Introducing an Instructor: Janci Butler

Welcome to our ongoing series, “Introducing an Instructor.” From time to time, our instructors write about their work here in The Studio and discuss ways in which these programs can help participants manage their fibromyalgia symptoms. Today’s guest writer: Janci Butler.

Janci ButlerWhy do I teach at The Studio at The Frida Center? That’s easy. This population needs smaller groups, a nurturing environment, and personal attention – the big gyms don’t work for individuals living with chronic pain. Intimate, focused studios like this one allow instructors to meet participants where they are and to be aware of individual needs. We aren’t searching for the ideal, we aren’t setting goals, we aren’t striving for some unattainable “perfection”: we’re getting to know our bodies.

It’s difficult for many people living with fibromyalgia to trust their bodies – which isn’t surprising, as the body no longer works the way it should. That’s why yoga practice can be so useful in fibromyalgia management. Yoga is a process of learning to trust your body in all its places and all its movements, to recognize that the body is still there and still reliable, but in different ways from before.

In the West, we don’t always remember that yoga is about sustained attention, mindfulness, and presence: it has nothing to do with sticking your leg behind your head! Instead, it’s about developing a new awareness of the relationship between body and mind. That means that any part of your day can be yogic – it’s not just for when you’re in The Studio or on a mat. What you learn in a yoga class can be translated into everyday life.

When I first came to yoga, I approached it as a job – but then I fell in love with it. Now it’s something that I must do. It informs my life at every level; it’s always challenging and always interesting. I hope that you will benefit from yoga as much as I have.

Here at The Studio at The Frida Center, I teach two different yoga programs. The first, “Know Your Body, Love Your Body”, meets every Thursday at 12:30PM. Each month we focus on a different body part; in March, we’ll explore the psoas major muscle. On Mondays from March 5, I’ll offer a six-week course called “Caring Yoga”, which also meets at 12:30PM. This course will approach yoga more broadly, but will still be a gentle practice. Both programs were developed specifically for fibromyalgia, and both can be done entirely while seated in a chair if participants are not comfortable on the floor. I hope you join us!

Janci Butler is a yoga instructor based in Portland. She offers two yoga programs at The Studio at The Frida Center: an ongoing class, “Know Your Body, Love Your Body”, that meets every Thursday, and a six-week course, “Caring Yoga”, that meets Mondays beginning March 5. For more information, please contact Janci at jbutler@fridacenter.com or The Studio at studio@fridacenter.com.

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