Lynne Jacobs ~ My Journey on the Path
I walked into my first yoga class in 1999 feeling depleted, depressed and hoping for relief from chronic back pain. It had been 5 years since I graduated college and the hours at my desk job, at a not so fulfilling career, left my body aching and my heart longing for something more. This was back before yoga was “the thing” and I was lucky to find a small studio in the back of an old historic building downtown. Nothing fancy, there weren’t any windows, no music and no modern zen decor, but circa 1980 wall paper still on the walls. What I did experience was a very kind instructor with an intention to help me and the others feel better with this practice of yoga, a practice I knew nothing about until this first class. Not only did my back feel better after only a few classes, but there was a felt sense of coming home to respecting my whole being. This rekindled awareness had me listening to my body's needs and making better choices for myself out of deep respect for my life. Limiting beliefs, self doubt and the voice of criticism, no longer had such a grip on me. This spark of amazing that I experienced after my first class would lead me to leave my “safe” career and spend the next 20 years diving deep into a personal practice, study and teaching of classical yoga, yoga therapy, mindful meditation, somatic practices, functional anatomy, Ayurvedic principles, and trauma healing.
A crucial junction on my path would forever change how I approached my own yoga practice and how I would approach teaching my students. Ten years ago, at the age of 41, my husband and I were blessed with conceiving our first child. Even though I did all the “right” things during my pregnancy…. sometimes things fall apart. My daughter was suddenly arriving pre mature and breech. A once planned 100% natural birth at home was now an unexpected, chaotic and traumatic unplanned cesarean birth. What would follow would be a near death experience for my daughter and several heartbreaking weeks with her in the neo-intensive care unit. For me, my soul had been fractured and in pieces and I sank into a disorienting post partum depression.
When I returned to my mat after this experience, the practice I once had wasn’t nourishing or healing for me like it had been in the past. I needed a different approach to put the pieces back together again, physically and emotionally. I listened deeply within and discovered I needed a much slower and more nourishing practice that was deeply infused with awareness to reorient back to my center, to get grounded again and feel safe to opening up to healing. Aided by the resources I had cultivated along my path and doing further study in somatics and trauma healing, I shifted my focus toward slower, gentler yoga and embodied somatic practices that were deeply infused with awareness. Along with this, I combined conscious diaphragmatic breath work and somatic meditations to help regulate my nervous system. This new integrative approach opened up a much deeper level of healing for me physically and emotionally than I had ever experienced in the past. I found there was freedom, stability, and healing on the other side of physical pain, grief, disorientation and struggle.
Integrative Somatic Yoga (ISY) is born out of my own personal transformation and life's work of over two decades of study in mind/body practices and helping hundreds of students as a yoga therapist. ISY is a unique, nourishing, and accessible method of self care for all students. The essence of my work is informed by my core value of having a deep respect for all of life. In all that I do I aim for awareness, listening, leading with compassion, aiming for truthfulness in all its depth and knowing that we are all sacred beings. Along my path, I have trained to be an experienced yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500), a certified yoga therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT), a somatic educator, and a mindfulness meditation teacher. In my over two decades of teaching, I have worked with all ages and levels of ability through group classes, private sessions, workshops, teacher trainings, and international and domestic retreats.
Students often tell me that it isn’t just the actual ISY practice that is beneficial for them, but also that I provide a supportive and safe atmosphere free of judgment and competition where they feel safe to do the deep inner work. I will meet you where you are on the path and provide you with a safe and sustainable authentic practice that is right for you and allows you to tap into your inner strength, your ease, and your wise inner teacher.
My dharma moving forward is to share this unique integrative approach of ISY with students and to support yoga teachers, yoga therapists and therapists with this transformative practice through my teacher trainings so they are empowered with these tools to better help their clients. I invite you to join me, together, may this practice and collective endeavor create a kinder, more compassionate, unified and healthy world.
Wishing you well on your journey!