Hi, I’m Denyse.
At 16, I discovered Yoga based on a recommendation from my Mom. She was deeply concerned by the level of stress and anxiety, I experienced in anticipation of standardized testing. The gentle Hatha based practices and guided meditations calmed my mind and spirit. The movements made my awkward adolescence feel graceful. These early lessons were imprinted and eased my transition from teen years into adulthood.
As I embarked on a rewarding, but sometimes stressful, almost four-decade global business career, Yoga retreats at Kripalu in PA and MA brought me back to balance. In my 50s, after a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes and while in recovery from a difficult foot surgery, I decided I was too young to feel so old. The corporate job I loved was going through yet another reorganization. To deal with pending health and life changes, I enrolled in a two year long, weekend Advanced Yoga study program. This seemingly casual interest in Yoga led to many more years of in-depth study, healing and focus. My health and balance improved. I also rediscovered a childhood passion for writing and started a blog.
In 2017, my husband had major heart surgery and spent almost two months in the hospital. My yoga training was put to good use as my husband began the long road back to improved health. We consciously made healthier lifestyle choices. In 2018, I completed additional certification at the University of Virginia as a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. This program complemented my previous yoga training. During this period, my yoga teaching changed from traditional yoga studio classes to restorative and gentle yoga classes more suited to a senior population and/or those coping with lifestyle maladies.
Through living life and studying yoga more deeply, I learned first hand that with gentle practice, you can reclaim the joy of movement and renewed calm through restorative, stress-relieving yoga sessions. You are never too old to start!
“To be calm, to be serene! There is the calmness of the lake when there is not a breath of wind. . . . So it is with us. Sometimes we are clarified and calmed healthily, as we never were before in our lives, … so that we become like a still lake of purest crystal and without an effort our depths are revealed to ourselves.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Here’s a recent video interview about how I’m currently using Yoga Therapy in the World
My Life Teachers
The concept of Lavender Om Wellness is dedicated to my earliest teachers, Mary and Harry Le Fever, my Mom and Dad, who both introduced me to Yoga and returned me to Yoga.
Pierce Bailey, my husband, who reminds me daily to breathe and inspires me with his determination to live his healthiest life.
Sue King and Hemitra Crecraft who introduced me to an alternative, empowered view of life through their 9 month Women’s Wisdom Training. Through them I was introduced to Anodea Judith (chakra theory) and Cynthia Joba (Energy work and Guided Meditation).
Rixie Dennison, who re-introduced my older body to yoga in her weekly classes. She helped me to de-stress from a busy life and worked wonders on my problematic feet with her magical reflexology work.
Judi Eskovitz, co-creator of CHILLAXATION, Restorative Yoga Workshops, who was a generous sounding board along my “Senior-Years” Yoga Journey. Her caring, creative, positive, “can do” approach to life kept me motivated to keep learning and to eventually teach. She is directly responsible for the opportunity to teach yoga to the wonderful students at Life With Cancer.
Mei McConnell, Yoga study buddy and Reiki Master who lured me into exploring the world of Reiki.
Linda Limbacher Thompson who introduced me to teaching “real” seniors. The opportunity to sub for her at The Fairfax, a Sunrise Retirement community was a life changing experience. She continues to inspire me with her positivity, joy and resilience no matter what comes her way. Linda is someone who truly lives her yoga.
Teachers Who Helped My Yoga Focus
Joan and Jim Ryan who transformed my interest in the therapeutic benefits of yoga in their certification in 200-Hour Integrated Yoga Therapy teacher training.
Judith Hanson Lasater who taught me the power of Restorative Yoga in her Relax and Renew Restorative Teacher Certification.
Carol Krucoff and Kimberly Carsen (with adjunct professors from Duke Medical School) who made me realize my intuitive interest in Yoga’s benefits was not age limited. Their Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors program at Duke University Integrative Medicine made it clear to me that Yoga’s healing benefits went beyond the physical and could be deeply healing to an aging population with unique needs.
Nischala Joy Devi who facilitated my learning about the benefits of Yoga in Cardiac and Cancer Recovery through her Yoga of the Heart Certification for Cardiac and Cancer.
Sherry Zak Morris who generously transferred her knowledge and joy of teaching chair yoga and chair yoga dance to seniors. She appeared at a critical point in my yoga teaching life and lit my way with her enthusiasm!
I have completed over 2000 hours in Yoga Teacher Training programs including basic hatha 200 Hour and 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. The following are specialty certifications:
Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach Certification – the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Prevention and Education
iRest® Yoga Nidra Meditation, Level 2 Teacher