IYCWM Student Spotlight – December 2020

By Published On: December 2nd, 2020

It is with great pleasure to introduce Jacqueline Hayden. Jackie has been the soundtrack to the morning Home Practice series for the past 37 weeks! Her laugh is infectious and her joyful, adventurous and expressive approach to practice is such a delight. Jackie is a very talented artist as well and her art studio is in the same building as IYCWM. Enjoy getting to know this gifted member of our wonderful community.


Tell us a bit about yourself – I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio where my father’s family lived. When I was 12 years old we moved to St. Louis, Mo.  I traveled around Europe with my boyfriend for 6 mo. with only a backpack when I was 22.  Changed my life.  I enrolled in University without Walls at U. Mass and took all my courses at Hampshire College.  I got an MFA from Yale University in 1979.  I taught at different universities for a while, lived in Washington DC and NYC.  In 1991, I got a job at Hampshire College to be Professor of Film and Photography.  I retired from Hampshire in December 2016.  It was a great run.  I had wonderful colleagues and students.  I was always challenged and inspired there and at times exhausted.  In 2001 the President of Hampshire asked if I would take students to Cuba to do a Community Service Project in Havana for the Urban Planning Office.  My students and I made the first photographic digital archive of all the buildings in the Old City of Havana.  That led to many collaborations with Cuban artists over the next 17 years when I was a faculty member of Hampshire’s study abroad program in Havana.  My family and I lived in Havana for 10 months in 2004/05, I’ve been faculty in residence 5 x for a semester each. In 2020, with Plan Maestro, I completed the Havana Archive Project, 9000 photographs of Havana taken in 1980 at the beginning of the restoration available now online.

My current project is the  Puerto Rican Architectural Heritage Archive.  I am the Project Director on this 3 – 4 year project with the Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín in San Juan, PR.  My daughter and I are the only gringas working on this project. I am loving the opportunity to work with committed, fun, intelligent, creative people on and off the island.  Our aim is to de-colonize information in the 6 participating archives, to include marginalized or invisible residents in the 500 year history of colonialism in Puerto Rico.


What is a little known or surprising fact about you or your work? I became a Registered Nurse in 1971.  My mother told me the only thing for a woman to do was become a nurse or a teacher, in case something happened to your husband, you could take care of yourself.  I’ve been both. From 1991 on my photographic work has focused on the older nude, challenging questions of beauty and invisibility.  Pictured left is “Voluminosa.”

I progressed through stages of aging and death, in “Passing Away” I photographed my mother’s skin close up while she was dying in 2008, followed by “Celestial Bodies”, a post mortem collaboration with the cremated ashes of my parents and mother in law.

Drawing inspiration from my Catholic roots and current Buddhist belief systems, as well as
theoretical astronomical physics, I scattered the ashes onto a scanning bed while invoking a mantra, prayer, invocation, memory or combining the ashes of my parents while playing their favorite song, Sentimental Journey. (See images and artist statement below.)

To see more of Jackie’s work, visit her website: http://jacquelinehayden.net/


What led you to Iyengar yoga? How did you find IYCWM? I’ve had a studio on the 3rd floor of Arts and Industry for 20 years.  I used to take classes at Sun Studio, the YMCA, and Prakasa Yoga.  One day I saw Jodi Herrold in the parking lot out front after a yoga class.  He told me how great Susan Elena was and how much the practice has helped him.  I decided to check it out.


How long have you been practicing yoga? 20 years.  First 10 years was only once a week.  Then I began taking more classes twice a week and the last few years 3 x a week.  The last 6 mo. I have been taking the Home Practice classes 4 x a week and always do at least one more class or home practice per week for a total of 5 – 6 times per week.


What keeps you on the mat? Progress, challenge, flexibility, improvement in posture and alignment, peace of mind. My body has been good to me.  I am thankful for having lived a healthful life.  I can only imagine what limitations my body would have if I did not practice yoga!


What keeps you off the mat? Traveling (not a problem now) If I do not practice in the am. I probably will not do it because I get caught up in other activities and my motivation is gone by end of the day.


