We Are YogaFit: Jill Cressy & Steve Karpenko
YogaFit Canada's first love story. Jill and Steve met at a YogaFit training and now they are engaged to be married.
What's Your Day Job?
Jill: Assistant Manager, Fitness & Instruction, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto. Oversee fitness, dance, and sport programs across facilities.
Steve: This spring term I’ve been focussing on program development and workshop facilitation with Artscape Launchpad, coaching entrepreneurs and athletes on starting and growing their business venture, and teaching an online business course for Bishops University.
Which city do you live in?
Your Morning Must-Haves?
Jill: Fitness/movement (examples include yoga, strength training, running or other cardio workout, Total Gym GRAVITY,
core conditioning), and a mindful breathing practice (e.g., observe where the breath moves in my body, observe the depth of my breath, observe the length of the inhalation & exhalation, change the rhythm & depth of my breath and observe how it changes how I feel). Also a healthy breakfast and green tea (Jasmine Pearl).
Steve: I enjoy movement such as yoga, strength training or walking, and also engage in a mindfulness practice. In addition, I eat a healthy breakfast.
Your Favourite YogaFit Training?
Both: The Reintegration Training (Level 1: Foundations Retrain)
The Title of Your Biography?
Jill: “Dancing through Life”
Steve: "It Started with a Shimmy"
Jill: Credibility within the fitness industry. Also appreciate that YogaFit attracts fitness professionals who value mind-body fitness and a variety of physical activities (e.g, various fitness class formats, strength training, dance, and other types of movement in addition to yoga.)
Steve: I was looking for something to add to my wellness practice. I wanted to jump right into yoga and started looking for teacher trainings. I was interested in completing a 200 hour intensive training and YogaFit was offering this in Toronto.
What brought you to your mat?
Jill: I was a competitive gymnast and yoga inspired exercises and stretches were part of my overall fitness program. While I loved to jump, dance and flip upside down as a child, I always felt most grounded on the mat, and as an adult feel the same.
Steve: As a former competitive athlete, I have always been enthusiastic about strength training and core conditioning. I still enjoyed working out at the gym, but also wanted to integrate mind-body fitness, which led me to yoga.
How did you discover YogaFit?
Jill: A fitness magazine
Steve: Through searching the internet for teacher trainings.
How long have you been practicing and training together?
Both: Since September we have been practicing and training together.
What made you decide to choose YogaFit as part of your yoga journey?
Jill: Great professional development linked to my role overseeing physical activity programs at the U of T Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, and also counts as CECs to keep my fitness certifications current.
Steve: A desire to complete the 200 hour yoga teacher training and convenience of location and timing of the YogaFIt intensive training.
What is your favourite YogaFit memory so far?
Jill: Enjoyed all the master classes. In addition appreciated the mindfulness walk in the park, dance breaks with Paul, and meaningful reflection during the interactive group work.
Steve: The overall experience of the intensive 200 hour training was amazing! Specific memories include the mindfulness walk in the park, dance breaks with Paul, and new insights on life experienced by the end of the intensive.
Why was Reintegration (Level 1: Foundations Retrain) your favourite YogaFit training?
Jill: The Reintegration training was very grounding. Full Circle to come back to level one basics after studying, practicing and embodying the work of the other trainings.
What has been the impact of your yoga teacher training in your life and in the lives of those you teach?
Jill: Developed and strengthened friendships, greater sense of community, expanded networks, enhanced communication and leadership skills, living each day more present in the moment.
Steve: I made new friends and connections, and continue to experience a sense of community within the YogaFit family. It has improved my communication skills and allowed me to be more mindful in day-to-day activity.
When you look forward, what does your yoga journey look like?
Jill: Integrating yoga principles into daily life, getting married to Steve, committed to fitness, wellness and a regular yoga practice together through the years.
Steve: Yoga will always be part of our life and contribute to our overall health and happiness. In addition, it will help us inspire others to practice yoga and incorporate wellness and mindfulness into daily life.
What is one of your favourite, go-to cues you use to teach your students?
Jill: In tree pose, “Creating strength and length down through our rooted foot and up through our finger tips”.
Steve: My favourite is the vinyasa flow: from plank position, exhaling to chaturanga, inhale to upward dog and exhale to downward dog.