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Joni's Biography

Photo of Joni Yecalsik Joni Yecalsik has been in the field of Wellness and practicing and teaching yoga for over three decades. She has relocated back to the east coast from Redmond (Seattle), Washington where she ran a popular and expanding yoga program, including Yoga Teacher Training, through the Redmond Parks Dept, also taught in Bothell and had a private practice of body work and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Locally, in Washington, she also taught at Evergreen Hospital and at Yoga Centers. Based in Manhattan for over 20 years, Joni taught classes and Teacher Trainings at the top NYC yoga studios, including four years at Jivamukti Yoga Center, where she served as a bridge between the Iyengar and other styles of hatha yoga, and gleaned a broad exposure to many aspects and branches of yoga. In NYC she also taught yoga at Crunch, Equinox, YogaZone and Urban Yoga, and served as Teacher Training Consultant.  She conducted many Yoga Teacher Trainings in Manhattan, nationally and internationally. She has healed her own injuries, is a leading authority on yoga, and loves passing on the practical shortcuts and efficient techniques of her field(s). Joni is also a graduate of the 2002 class of the Eastside Leadership Institute, and has a Marketing-Prosperity company.

Joni began practicing and teaching yoga when, at age 13, while considering topics for a school report, yoga chose her. Researching through reading, attending yoga classes, and experience, she began and continued a personal practice. With the yoga and genuine Consciousness Raising of the early 70s Women's Movement, her personal and spiritual journey began.  She endured many hardships and learned through many struggles about balancing all aspects of Living for greater happiness.  From the science of yoga to nutrition, to living our Life Purpose, Joni trains others with shortcuts about how to form a great Spiritual and practical toolbox.  She shares how to tap into ones Inner Guidance for the best possible mentoring.

She attended Rutgers University, passionate about Political Science and especially Women's Studies. Joni has had the unique privilege of having several precious apprenticeships: in the 70s with her main massage teacher and mentor, Gael Parks; with Master Shiatsu teacher Wataru Ohashi; and most recently, a 7- year intensive apprenticeship with Indian Yoga Master Aadil Palkhivala.

Photo of Joni YecalsikInspired by her favorite Alvin Ailey dance teacher, Mother Thelma Hill, enrollment in the Dance Dept of New York City College brought her to return to University life. She spent several intermittent years as the company masseuse to the Joffrey Ballet in LA, NY and on tour. In between, she performed, choreographed, and taught authentic American Jazz Dance from Lower Manhattan to Queens to the South Bronx, bicycling everywhere since the transit strike of 1980. She brought this American art form to Italy (1983-6), where, she also performed, taught yoga and aerobics, learned Italian, skiing, snorkeling, diving for sea urchins, how to appreciate really fresh food, and to let go of some stressful American ways.  To learn from one her best friends and teachers, take a vacation in Tuscany.  She was rated one of the best massage therapists in the country by Self Magazine and Allure Magazine.  She has been massage therapist to the stars as well as to the dancers of Madonna's Girlie Tour at Madison Square Garden, to all the swing dancers and stars on the set of Spike Lee's Malcolm X, and to the stars of Forever Tango in Seattle, and to elite athletes, Cyclists and Marathoners, as well as the world's best performers from the worlds of Yoga, Broadway, Ballet, Argentine Tango, Swing Dance and Mambo.

After accumulating numerous injuries, she left the theatrical dance world, and was introduced to the precise Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga, which therapeutically addressed her injuries. Not able to leave dancing behind completely, she eventually took up social dancing with east coast swing, salsa, and at last, the Argentine Tango, traveling to B.A. in 95 with Rebecca Shulman and Daniel Trenner. She has taught yoga for dancers at his annual Colorado Dance Camp.

Along with the accurate physical precision of the Iyengar Yoga approach, Joni went through and became a mentor and program leader of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. She also discovered the teachings of Eckankar, which enriched and made sense of the spiritual aspects of her evolution, and helped her understand her rich dream life.  All of these influences, along with her inevitable study of nutrition and Sunrider herbs, promoted an integration of healing and evolvement on many levels.

In the mid-90s she began to apprentice with longtime student of BKS Iyengar, the brilliant and insightful Aadil Palkhivala. Eventually relocating from her beloved East Village (the easiest place to get healthy eats) in Manhattan, Joni traded in her motorcycle for a car, and continued her advanced yoga studies with Aadil at Yoga Centers in Bellevue, Washington.  She continues her advanced studies of Iyengar Yoga with its senior most teachers.  She attended the Iyengar Conventions in Estes Park 2005 when then 87-year old Mr. Iyengar was teaching and on his book tour.  She just returned from Las Vegas (May 2007) and had the unique privilege of working with directly with daughter Geeta Iyengar, and has returned inspired and motivated.

While in the Seattle area, she seized the opportunity to study with today's leaders in Childbirth Education, pursuing a lifelong passion to attend births, and became a Childbirth Educator and Doula and is a member of PALS. She has studied the teachings of Michel Odent, studied with midwife Debra O'Conner, author Penny Simkin, and courses at the Seattle Midwifery School.

Also in Seattle, she became involved with the Rhythm and Drumming Communities there (see drumming page), studied with Arthur Hull and menteed with Seattle's best Drum Circle Facilitators.  She founded the Hoboken Drum Circle in 2004, which will soon be going into its fourth year.  When we free our selves to merge with our Self, when we free our Spirits through creative involvement, magic happens!  (Healing, too...)

This year (2007), Joni is studying with Peak Potentials (ask!), and preparing for her Junior 1 Iyengar Yoga Certification Assessment.  She is ready to offer her expertise (see trainings, workshops and classes), awesome teaching, coaching, and guidance for achieving prosperity and ulitmate health.  In celebration of her 50th year on the planet this Lifetime, she will perform (at least!) 50 backbends and have several celebratory events during the month of June, including the upcoming outdoor Hoboken Drum Circle (June 2).  This year she plans to resume her newsletters (yoga, healing, nutrition, wellness) and begin a blog.

Remember, You are loved.  You are a divine being - all parts of you.  Anything and everything can be healed.

Living consciously, we are constantly rebirthing ourselves. With all happening in the world today, the significance of non-violent beginnings becomes even more important. Violence is the result of ignorance. Ignorance begets fear. Each moment is a new beginning, each day, even each breath, a re-birth, a chance to remember we are each a spark of the Divine.

My mission is to empower and inspire you to Trust your Inner Wisdom, to find the way home to your Self; to discover and fully express your Life Purpose so you can live in Abundance with Joy, Fulfillment, Generosity, and great Spiritual Adventures.

 

With knowledge of your


  True
              Infinite
                              Divine
                                            Identity....
                                                                ???!!!??!  ...ahhh, you tell me :)

Enjoy your Journey. May the blessings be.

 
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