Featuring Shivani Jey from Australia

Friday, 28 August 2020

Written by Shivani Jey
Edited by Justine of Just Yoga

Hello I'm Shivani, from Sydney Australia and now based in the South of France. When I talk about my experience with yoga, I like to use the word journey as I find the practice of yoga to be a journey, an ever evolving journey. This journey started from seeing my maternal grandmother meditate in the early mornings. I became intrigued that she could sit on the wooden floor, silent and look ever so calm. Like a light feather floating in the air.

In my first year of university I walked past a studio and decided to try out a class, which happened to be a Hatha yoga class. This first class, gave me a taste for the practice and intrigue to continue. It has been some years now that I have been practicing and about six years ago I decided to take an even deeper step and do my teacher training.
My practice of yoga over the years has allowed me to learn more about myself, to delve into this inner essence. It's helped me uncover layers that hid my confidence and provided me with ways to speak my truth. This didn't happen overnight but was rather a slow journey, and is still a continual journey.
I have an almost daily sadhana which includes meditation and pranayama in the morning. My physical practice at the moment is just after meditation. In winter, I tend to do my physical practice just before to warm up to energise my body. I am forever grateful that my lifestyle now allows me the time in the morning to have these practices and realise that for many this isn't the case. 

My meditation and physical practice changes often as do the poses I gravitate towards. Currently, some of my favourite asanas are Natarajasana (dancer's pose) and Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose). I try as much as possible to bring in poses that involve flexion of the spine as these are the poses I struggle with. One of the practices that has helped is Yin Yoga, a practice that involves holding the poses in a seated, prone or supine state, for a few minutes. This physically gives the body time to slowly release.
Yoga is a journey, a journey that anyone and everyone can practice. It's something I recommend for all.
It's been a year now that I've been in France and I've found my practice has helped so much with this transition, providing grounding and calm. Everyone can agree that this year has been a very different year to say the least. Here in France, we were in lockdown for around six weeks. The first two weeks were a struggle. Everything changed so suddenly that I forgot I had within me the means to find calm. My morning meditation practices were filled with anxiety. The third week I decided to try something a little different and practiced a meditation called RAIN. It's a meditation practice that addresses feelings like anxiety and insecurity through recognising what is arising and with kindness asking ourselves can we be with that. A shift occurred where I started to appreciate the time I'd been given. 

There have been many who have inspired my journey including family and friends and books such as 'Quiet, the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking' by Susan Cain. Naturally I'm a quiet and shy person and I never imagined teaching one day. This book showed me that like yin and yang, the world needs introverts as much as extroverts. I grew up and went to a school that didn't appreciate the quiet. Teachers would say hopefully one day you will come out of your shell. I thought there was something wrong with me and this was the start of my lack of confidence. 

In her book Susan wrote “Or at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell”—that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same.” 
The practice of yoga has given me an appreciation and acceptance that I'm quiet naturally and especially when teaching there is power in silence and there is sometimes more that can be experienced once we go beyond the words.
What yoga looks like will be different for everyone. There is so much to be experienced when we go beyond the asana. Over the years I've heard so many stories about what the practice has provided for many - A way to connect; to deepen our relationship with ourselves and others around us; to learn acceptance and that the journey isn't always straight and forward. Sometimes we need to move sideways or backwards. It broadens our horizons and it broadens our perception. One of the things it's shown me as well is that our greatest teacher is within us even in those moments we forget.


I currently have online and in person classes, workshops and retreats. If you would like to start your own journey by taking a path into mine, you can find me on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks to the time I had during COVID I now also have a Website.

I would like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Anaîs Nin, 'And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom'

With deep gratitude, ॐ 
Shivani Jey

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