Just months away from her 79th birthday, Nashville yogi, Jan Campbell hasn’t even begun to think about retirement yet. Our Hill Center educator, Ciona, sits down with Jan for a few words of wisdom.
“Right now I’m looking at 85 as maybe a good year to consider thinking about retiring,” says Jan, laughing. She delicately moves her hands with intentionality and grace as she speaks.
The 78-year-old yoga instructor opened Nashville’s first yoga studio in 1986. She is the first teacher of many of our community’s yoga instructors. Her days are filled with yoga classes, workshops or teacher trainings and, frankly, she can’t imagine a better way to fill her days than with the thing she loves most. She inspires that same joie de vivre in others.
be an exclamation point not a question mark
She tries to get her students to walk around like exclamation points. “A student told me that if we look around us, we see that people on the streets look a lot like question marks.” They often walk about with hunched shoulders and a closed heart. “Life does a number on us . . . it’s almost like we’re getting back into the fetal position. But yoga opens our hearts and helps us breathe better.” Jan sits and stands upright with her chest open. If there’s any such thing as perfect, her posture has discovered it and now laughs in the face of the assumed gravity of aging. “We are all aging; it doesn’t matter what age you are,” Jan says.
the breakdown before the breakthrough
Yoga has added many life-changing qualities to Jan’s life. Thirty-two years ago she faced a crumbling marriage and the reality that she was about to be a single mother with three children. She was a successful real estate agent at the time, which she enjoyed but was also starting to feel like there was something else she was supposed to be doing with her life. This is when curiosity took her to the mat. Before long, Jan found that she was eating better, feeling better and sleeping better. “Life began to evolve,” says Jan. So much so, that she trained to be a yoga instructor and left her job to share her passion with others.
still going strong
“Yoga won’t slow down the fact that we’re aging but it will slow down the effects of aging and add to the quality of our lives.” Jan lives a healthy, active life where she enjoys hiking regularly and travelling as often as possible. She has been to several countries, including India where she studied yoga.
She still travels across the United States leading yoga
workshops and instructor trainings.
Jan reminds us that “life is too rich and too full to not do something with the golden years!”
We say, ‘Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.’ In Jan’s opinion, no-one is ever too old to start because the poses can always be modified for an aging body. Feeling inspired to hit your mat? Us too! Check out the gift of yoga for an at-home practice.