Living Yoga & Health

Jacqueline Gilbey: In-Depth

Discovering Yoga

I can remember looking at pictures of people in extreme yoga poses, like BKS Inyengar, and wondering what it was all about. Is this an exercise? An unique gift? Something esoteric and unattainable? And what was it that made it spiritual? Years later, I was doing a lot of meditation practice and I needed to find a way to sit more comfortably for longer periods of time. I think I bought the Sivananda Companion to Yoga. After studying the techniques I still did not understand how bending myself into an impossible posture was going to help my hips become more flexible. And although the idea of standing on my head seemed interesting, I wasn’t convinced it was the answer to my tight hamstrings. Eventually in 1996 I found my way to Living Yoga & Health. I had returned from a long trip to India in a mess, both physically and emotionally, and needed a way to build strength and confidence in myself. I found out that there are many approaches to yoga and the way that Jayelle Lindsay guided us into the poses through playful movements suited my need for a gentle recovery.

Becoming a Yoga Teacher

Living Yoga & Health opened in the fall of 1995 and was the first Yoga studio in Guelph.

After attending classes with Jayelle for a few years I realized that I was coming to the studio a couple of times a week as well as taking workshops on weekends when I could. The practice was making an impact on me. Where meditation had helped me work with my mind, yoga helped me to come into a new relationship with my body. I wanted more! The idea of taking a yoga teacher training program appealed to me, but the thought of teaching terrified me. I remember going for tea with Jayelle and telling her about my tentative plan. Her encouragement is what eventually had me sign up for my first training at Sheridan College. That was in 2000 and after graduating in 2002, I started teaching. I later did another teacher training course with Hart Lazer from Montreal. Where my first training was organic, artful, and feminine in style, this second training was more about alignment, strength and stamina. It appealed to my masculine side! My intention when I teach is to offer a balance between these approaches: feminine/masculine, artful/technical, easeful/challenging.

The Beauty of Teaching Yoga

I believe yoga is about finding freedom in the body, heart, and mind. I love helping students to find this freedom. It makes me happy to witness a softening and letting go because of the practice.

Poses that bring enjoyment and challenges

My favourite and least favourite poses change all the time depending on my mood and the conditions of my life. They are good lessons in impermanence. At writing, because of spring time, I am enjoying going upside down: handstand, forearm balance. I’m not favouring holding anything for too long. I’m wanting vinyasa, movement!


My favourite quote that I am working with right now is: “If it’s in the way, it is the way.”

I derive inspiration and joy from my husband Ken, my friends and family, books, food,fabric, wool, and the natural world. These days I am out looking for signs of life in my garden.