What is your name?
Justine Stange/ "Miss Jay" to the DAA family :)
Do you have any nicknames? Is there a story to go with that nickname?
My parents have actually been calling me Bird since the beginning. 'Jay Bird' came after that, since little can be done with my first name. And people always (ALWAYS) accidentally read my last name as 'Strange'..so I've since become 'Jay Bird the Strange', and it's stuck since.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I've been practicing yoga on and off for several years, though I've only recently found real commitment and connection the past two years.
What is your favorite pose/thing about yoga?
My favorite thing about yoga is the bottomless depth and possibilities that the practice provides. It's not about being perfect- ever. It's about being your most honest and authentic self. It's a practice that can give you everything- the physical body and mobility that comes with enrichment and health, but also an unparalleled self acceptance, love, and understanding of ourselves. Yoga isn't something that benefits you if you use it to judge, compete or compare with others; yoga benefits you when you come to a place where you can realize where you are, where you want to go, and helps to create space for exploring how to get there- in poses, and in life.
Why did you want to teach yoga at DAA?
I was fortunate to meet and teach about 20 or so DAA students back in the spring through my then job. We did some light yoga and covered various aspects of nutrition and health, things very close and important to me. The eager minds I was met with, the open desire to learn and understand more, and the gratitude they expressed for the occasion honestly changed me. Along with changing what I want from my path as a teacher, it made me want to be available to teach and help develop these kids who want so much from their world.
Why is yoga important for kids?
Yoga is as important for kids as for anyone else, if not more. Though sometimes it can take a bit of time, patience, and understanding to grasp and develop the core concepts of the practice, it is still an amazing and beautiful thing that they get to start doing now! Though they might not get it quite yet, their exposure to yoga can help shape and develop their growth and success later on. As they grow, they will have the tools, knowledge, and vitality that yoga provides them as building blocks for shaping themselves, their choices and their future.
Is there anything else you want the DAA family/community to know about you?
I would simply like to express my overwhelming gratitude for the opportunity to be involved with this program and these kids. We're at the very beginning right now, we're all learning together and already I have been surprised and inspired by where we have arrived. This practice is a journey. We all arrive on our mats at different points in our lives, for different reasons with different points of views and questions. I say that "yoga is everything and yoga is nothing" it never stops offering us chances to change, grow and better ourselves without ever asking for anything of us except for honesty, acceptance and compassion. I want to make a positive difference in my time here (at DAA, in the world, life). I am excited to continue building the program with DAA next semester, and pleased to say that I might be offering a kids class at Citizen Yoga soon as well.