Sometimes in life, you just need change. This change is usually brought about for one of two reasons: want or necessity. When you talk to Katya Sidelnik, you will find out that it was a combination of both that took her from life’s first passion, dancing, to her current passion, yoga. Katya is one of the lucky ones among us who has been able to take her passion and make it into her business with Inner Jasmine – Yoga & Wellness Studio.
Katya’s first passion was dancing, and she did it at many different levels from middle school all the way to a dance company spanning over 2 decades. However, as many elite dancers can attest, she sustained many injuries throughout her dancing years. None more severe than when she partially dislocated her hip. Still wanting to perform in an upcoming summer tour, she went and danced anyway. When Katya returned, she had completely misaligned and construed her body. “I was given two options: stop dancing or continue and I would need a hip replacement before I was 35 years old,” Katya explains. The options presented as suitable were swimming or yoga. “I have always said that was one of the worst, best things that ever happened to me.” She continues, “It made me find another outlet in my world that I enjoy. Not that I don’t miss dancing. It will always be my first love and my hearts passion. But I did need to find a different way of creating balance for my life, and yoga was doorway for it.”
While completing her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, Katya finished her first yoga teacher training and shortly thereafter started Inner Jasmine. While starting her new business, she focused on how she could use her educational background in existentialism and humanistic theory to help better her clients both mentally and physically. “The blending of humanistic existentialism psychology along with yoga brought me to the idea that we are all trying to figure out how to create balance in our lives. Balance within instability.” Katya continues, “for each of us, it is going to be completely different. It is a journey to discover and figure out what it is. That is what creates our authenticity in life.” This balance that she is trying to get her clients to understand physically is by putting them into positions that will challenge them while reminding them of the strength that they have within. Pushing them, but also understanding that there is no “perfect pose”. This grants her clients the ability to work hard in each session while allowing them to discover what “perfect” is for them.
The mental side of balance that Katya works to instill in her clients is to cultivate changes in their minds. She accomplishes this in several ways by teaching breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness. “Even the simple guidance of taking 30 seconds of deep breaths really gives somebody the opportunity to come into the present moment. There’s a conscience decrease in stress at that moment.” Katya continues, “when they are challenged in the physical postures and they are not happy, their heartrate starts to go up. I try to teach them how to reset at that moment so that they can take that tool with them off of the mat.” Meditation is another tool that Katya employs for her clients, and her belief is that even if the meditation practice is short in time, it can have a big impact for mental wellbeing. “Most people, from the time that they hear the word meditation, they have this fear of ‘I can’t sit still, if I can’t sit still, I am not meditating.’ But a meditation practice really starts from being aware of your environment and being present. From that, it’s a focus on one thing that you are doing.” A short meditation session in the car after a day at work can help create that awareness of the environment that most individuals lack. Katya calls these “transition points” and one can use help them to help transition from a day at work to being present with their family when they walk in the door. These meditations bleed right into mindfulness as well. “Yoga in itself is about connecting the mind and the body, and the physical practice is just a part of it. Your yoga practice for the day could be taking a mindful walk,” she explains.
These physical and mental practices are what she is passing along to more individuals through her own teacher training program. “If I would have ever thought that I would have a brick and mortar space as I do right now, back in 2012, I probably would have laughed and said “that’s never going to happen.’” However, it did happen in January of 2018 with the primary intention being to train the next wave of teachers. Having led several other location’s training programs over the years, Katya was really able to see what worked for her style. With her background, she knew that she was not interested in making a program that only teaches the physical aspects of yoga. “There’s the physical teaching and the intellectual/philosophical part.” She continues, “the plan was twofold. To help individuals understand asana sequencing of how to intelligently put poses together for a posture, goal, or purpose. The other being how do you use yoga philosophy to figure out how you fit into this world.” The latter is what has set her apart from other teacher training programs because she understands how each person has a vastly different background and can connect to individuals that others just cannot. Having taught younger mothers, to nurses, to ex-inmates, Katya says, “they have a way of connecting to a group of people that, no matter how much I could try, are not groups that I can connect with on the same, personal level. The thing with yoga is that it is a lifestyle. It is how we see the world and how we interact in it and because of that, we all have different tools to use.”
Just as Katya believes that yoga is a self-journey that never ends, she now envisions a future for Inner Jasmine in that same light. When she opened the brick and mortar location back in 2018, her business started to evolve quickly. From adding in many more classes to building her mentorship and teacher training program, Katya did not have a lot of time to think to grander future plans. With being more established now, she realized that what she had built has been a response to a need in her community, and now through her teacher training program is looking to fill the same needs in other communities. “One of the first foreseeable goals is that I would love to see more studios opening up in different areas under the guidance of our training program.” She continues, “I feel that every location has to have that ‘heart and soul’ and they have to be a part of that community.” It’s how she has been able to build and grow her business from the beginning, and the only fitting way that Inner Jasmine will continue to grow, prosper, and continue to help many more lives for years to come.
Inner Jasmine – Yoga & Wellness Studio is located at 45 S Washington St, Suite 302, Hinsdale, IL 60521. If you are interested in classes, workshops, retreats, or teacher training, please visit their website to contact: www.innerjasmine.com