Community Spotlight Sessions - Jeff Percacciente, In Bloom Yoga
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” - Kurt Vonnegut
Some would argue that there is nothing more important than the community around you. That's why we find it important to highlight providers, community leaders, thought-provokers and "doers" in our town. To showcase Utica in a broader light, and to bring some unity to an ever-divided world.
When conducting these types of interviews, we keep our credentials simple. We look for people in all sorts of fields who conduct their days with passion, gratitude and strength. When looking at our community members whom we thought we make great interviewees, this person filled all of those categories and then some. Our interview today is with Jeff Percacciante of In Bloom Yoga.
Jeff is the Director of Education and Coordinator for Corporate and Outreach Programs with In Bloom Yoga. A native 'Utican', he has been here his whole life, attending Utica College and now working professionally in Utica.
Jeff hasn't always been the person that he is today. As many of us do, Jeff admits that as a kid he struggled with health and wellness.
"I was NOT and active kid - in fact, I was obese up until age 19." notes Jeff.
Being from a family where illness was unfortunately not uncommon, he took it upon himself at that time to step up and change the direction of the path that he was on. "I know firsthand how difficult health problems can be. My father is still here, thankfully, but has had numerous issues. My mother unfortunately passed away six years ago." notes Jeff.
Around the age of 19, he became an avid exercise enthusiast. He found many different forms he enjoyed, including general strength training, CrossFit, and of course: yoga. "I started doing yoga when I was in my early twenties. Through exploring different facets of healthy living, I lost over 60 pounds! My one true love was always yoga. I loved the integration of mind and body, the subtleties of finding alignment and poise, and the way that meditation taught me how to handle whatever came up in my life." notes Jeff.
After his firsthand experiences in life, he knew he wanted to further this passion and love for helping others.
"The impact of illness on both the person who's ill, and their caretaker, can be exhausting. I knew that I wanted to get into a field that would help people find their freedom. Anything that can give health and wellness back to people is the most meaningful work for me."
Jeff went on to pursue his passion for yoga and become a registered yoga teacher, later taking a job for In Bloom Yoga in Utica, NY. "In Bloom Yoga is all about creating a yoga practice and experience for every kind of person. Nowadays, with yoga all over social media, we're finding more and more that people don't want to come to yoga because they're intimidated, or they think that it's not for them. We're trying to bust that myth right away by offering classes for all kinds of people and all ability levels."
In Bloom offers an array of classes at their studio, ranging from beginner classes, slow flow and stretch classes all the way to handstand conditioning classes. Jeff himself teaches a two hour course on Sundays called "The Complete Class", which is a combination of vinyasa, yin yoga and meditation. They also offer aerial yoga and "Yoga Across the Spectrum" for kids who may be on the Autism Spectrum.
"We're about adapting yoga to you, not pushing you into yoga." says Jeff.
We asked Jeff where he saw their community, and yoga going in general?
"Our yoga community is thriving! When I first started teaching, I taught in a little apartment above a cafe, usually to one or two people for months. Now, we have multiple studios with all kinds of teachers and disciplines. I think it's going to keep going up. I don't think yoga is a fad. Yoga is people's way of finding peace and joy in their life. I don't think that's ever going out of style."
Coupling his love for yoga with his love for teaching, Jeff now finds joy in seeing people come into the studio feeling empowered to take in whatever is waiting for them.
"So many people that I work with have had major breakthroughs, either with mobility and strength, or overcoming issues from anxiety and depression. My favorite moments of working in this field are when people come in with a huge smile and say 'this is working! I feel better!'"
We asked if he had advice for people who were interested in trying yoga?
"Show up! I know that's the hard part. Getting out of bed, off the couch is a struggle. But practice is progressive. Every day, you'll see new things, discover new mobility, new strength. You'll feel calmer, more at peace. You won't need to fly off of the handle when someone upsets you. There is a better life waiting for you but you need to be here to meet it. Don't let fear hold you. Reach out, make a connection."
We asked, is there anything else you'd like the community members to know?
"I just want to thank Climb Chiropractic Sports Health for featuring me and In Bloom Yoga here! I'm happy to be friends with these two wonderful people, and to take part in all of the goodness that they are bringing to the community. Wellness is holistic. Yoga, chiropractic care, massage, strength training, meditation - we need all of it!. There's no one road to health. Get to know great people like Nick and Ashley, come take a yoga class, and join a community that will bring you to your best self!"
Aw shucks, thanks Jeff. :)