Monday, February 27, 2012


I wrote a story about my lovely wife for the paper and it ran today.

 When most people think of yoga, they think of pretzels – or more specifically, they think of 20 year old gymnasts who contort their young nimble bodies into poses that resemble pretzels.

 But Jilda Watson who is a yoga therapist from Empire says that with a little instruction, most people can benefit from the practice of yoga, regardless of age. “I've worked with people who had bad backs, necks, knees and other health issues,” said Watson. “The trick is to identify the problem and then modify poses so that the student experiences the benefits.”

 There's a lot of misinformation about yoga according to Watson. Basically yoga is composed of breath work, movement (yoga postures) and relaxation.

 Yoga has been around for over six thousand years and there are many different kinds – everything from traditional yoga to yoga as a physical fitness. But Watson teaches a hybrid yoga for beginners and intermediates. “I understand the aging process, health issues, and physical constraints because all of these variables apply to me,” she said. “When you do yoga correctly, it helps the body to heal.”

 Watson has practiced yoga since the early 1970's but decided to become an instructor in 2005. She now works with Bradford Health Services in Warrior and has over 200 hours of registered yoga training (RYT). She is recognized by the Yoga Alliance as a certified yoga instructor.

 A few years ago, Bradford started a military program at their facilities. Soldiers (both men and women) from Iraq and Afghanistan began flowing through the program. “These folks come home with debilitating injuries, loss of limbs, anger, guilt, and depression,” she said. “I developed yoga classes that addresses their needs.”

 Many of the soldiers came home without visible scars but suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD has always affected those who've gone through battle, but not much was known about the condition until after Vietnam.

 Watson began to notice improvements in soldiers with PTSD after yoga sessions. She did research and discovered the Yoga Warrior Program developed by Lucy Cimini based on a study conducted by Air Force Major John Greuel on the effects of yoga on symptoms of combat stress in active duty military personnel.

 She earned certification in that field in 2011 and is currently the only certified Yoga Warrior instructor in Alabama. “The things I learned in this program helps not only the military, but anyone who suffers from PTSD.” People who survived the tornados in Alabama last year or victims of violence often experience PTSD according to Watson.

 In addition to her work at Bradford, Watson teaches a weekly class on Monday nights at 7 p.m. at the Sumiton Community Center. “I have a donation basket, but I don't want the lack of cash to stop people from coming to yoga,” she said.

 She always brings extra yoga mats for those who want to try it before they spend money on a mat. Watson also teaches private classes. You can contact her at or call her at 205-648-9952.

 Watson pointed out that Walker County has a number of great yoga instructors which makes it easy for anyone to find a class that fits their needs and schedule.


  1. I sure wish Jilda lived by me. I go to yoga faithfully but no one really understands the limitations I have (rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that makes little sense and it's ever changing) and I just keep hurting myself. I could use an instructor like Jilda!

  2. Anonymous10:08 PM

    excellent Jilda!

  3. Jilda lives a life of blessings to others. How wonderful!

  4. That's great. I think you and Jilda might make it as a couple after all.

    Janie Junebug, who is now on twitter and wants to be followed

  5. Yay for Yoga and Ms Watson!! Take care

  6. this is very informative... and Excellent Miss Jilda...


  7. I'm sure Jilda appreciated the wonderful article on her! I have always liked Yoga but haven't had time for the last few years and I miss it. I agree, yoga done correctly can be greatly beneficial to aging. Like Karen, I wish I lived closer to take part in Jilda's classes!

  8. Wow, I didn't know quite how much Jilda did. Thanks for sharing, Rick.

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