In 2009–seven years after her cancer diagnosis and moments after yet another potentially embarrassing wardrobe malfunction during class–Jo ditched her breast form at the yoga studio, acknowledging that she had found her second home. She’s used yoga to nurture herself as both a survivor and caregiver, discovering that the practice is indeed for every body. Jo was inspired to share the fruits of this practice with others in 2014, when she began her 200-hour teacher training. She’s done additional study in Teaching to Beginners and Prenatal Yoga, and she’s Yoga 4 Cancer, yin yoga and Level II Reiki certified. She’s currently working toward a 300-hour advanced certification in therapeutic essentials. Jo strives to offer accessible, soulful, slow-flow classes that encourage students to discover their authentic selves. She enjoys teaching outdoors, and bringing her decades of experience in aromatherapy into her classes.
We asked: What experience brought you to yoga?
I started practicing yoga on a regular basis in 2009. I enjoyed not just the physical part of the practice, but the break it gave my mind and the boost it brought to my self-confidence.
We asked: What style(s) of yoga do you teach? Practice?
I’m trained in vinyasa and yin, and I really love teaching restorative. I enjoy taking flow classes that are slow and mindful, that encourage me to discover something new.
What yoga certifications do you have?
Level II reiki
Currently pursuing a 500-hr YTT with a focus in therapeutic essentials
Additional training in
25+ years of self-study in aromatherapy
We asked: How did you discover Yoloha and what do you love about it?
Several years ago I went looking for a mat that was sustainable. So many mats are sold each year, and it seemed such a waste to just toss them when they wore out. I used my Original mat for my daily practice for years—now it serves me well on weekends away. All of Yoloha’s products are attractive and affordable, and the company is a joy to work with.
I love my Native mat. It’s padded but still light enough to tote back and forth to classes. It has held up beautifully for years and I get asked about it at least once a week: “Is that … cork?!” My students love the support they get from my customized cork blocks.
We asked: Other than yoga, what is your favorite way to take care of yourself?
Rest. This one is so hard for me, but the therapeutic focus I’ve been working with this year has truly made a difference. I sustained a neck injury in 2016 and the idea of supporting my body through rest instead of pushing it into a certain shape is a refreshing change.
We asked: What is your favorite mantra?
Currently I’m loving “Lokah samastah sukino bhavantu”—may all beings be happy and free
We asked: What is your favorite place that you have travelled and why?
My husband and I visited Okinawa and Kyoto in 2015 to visit my daughter-in-law and stepson, who is in the Air Force and was stationed there. Japan is a place we never would have visited otherwise, and we enjoyed every second of it. We were so charmed by the people there, awestruck by the beauty of the scenery, and humbled by the realization that the world has so much to offer.
We asked her to talk about an experience as a student of yoga that has changed her:
I was crushed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. I had always been active and healthy, so I couldn’t imagine what I had done wrong. That news came to me just three months after my husband’s life-changing serious burn injury, making for quite a second year of marriage. Yoga classes gave me a respite from things going on in my life, and I loved the way it made my body feel. The only real issue was that my breast form kept slipping out of my top! But I felt so strong, free and even beautiful in class that one day I finally tossed it to the side of my mat. When no one seemed to notice or care, I realized that a yoga studio was a sacred space, indeed. As difficult as my own health struggles were, it wasn’t until my husband faced some sudden, severe~~and frightening~~heart issues that my practice was elevated to another level. That was when I found true comfort on my mat, and a peace that seemed unattainable anywhere else.
We asked: What makes you laugh?
In addition to our dog, Zoey, and one-eyed cat, Oggie, we have two pet cows in Vermont. Blossom and LouLou have such funny and unique personalities—they always make me laugh.
We asked: When do you feel like you are being your true self?
Our time in Vermont speaks to my soul. I really enjoy all the time I spend there—even (maybe especially) when I am mucking the barn, pitching hay or walking fence lines in the winter.