By Tracey Miller
Jen Bukowski completed YogaLife Institute’s 200 hour training program and is a certified yoga instructor. She lives in Chester, NH with her husband and three kids in a 288-year-old farm house.
Jen took yoga classes on and off for many years, but she never thought about being an instructor. But when her dental hygienist told her about her experience with the training program at YogaLife Institute, it planted a seed in Jen’s mind that she wanted to grow. But, with three kids three horses and a mini donkey to take care of, she had to wait until the timing was right. Two years later when they decided to sell the horses, life opened up and she was able to commit to the 200-hour training program.
In the past, the yoga classes she attended focused more on the technical aspect of the poses, but at YogaLife, they look at the spiritual aspects of yoga. “The instructors gave me a safe space to address what is holding me back,” she said. Yoga has taught her to trust herself and explore her boundaries. “I am loving the benefits of living yoga, which go way beyond just doing poses.”
The biggest lesson Jen learned over the 12-month program was about ahimsa, which means refraining from causing distress or harm to other people or ourselves. For Jen the work was inside. “I was so mean to myself and I didn’t realize it. I was way kinder to other people than I was to myself,” she said. “I thought I had compassion for others, but how can I give what I think is true compassion to others when I don’t have it for myself?”
She said that the teacher training program gives you permission to explore the truth about yourself. and to forgive yourself. “It has helped me clear out the clutter in my life and in my head,” she said.
Breaking it down
Jen’s ongoing challenge it to identify her fears. “If I continue to operate under a blanket of fear, I will never get out from under that blanket, it is too overwhelming. But if I look at my fears one at a time I can break them down,” she said.
For example, she’ll break down her fears around creating her wellness studio like being afraid to teach because no one will come to her class, or that she might forget a pose. “If I can break my fears into manageable bits, I can find a way to say, this is the worst thing that can happen, now let it go. I’ve got this.”
A new path
Jen graduated from the 200-hour teacher training program in May and is creating a space to teach classes in her barn. The name of her studio is called “Just Be....Yoga and Wellness Center.” She will also teach classes at Chester’s American Legion Center in the fall. “I think many people are lacking a connection in their community. I want to build a safe space to help people explore themselves and find out who they are,” she said. I have healed myself, and also found the healer in me. I want to help others along the same path.”