YAMUNA® Practitioner of the Month: May/June 2015

This month's celebrated practitioner is
Janis Isaman
Calgary, Canada



Informal biography

I formerly worked in the fashion media business by day and the fitness industry at dawn and on weekends. I hosted clients in the living room of my tiny apartment – and it quickly became a buzzed-about space for people specifically seeking a personalized and personal approach to working on their bodies.

The word-of-mouth recommendations for My Body Couture  brought me a dedicated group of brides-to-be, injured runners who wanted to achieve their first marathon finish, new moms looking to reform their figures and people with varying degrees of pain due to disease (e.g. scoliosis, childhood cancer), lifestyle or age (hello, turning 35!). Taking fitness out of the gym and into a home setting meant a truly couture approach to both their fitness and their lives. My clients became part of my family and I was as invested in their weddings, marathons, and pain relief as they were.

When I moved to Calgary, I opened a studio that mirrored the environment I had previously created. 

1) What inspired you to become a certified YBR practitioner?
My first instructor designation was STOTT Pilates.  I completed my training in the mid-1990s in a small but strong class where I was one of the lone teacher trainees without a dance background.  Many of the movements were difficult for me to coordinate and practice because my skeleton simply didn’t move that way!  I stumbled on Yamuna’s work and it immediately made sense to move the bones in order to move and sustain the body.  The work completely changed my body physically and has since translated into transformative experiences for my clients.    
2) Share 3 tips on YBR practice that you think would be good to share with the YBR community at large.

Do a little, but do it often.  Full Yamuna® classes are ideal, but if your lifestyle does not accommodate the work in that way, then grab a ball and do what you can, when you can.  A lot of my clients incorporate it into their television time or roll out their shoulders in bed.
Travel with your balls.  Airplanes tend to compress the spine, and when you need a ball in Mexico, there are no substitutes!
Begin with a YBR practice of enough length and intensity to be able to understand what a free body feels like:  it is a useful way to physically feel the experience of living in a body that’s in alignment and moves with ease.  It’s incredibly empowering to be able to experientially have knowledge of how your body can feel and be able sustain that feeling on your own.  I don’t follow my clients home in their pockets, so it’s essential part of my work as a teacher to help someone experience freedom of body and mind so they can replicate it and live the life and lifestyle they most desire.  

 3) What aspects of the Yamuna® work and practice are particularly helpful for men?

Many men tell me they “need to work on flexibility” and admit that they don’t do anything because they would rather focus their time on the more directly satisfying categories of strength or endurance activities.  YBR is an entirely different approach to the concept of “flexibility” – it changes the skeleton so the flexibility work is built into the movement and men are free from “failing” at being flexible. 
Men are generally drawn to results rather than processes.  YBR results are instantaneous and that speaks for itself.  Most men come to my practice with a desire to run a marathon or “make it through” the winter hockey rec league.  I encourage men to do the ball work at home to  maintain a healthy sports practice. I continuously hear positive feedback from my male clients about how the ball is helping them keep injuries at bay, improve performance, and make things feel “easier than they should”.  
And.... pain! Particularly when starting, the ball work can be painful, which is mentally motivating for many of my men: that pain feels satisfying!
4) Share with us a quote that inspires you in relation to body sustainability/YBR.

“Working out is the modern couture” – Rick Owens
That’s on my business cards!  I have a fashion background and the idea of the body as a beautiful custom garment that moves with ease, grace and beauty are the guiding principles of my business.  The physical body structure starts with the corset – the bones.  Once that structure is beautifully organized, the musculature on top flows like a sheath of fabric.   

5) What facts or information can we share with the community in order to help promote your work and your studio?

I own a one-on-one private client studio in Calgary called My Body Couture.  The business philosophy is simply to help clients feel better in their bodies.  Our practitioners use a personalized combination of Yamuna® Body Rolling, Critical Alignment Therapy, and STOTT Pilates in conjunction with health coaching to help our clients find ease in their body, nutritional routines, and mind so they look and feel better. 
The studio is a tiny space with limited appointment availability, so most clients enter the business on the recommendation of another client or health practitioner.  Many clients book an appointment due to chronic nagging pain or discomfort caused by poor movement patterns, sports or lifestyle factors. The first session is always dedicated to building a Yamuna® practice to restore balance to the skeletal structure.  It often surprises people how they can change their bones and reduce or remove chronic pain in just one to three sessions. 
Most of our clients have a background in traditional fitness disciplines and they can, and do, return to these familiar sporting activities with a greater sense of ease and power – they don’t have to work as hard to get the same or better, results and they can sustain their lives without injury or pain. Unlike most “fitness” disciplines, My Body Couture focuses on the skeleton first. This concept is often revolutionary to people. My Body Couture is one of the few places in Calgary to learn Yamuna® and purchase the products. 

6) What part of the body is your favorite focus area? 

I love the work on the hips and shoulders, but I absolutely could not do without the ball work on the stomach. 

7) Write down a question that you'd like to ask Yamuna.

Looking ahead: what's next? What new directions and updates can we expect from YBR in the next few years? And looking back: when will we see some of the material from recent years on the recert schedule again? 

Yamuna responds:

What's next?
We are working with Aman Resorts having our practitioners go to some of their resorts for 2 week sessions to create interest in the guests in the Yamuna® work to then later hold Yamuna® Retreats at their resorts
We are also launching In Bed with Yamuna® and Foot Fitness as in-room wellness programs at Aman Tokyo. I am very excited about this because I have always believed it belonged in hotel rooms. When it becomes successful at Aman Tokyo, then Aman will put it in all Aman rooms as a signature Yamuna® service.

I am almost done with the Virtual Experiential Anatomy program. We tested the beta version,and with another 6 months of work it will be ready to launch. This will be huge for all of us as a community. We will keep everyone posted on its development.
I am also working on my prototype for developing heel separation and heel heightening. We have been working on this and have all the mechanicals for it. However, we do not have the manufacturer in place yet. I had wanted to manufacture it in the U.S.but it is simply too expensive. So, eventually this will be a new and super addition to the foot education.
We discussed offering some of the old recerts to practitioners that never took them when they were first offered. We were having one of our top practitioners teach this. No one signed up. Then I decided to create a recert for the knees and one day of Virtual Anatomy and both of these are filling up.
I will always be creating new work because this is what I love to do.

Contact Janis at:

Privates classes available.
Semi-private classes: Thursdays at 11:30,
My Body Couture -- 908 17th Avenue SW, #210
Calgary, Alberta.


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