been practicing since 2004.

What’s your favorite Yoga pose?

Although it really requires that I be very tuned into my practice, Hanumanasana is my favorite pose. I love the story of loyalty, dedication and total giving behind this pose. When I am in Hanumanasana I feel so connected, so open, and so much joy. My second favorite pose is Eka Padakuninjasana because it makes me feel so strong, and feels good for my intestines.
Baby grasshopper pose and Fallen Angel are poses that I recently discovered and love because they’re so fun, surprising and make me feel capable of anything.

Why did you come to yoga?

My first Class was at college (Sarah Lawrence), with an old man as my teacher. He mostly taught us Pranayama – especially Sama Vritti and Nadi Shodana – and meditation. I had no clue what it was at the time but it helped me evolve past my first break up with my first boyfriend, and I came out on the other side with clarity and breath. Although it was a short lived experience, it was so transformative. In 2006, I found yoga again, and this time I immersed myself in a 3 week Vinyasa intensive at the Park Slope Yoga School in Brooklyn NY. My chronic back pain subsided, my posture improved drastically and was propelled into my journey as a yogi. I felt opened up and plugged in to the world around me, as well as myself. Maybe by chance, maybe because I was much more tuned in and aligned, three months after this intensive, I met the man who would become my husband 5 years later.

Where do you teach ? Since when ? Which yoga style ?

I have been teaching in Antwerp, and the region around it, since February 2015. I teach a both a gentle basic and an advanced flow Vinyasa practice. I like to focus on the anatomy (including organs and glands), breath and flow when I teach. The studios where I teach include:
Radiant Light Yoga http://www.radiantlightyoga.be/
Yoga Zuid http://www.yogazuid.be/WELKOM.html
Yoga Pili http://www.yogapili.be/
WeCare http://wecare-boechout.be/
Mind In Motion: http://www.yoga-mindinmotion.be/

Do you have a funny story to tell about your yoga experience?

The first time I ever did yoga was as a joke with my one of my oldest girlfriends, we were 17, and we couldn’t stop giggling (especially during OHM’s). This must have been annoying to the class but we had a great time (although I would not try it again until 2 years later at college).

What is the best outdoor place to do yoga?

Recently I taught a yoga class to fellow wedding guests in Bretagne, France. It was incredible because the weather there is so powerful thanks to the Ocean being so close by. It was amazing to see the colds billowing by overhead, smell the ocean and watch the swallows flit by.

In Belgium there are also many beautiful parks, gardens and beaches. The best outdoor places to do Yoga in Antwerp would be :

Park Spoor Noord: https://www.facebook.com/Yogainhetpark
Harmonie Park with Yoga Zuid: https://www.facebook.com/Yoga.Zuid.Antwerpen
Coffee Labs Rooftop with Yoga Factory: https://www.facebook.com/yogafactoryantwerp
Middelheim Park with International Yoga Day: https://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Day-of-Yoga-Antwerp/529147887223638

Website: jasonlouisegraham.com
Twitter: @jasonlouiseny

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15 September 2015

PORTRAIT: Jason-Louise Graham, Belgian American yoga teacher in Antwerp

Who are your favorite heroes in real life? Heather Lilleston is a yoga teacher in NYC who gave me the confidence, after 10 years of practice, […]