Portsmouth Center for Yoga and the Arts GENTLE YOGA
What students say about PCYA:

For years, I have suffered from pain and stiffness in my sacro-iliac joint. And for years I have done yoga. While other aches and pains have been soothed, this one has been persistent. The bliss of relaxation (shivasana) pose is always followed by tension as I prepare to roll over on my hip to sit up. This action has always caused great pain in my hip area. Today, I experienced a breakthrough in Jeanne's class. She started the class with a reading from Limitless. The last lines of the poem encouraged us to release tension and really feel. Later in the class, we were doing a spinal twist which involved pressure on this problematic area. Jeanne guided us to loosen the tension in our hips and create a big soft, pillow. Doing so relieved the pain in my hip, and I relaxed into the posture. So later, in shivasana, I remembered Jeanne's words, and as I prepared to roll over to sitting, I made my hip a big soft, pillow. For the first time ever, I moved from relaxation to sitting without pain. Jeanne closed with the reading she had begun with, confirming the importance of releasing tension in order to really feel. The elements of the class; the reading, the guidance and the gentle reminders wove together to transform my experience of chronic pain into release. Thank you Jeanne.

Instructor Jeanne Russell offers a weekly potpurri of Hatha Yoga asanas in a soothing, meditative atmosphere which serves to heighten awareness while resting, warming and strengthening the body. Practitioners are encouraged to sample the poses, " taking what you want, leaving the rest behind ". This philosophy nutures confidence allowing ones "practice" to "make progress". Sharpening the forms I learn from Jeanne's series through the focus and concentration she actively promotes have lead to enhanced fluidity and flexibility of my body. The opening that occurs after repeated practice permiates existence, freeing compassion, releasing the nobility of spirit we all possess.

I have taken yoga classes for 35 years all over the United States and have found Jeanne Russell to be an exceptional teacher. She combines a strong base of knowledge and technical expertise with a wonderful sense of humor and caring attitude. Students always feel safe in her class as she goes out of her way to provide multiple options for people with a variety of needs and issues from a occasional short tern sports injury to an ongoing problem. I have take Yoga classes from Jeanne for 17 years and find her upbeat personality and calm demeanor help to provide a positive and relaxing experience.

I have valued enormously through many years of attending Yoga classes at PCYA.
Although I had had extended 'gaps' in my practice, I always return. The benefits of focus, fitness, balance and a general sense of being centered is in stark contrast to how I feel when I lapse my practice. The Kripalu and Chakra methods are gentle, yet deep approaches that support and encourage the respect for individual needs. The approach is mindful in developing focus and is pervasively appreciative, making it a spiritual experience. For me, it is hugely preferred to the high impact, competitive, hurried Yoga approaches.
Beyond the method, the Yoga classes are so successful as a result of Jeanne Russell. Of course her 20 years of experience and dedication to continuing training supports the highest level of competence and professionalism. She is a gifted teacher and wonderful soul. She invites, supports, models, gives permission, respects and inspires us. Jeanne does it all in a playful manner that connects with the child in us all. I am certain that is why she works so well with all ages...toddlers to seniors, and all of us in between. I have begun to bring my 18 year old daughter with me, to her and my delight. More that that, she is generous, committed and genuinely cares about her students. Jeanne creates a community by involving talented artists and practioners at the center. It is a testimony to her generous spirit, offering our community a Jewel through this center.

Why do I practice Yoga? To be flexible in body, mind and spirit, to nuture my health and well-being, to breathe, to explore, to enjoy, to learn, to let go, to awaken, to be. In each of these ways Jeanne supports my growth and exploration in ways that are gentle, encouraging, and enlightenling. Her wise teaching and loving spirit allows a person to discover yoga and to experience the precious union and awakening of body, breath, mind, and spirit that is truly the essence of yoga.

Is Yoga helping me? YES!
1. It make me more AWARE of my breathing and posture. I keep both of my feet on the ground and no longer cross my legs and try to sit/stand tall

2. I have more APPRECIATION for how my body works and what it can do.

3. I use new OPPORTUNITIES to practice what you teach: balancing on one foot when I brush my teeth, moving my feet, fingers, hands while watching TV or a passenger in the car etc. I think my balance is better.

4. I believe in PREVENTION and love the idea of preventing falls. I like the different props you use; each class is a little different.

5. I like the philosophy of " no pain, no pain". You have a wonderful teaching style that is instructional, encouraging, supportive and fun. I look forward to both my yoga classes and believe they are good for me emotionally, mentally and physically.