Guest blogger, Jeani Mackenzie, was one of the first yoga instructors to open a yoga school in the Quad Cities. Jeani has been practicing yoga for over 40 years and founded the Davenport School of Yoga 21 years ago. Starting with just one student, her school now employs 10 teachers and serves more than 200 yoga students a week.
Yoga is Why I Move
By Jeani Mackenzie, 67, Founder, Davenport School of Yoga
My journey with yoga began in 1974. I was living in the southwest corner of Western Australia. My husband was a Palmer graduate and was incorporating yoga to help his patients help themselves. One day he was unable to teach class and I took over. I taught my first class in a new sheep shearing shed, even before sticky mats were invented. I lived in Australia for 20 years before returning to the States.
I started teaching yoga in 1994 in fitness centers and church basements. I opened the studio on Brady Street – now located at 735 Federal Street, Davenport – in 1996. At that time there was only one other teacher in the Quad Cities.
In these past 20 years, yoga has gone mainstream as more and more people have discovered the virtues of yoga and finding peace in their stressful lifestyles. When you come to yoga class, you have an hour’s vacation from your life. You think about your body, your breath, and there’s no room for outside thoughts. You leave your worries at the door. My goal is that students leave class with a different perspective.
People think they can’t do yoga. They see difficult poses and think they could never do that. Maybe not! But we can all do something. No matter where you begin, everyone can do yoga. We become stronger, more flexible, more accepting of who we are. I have 80- and 90-year-old students who don’t do headstands anymore but what an inspiration to me!
My mission, my goal is to help people understand how to stand better, to think better, to feel better and to live their life with ease. The younger generation wants to sweat, but yoga is more than about the kind of workout you get. Most of my students are between the ages of 35 and 70. It is not just physical. It is about living easier.
There’s room for all of us. All of my students are an inspiration to me and there are some incredible testimonials! We all have our challenges. Through these past 40 years, my students have taught me more than I have taught them.
We all need a break from the chaos that our lives have become. There is so much dis-ease in our world and many health issues are related. Yoga can help relieve that stress!