Bethany from Bethany Jewell Yoga shares her passion for Yoga and Ayurveda, particularly those with a more feminine-based approach.“When you think you are at the end of the road or you are feeling stuck, just explore the numerous options that are out there and see what works for you. Keep looking and don’t limit yourself!”
What can you tell us about your personal journey with yoga?
My personal yoga journey came into play around 2016 after a postpartum thyroid diagnosis. I began to explore yoga, headstands and handstands to reverse the circulation to the thyroid glands. This started me on a whole new perspective of seeing and doing things differently. It all took off from here and went from something fun to being my crutch or my rock. I was able to heal in all areas after I embarked on this journey.
I joined teacher training and when I saw what an incredible impact it was having on my own life, I realized that I wanted, and needed, to share this yoga, self-healing and Ayurveda for the enrichment of other women’s lives.
What importance does yoga have for women particularly, in all phases of their lives?
It’s quite ironic as yoga was initially created for men and young boys. However, things have clearly evolved. I have been exploring more feminine-based yoga practices for the last couple of years – for fertility, for IVF, menstrual cycles, etc… I most recently came across yoga for women’s hormones.
Vinyasa is a pretty masculine or hard core yoga practice. A feminine-based yoga practice would be softer, can be adapted to where we are in our cycle or how we are feeling. It is more intuitive. This type of yoga (which I am not yet certified in) can help endocrine or reproductive issues and any hormone imbalances. Any yoga is beneficial for women but particularly the kind that offers a softer approach.
What is your definition of “healthy aging”?
Difficult to define in one sentence but for me it is aging gracefully – embracing the aging process as healthily as one can in mind and body. This contributes to how we age. I feel that society’s expectations of anti-aging are a little disrespectful to nature. We need to work with the body, embrace the natural process and go with the flow.
When and how were you first introduced to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has been in the background since my first yoga training in 2018. It is a beautiful system of ancient medicine and it does take a while to integrate and assimilate the incredibly rich information.
In 2020, while we were all feeling a little down due to the pandemic, I started to delve a little deeper into Ayurveda and it changed my life completely.
Essentially I have been very comfortable with Ayurveda in my life for the last four years or so, but it has heightened over the last year quite intensely while training.
Do you have a specific method of working or do you customize your treatments to each individual?
Ayurveda is by nature ‘individual’ because it uses the model of root cause and treats the person as an individual. It takes the person as a unique make up of elements since birth, and whatever has accumulated throughout their life. We look at everything from then until now, keeping in mind that it is forever changing.
Therefore, Ayurveda is unique and individual but there are some staple, ritual practices that are used regardless as they are incredibly supportive for the nervous and digestive systems. They keep the nervous system calm and the digestive system optimal. This is the ground work before any other healing can begin. I recommend these practices to anyone, and only then should the treatment be customized based on character, emotions etc…
How does the combination of Ayurveda and yoga transform lives and is it sustainable?
I am a huge fan of both these sister sciences being taught together. Personally, I believe this was how it was meant to be taught and lived from the ancient lineages. It is an incredible way of having a healthier and more even lifestyle because of all the practices one can do. The reason why this is sustainable is because most of the practices are very simple. Of course, you may have to change your schedule a little but ultimately, once integrated, they (particularly ayurveda) become second nature.
The simple version: They both teach you how to eat, breathe and move in a nourishing and nurturing way. This is what most people are seeking in any case, once they acknowledge this or allow themselves to live in this way. It can be very simple and then one can delve as deep as one wants. However, I definitely feel that simple lifestyle changes are more sustainable.