Jan Chaney

Jan Chaney doing tree pose on a rock formation

Name & Hometown:

Janice Chaney.  I lived in Detroit MI until I was 2, and then moved to Royal Oak, MI until I graduated from Kimball High School.

Who or What inspired you to be a Yoga Instructor ? 

Karen Lutz and Pilar (an instructor at LA Fitness and YogaMedics graduate), and the gift of yoga itself !  It is meant to be shared.

Describe your style of yoga:

My yoga practice has changed throughout the years, ranging from Vinyasa’s to Restorative, and most recently Yin Yoga.  I like to change it up depending on my energy, mood & time of day.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Ha, Shavasana !  I love knowing I made it through a practice, totally letting go and disengaging from everything after a practice.  That is truly ‘My Time’ !

What brings you to the mat?

Again, this has changed with my life situations.  I originally went like everyone else who started in a gym: for exercise !  However, after a few sessions, I noticed how it helped me mentally and emotionally.  I was in a very high stress profession and I needed this more than the physical aspect.  The feeling of relief and release kept drawing me back.  Now, it continues to be for those reasons, along with relief from challenges, stiffness & pain.  

If you teach, where?

Until the end of May, 2021, I teach at the Berkley Community Center, Bloomfield Senior Center, and Birmingham’s Senior Center.  In May, my husband & I are moving up north to Higgins Lake.  I will continue to teach my private clients virtually with bi-monthly home visits.  I am looking forward to continuing my education and my own practice.  In time, I do expect that I will be back in front of a class in some way.  

Do you have a favorite yoga story from your teaching experience?

I don’t have one favorite story: there are many.  I have a client who was severely injured in an auto accident in 2012.  I started working with her 3 years ago.  At that time, she was struggling to walk with a can, had no strength, mobility or balance… and was in constant chronic pain.  She is now walking without any assistance, balancing on one leg, and her pain meds have been reduced 3 times.  She continues to be my inspiration and how to become a better teacher.

I like to add humor into my teaching when appropriate.  I think life is already way too serious with too many struggles.  Coming to the mat should be a relief and a bit playful.  I think it helps people relax further.  

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have incorporated a yoga practice in my life for over 25 years.  Yoga helped balance my personal life with my stressful & growing career.  After leaving “Corporate America” in 2012, I decided to further my yoga practice for my own benefit, and began training at YogaMedics.  I chose YogaMedics because I was following a new path in life, at a mature age.  It was important for me to find a training program that had a strong focus on alignment and a healthy approach to healing both our emotional & physical selves.  The YogaMedics training program was developed by a team of medical professionals that included doctors, psychologists and physical therapists.  After receiving my RYT-200 certification, I wanted to share my experience of yoga with others.  

I believe the ‘breath’ is critical to all yoga practices.  From my journey, I have learned that the benefits of the yoga practice gained on the mat increases flexibility, strength, balance & sense of calm, which also leave with you… and flow into your everyday life.  By practicing the conscious breath, you find that while you can’t control all of life’s events, you can control your reaction t those events.  My favorite quote is from an unknown author: “When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace”.

I believe that yoga should be fun & should be taught so everybody can participate.  Using modifications, walls, chairs, blocks & straps is ‘no different from a carpenter using a hammer and screwdriver:  there are tools to assist no matter where you are in your practice’.  Yoga can be practiced anywhere and at any stage in a person’s life.  There is not ‘end game”.  As long as we continue to be challenged, we will improve.  I have clients that come because they have COPD, others because of back pain or anxiety.  Our challenges are all different, as is our range of motion, limitations and injuries, but we all share in one thing: Hope !

I have also led a class to blind-folded yogis where all donations went to the SEVA Foundation to restore sight in poverty areas across the world.

When I am not teaching, I love to spend time with my family & friends.  I have a son and daughter, both married and living locally.  I have 4 grandchildren ranging from 5 to 16.  They continue to make me laugh & keep me young… taking me way out of my comfort zone at times.  For 6 years, I volunteered at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester and raised a Leader Dog puppy, who successfully graduated from LD University, and now lives on the East Coast with his “forever” friend.  I enjoy travel, hiking, biking, all water & winter sports.

I find my peace in yoga, and, in nature.  My perfect day is taking yoga off the mat and into the woods, mountains, on a hike or paddle board…doing Tree Pose on a fallen tree, or yoga shadow poses with a loved one.