Johanna Welzenbach-Hilliard began practicing Hatha Yoga in 2001 with Jeani MacKenzie of the Davenport School of Yoga in Davenport, Iowa. In 2007 she received her 200 hour Hatha Yoga teacher certification under Jeani's instruction.
Johanna completed her certification in 2013 as a Viniyoga Wellness Instructor after attending a teacher training program at the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI) in Northern California with Gary Kraftsow, founder of Viniyoga and of AVI. Gary is also a forerunner in the field of Yoga Therapy, an author, and a frequent contributor to the Yoga Journal. He is a regularly featured presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences.
Johanna has also studied Anatomy and Physiology with Davenport chiropractor and Kaplan University professor, Dr. Jill Schmitt, and has attended various yoga conferences, festivals, and workshops throughout the country. She is registered as a 500 hour teacher with the Yoga Alliance.
Johanna first encountered the Viniyoga method of teaching in a yoga class she attended while visiting Maui in April 2009. She recognized the teacher's reference to "conscious breathing" from a book on Yoga Therapy she had read, written by A.G. Mohan, an East Indian physician. The teacher then recommended she read Gary Kraftsow's book, "Yoga for Wellness." That book was pivotal in her decision to begin training at the American Viniyoga Institute.
Since attending Kraftsow's comprehensive and intensive Viniyoga training, Johanna has learned how to adapt yoga postures, pranayama (breathing exercises), and yoga philosophy to the specific physical and emotional needs of an individual. At the core of Viniyoga is the primacy of breath. If we do not breathe, we do not live. Incorporating this life-sustaining "conscious breath" into yoga postures, and modifying classical yoga poses for each individual's structure, is part of the magic of Viniyoga. It is a mindful, centered, and graceful practice.
In her commitment to serving her community, she has also completed leadership training in Yoga for the 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR) - a Indianapolis-based program founded and led by Nikki Myers, that combines the principles of the 12 Step Recovery Program with the basic philosophic principles and tools of Yoga. She uses these skills when she teaches on the substance abuse unit at the Robert Young Center for Mental Health in Rock Island, IL.
Johanna is knowledgeable about diverse mental and emotional afflictions (including addiction) that pose obstacles to the quality of daily life. These afflictions are what drew her to practice yoga, and, eventually, to teach yoga. Over the years, she has gained great flexibility and strength from a regular asana practice, but more importantly, she uses pranayama and meditation, as well as reflection upon the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, to help her stay mentally balanced and spiritually uplifted. Johanna's goal is to share her knowledge of yoga with others so they may learn how to alleviate or cope with their own suffering, be it physical, mental or emotional.
Please be assured that Johanna researches each client's condition before designing for them an holistic yoga practice that is safe and effective.
For more information on the American Viniyoga Institute and Gary Kraftsow, please go to www.viniyoga.com.
For more information on Yoga for the 12 Step Recovery and Nikki Myers, please go to www.y12sr.com .