Q. When did you first start practicing yoga and why?
A. I began a physical Yoga Asana practice in 1994, first through my friend James Nicholson’s encouragement, when he started teaching Power Yoga in a studio on Beatty Street in Vancouver he was renting. There were very few studios in those days!! I knew I would initially benefit from the stretching, then voila...so much more goodness came too. Prior to that my Yoga knowledge began with my mother when i was very young, she’s always been a practicing Buddhist and we always had a meditation altar in our house. I always felt an inner curiosity to yogic philosophies as far back as i can remember, thanks to my Mom's encouragement.
Q. What were you doing prior to practicing yoga for a physical fitness & connection?
A. I loved running, & taking dance classes. Prior to that I was a gym rat, light weight training & aerobic & step classes, Fun!...Old skool Style!! I have always been an avid swimmer & Pilates student too!
Q .What would you say have been the top changes from teaching yoga in 1994 to 2014?
A. Of course now we see yoga studios & people with yoga mats strapped to their backs everywhere. I think its become a more competitive business, not only do yoga studios have to stay on their toes to stay viable & smartly branded, but so do full-time teachers. When i started doing yoga in the 90’s, it was mainly a more mature age group clientele, attending, now its everyone, especially people in their 20’s & hipsters. When I was just out of high school & in my early 20’s, going to the gym was the popular physical activity….Yoga is the new gym scene!
Q. We love your style of teaching ~ Who has been your biggest influence in your practice and why?
A. For me I love learning all aspects of yoga & all different lineages & have taken numerous teacher trainings & workshops ( I am a yoga nerd :-) I’ve studied with many gifted international teachers, this has been such a rich eye-opener to give me many perspectives & angles personally, which has helped me to develop offering classes I feel are unique, soulful & explorative. Vijnana Yoga is my true heart's discipline, when I began practicing with Gioia Irwin in 2002, a more personal spiritual connection blossomed in me. When I practice Vijnana yoga I feel I move from the inside & out so joyfully.
Q. What would you say is your coolest yoga gig to date?
A. I have to say, Teaching some big stars, that are very cool people! And…..on a deeper, more heartfelt level, teaching to people with special needs through a wonderful community driven organization, Yoga Outreach.
Q. We are eager to find out who has been in your classroom and how those students found you?
I’ve been teaching for 16 years almost, i am so blessed to meet wonderful people all the time. Lots of regular students have been practicing loyally with me for years, this is a huge gift for us both, we’ve shared & learned so much from each other on our mats, growing together through life’s up’s & down’s. I think the student/teacher find each other as like minded spirits naturally & when the timing is right! The best way I think people find my classes, are through good old word of mouth!
Q. What’ s your favourite Quote or Motto?
A. I’ve loved many mottos at different times of my life, appropriate to what’s going on at the time. My New Fave is ~ Be the place where Love flows through, because it’s good for others, and it’s good for you ~ Erich Schiffman
Q. What is your favourite Bicycle by Downtown Betty piece & why?
A. For years it’s been the Dhoti Pant. I think i’m most known for wearing them a lot, it’s my uniform I guess you could say. They are comfortable, stylish, modern & different! I can leave teaching, put on boots & a sweater, then get on my with the rest of my day still feeling like a fashionista.
Q. What do you love most about Downtown Betty?
A. Katie is a supportive, great friend to me. Her creative design ideas, her personal style, & community awareness are infectious and inspiring to be around.
Q. Last but not least, word is that your new DVD was recently released!?
A. Yes! It’s true!!!! It’s been a long time coming!!! It is just now for sale. It took a year from inception to release. I feel it’s been a learning labour of love. It’s a little personal about me, and a lot about this beautiful part of the west coast that we are blessed to live in. I wanted it to also have a poetic vibe…Our relationship to the environment & nature around us and how it inspires our yoga. And, the best part is, I’m decked out in all my Downtown Betty faves!! It’s called, Asana ~ Our Landscape. A Hatha Core Yoga Practice with Janet Willemina Wallden www.janetsyogalink.com It's in a few stores around Vancouver already & soon to be available on Downtown Betty's website too.
In Light, Janet !!
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