Featuring Caronne Jones from South Africa

Saturday, 8 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga



Thirty-three year old Caronne Jones's first encounter with yoga and its principles was probably from one of the most unlikely places anyone could imagine. Having to wait for her mother to finish work, Caronne would spend her afternoon's, after school, at her catholic primary school's library, pouring over books and sapping up any knowledge she could. Always with an enquiring mind, Caronne started reading books on various cultures and religions. It wasn't long before she discovered books on yoga. This changed her world view completely.  Now an Information Systems analyst, Caronne is a very pragmatic person, and even as a child she sought evidence to prove any new theory she came across. Upon reading about pranayama, she started practicing it. As time passed, she would observe a calmness in her mind and body.
"Practicing the pranayama techniques felt like a neat trick. I would close my eyes and be present while taking meaningful breathes. This simple lesson has stayed with me as I have grown my yoga practise."
Throughout her childhood Caronne would practice the pranayama techniques. At the time she had not started doing asana practice as she found them slightly intimidating and not easy to follow in book format.  In her high school years, she suffered from generalized anxiety disorder. The pranayama techniques, were definitely a much needed addition to her daily routine, to cope with what she was experiencing. It was only when she started university that her interest in asanas started. But with the pressures of excelling at university, Caronne had to choose between extracurricular activities like yoga or studying for tests and completing assignments.


When Caronne started working, it wasn't long before she started feeling burnt out. Caronne had always been an over-achiever and put a tremendous amount of pressure on herself to excel. She realised that if she did not make some changes to her lifestyle, she would end up making herself sick. So she took a short sabbatical and enrolled for 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course at the Wellness Connection in Hout Bay, Cape Town.  Since her training, Caronne has specialised in teaching yoga to athletes. She enjoys using yoga as a tool to "ground" and aid with recovery and relaxation for professional athletes and their coaches. Her study of anatomy in her YTT comes in very useful when she has to deal with any of her own injuries as well.
"Having a better understanding of my asana practise and living a modern yogic lifestyle has been ever changing positive influence in my life. I'm so grateful for all the teachers I have had the pleasure to share space with."
Caronne enjoys back bending and hip opener asanas the most as she feels like she carries a lot of tension in her chest and hip area. She believes it is from years of dealing with anxiety and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She mostly has good days and is slowly moving through variations of salutations focusing on the back bending parts to help ease tension from her body and mind. Caronne usually pairs her daily salutations with a mantra manifesting her beliefs. Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose) and hand balances have also started to become favourite asana to theme my practise around.


"I know that chanting my daily mantras helps feed my soul with good intentions."
Caronne finds that each day of asanas practice is different in its own way. Just because she has an asana in mind; knows how to teach it and understands what is required to move her body into these particular positions; doesn't mean that is what your body needs. On some days it can be quite challenging when the mind wants something that the body does not. She has recently given a break to adho mukha vrkasana (hand stand) especially during lockdown and started playing with pincha mayurasana and variations.  

Aparigraha, the yogic principle of non-attachment, has by far been the most profound principle of a yogic life that Caronne tries her best at practising. Yogic philosophies and dharma talks are a part of her life and she enjoys the study and practising thereof. She wishes there were more yoga schools of this nature in the north of Cape Town.

 

With the harsh restrictions on movement in South Africa during lockdown, Caronne's self practise has definitely increased. She has always practised daily over the last three years, so with all the time alone during lockdown, she has been practising somewhat more than usual. she is always mindful of not over doing it and allowing herself the time to relax and recuperate her body. Some days her self practise is purely pranayama, sometimes asana. She has been enjoying following Bhakti and Kundalini yoga on YouTube and Zoom.

Yogi Caronne Jones's final message, for fellow yoga teachers, is to use your karma yoga wisely. Find a cause close to your heart and give back to your community. Recently there has been an increase in schools introducing yoga to the learners. Caronne urges yoga teachers to use their yoga karma this way. Find the nearest school and check if they have a program or are interested in starting one.

For potential yogis, her final message is that there is something for everyone within the yoga space; an enquiring open mind is all one needs and you never know what you will find unless you take the time to explore yourself.

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