What poses do you love? Now I am loving shoulderstand and headstand because I have just been able to do them


What poses do you find challenging? Anything where you sit in Virasana or Supta Virasana Two  The tops of my feet and upper thighs/psoas scream at me. Virabhadrasnana III, Warrior III is a challenge for me as well as anything where my hand is on the floor while my leg is in the air due to short arms. I find the names of poses challenging, I’m terrible with foreign language. I looked these up in Light on Yoga.


What do you like to do when you are not doing yoga? I love to swim in the ocean and in our pond/lake in the summer.  I’m not a pool lap person. I like to walk in cities a lot.  I push myself to do exercise walks in Goshen where I live. Before Covid, I used to love going to the YMCA taking strength and aerobic classes. In Havana I loved the 8 am., 35 cent aerobic classes in the basement of the orthodox synagogue with the boom box blasting and no air movement!!


How has practicing yoga impacted your life? I feel more fluid moving through space with heightened awareness of my posture and alignment.  I make corrections when I notice I’m out of alignment or using my lumbar. Sense of balance is better.


How does yoga show up in your everyday life? I’ve been starting my day for months with a yoga class at 7:30 am.  It’s a great way to start the day.  It sets me up for working with focused concentration.  If I’m having an area of discomfort, I will go to the yoga mat and stretch that area and other places to great effect. I think I’ve become more accepting of what is and less judgmental.


How has the pandemic changed your daily life? How are you dealing with the COVID-19 crisis? Does your yoga practice help you in any way? Since April 19, when I returned from Puerto Rico, I have been at home.  I am exercising, working, on zoom calls, and rarely go anywhere.  The summer was great because we have 12 acres and live off a small lake.  I was able to visit with my lake friends outside or in the lake.  My best friend of 55 years has terminal cancer and is on hospice but is still pretty vital.  We take walks 1 or 2 x a week and visit outside.  I am allowed in the house occassionaly with a mask but not when her grandchildren are visiting.

This era of Covid-19 has slowed me down.  I am observing more subtle changes in the light, shadow and in nature in general.  In spite of everything, I am way less stressed than I used to be. Yoga has helped me tremendously through using my body in meaningful ways and has allowed me the time and space to incorporate what I am learning.  And it starts my day off with commitment to the class and the group.


What has it been like to become part of a virtual yoga community and how does this yoga community contribute to your practice? I think I know the people in the class better than I ever did at the studio.  First, we show up early and have discussions about politics or yoga postures and aches and pains, or what the week has been like for those who have to teach hybrid.  I look forward to attending. I am waking up at 6 am consistently before the alarm.  That is new for me, as I never naturally woke up in the dark.


How has the switch to online classes during the pandemic affected your sense of community? How does it help stay connected? How does it fall short? As stated, I enjoy the virtual classes. Seeing people in their home spaces and on vacation in Maine, Vermont or New Mexico its really fun.  We had a member have a serious bike accident and another surgery and sent them flowers.  I have genuine concern for their well-being.  I wonder when I do not see someone for weeks, what happened in their lives to drop out. I really appreciate all the corrections during class.  Shanti and her legs encourage me to always make adjustments and check in.  I take a lot of the personal advice being given someone and assess if it applies to me to improve my postures.


Any advice for those seeking to connect to a virtual yoga community? Do It!  Susan Elena and others use the analogy of a flower opening petal by petal from the outside, that is a truth I am discovering.










Aging Bodies to Celestial Bodies: 1991 – 2014

Aging is a process that begins at birth. The aging of a body, a planet, a universe are measured in time and carry the markings of time.  I believe in continuums, not beginnings and endings.  I photographed older nude bodies as a means to critically engage the visual history of aging as one of invisibility.  My work has progressed through the natural evolution of time to include close up images of my mothers’ skin photographed in the three months prior to her death, rendered in an ethereal ambiguity of existing both inside and outside of the body, in the cellular world or beyond.  My latest work, Celestial Bodies, is a post mortem collaboration with the cremated ashes of my parents and my mother in law.  Indexical of astronomical photographs, the concept of body is limited only by the imagination.

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