Nicky C Jones: Softening the strain of grief

1609794_10153758527200257_1047988089_nThere was a time when Nicky C Jones didn’t think she would ever feel “normal” again.

In 2004, she lost her boyfriend to a six-month battle with liver cancer. Thirteen months later, she lost her mother to suicide. She was stricken by grief, and by how little support there was for her.

“My grief was overwhelming,” Nicky says. “I felt like I was sinking and I knew in my heart that if I was going to get through this, I had to swim. Hard.”

If you ask Nicky where she’s at now, 10 years later, she’ll answer simply: “it has been journey and a half for sure, but here I am feeling better than ever. I really didn’t think I’d ever say that.”

Nicky is the winner of the 2013 Breathe fore Life Scholarship, through the Victoria Yoga Conference. The scholarship, donated by the Kelty Patrick Dennehey Foundation, presents $1,000, in memory of Riley Rae Dennehy, to a yoga teacher who wishes to further her training in order to make a difference through teaching.

Making a difference has been Nicky’s growing theme for the past decade. She has been helping people “soften the symptoms of grief” through her yoga-inspired grief coaching program, one-on-one coaching calls, workshops, ebooks and soon a published manuscript inspired by her ebook titled, 6 Steps to Soften the Symptoms of Grief.

“For a long time, I had dreamed of helping women deal with grief using yoga — as I did. But first, I needed to move through my own process so I was ready to hold a healing space for others,” says the 34-year-old Victorian, originally from Campbell River. “A few months prior to winning the scholarship, I finally set the intention to go for it. I enrolled in a yoga therapy program to deepen my studies and released the yoga studio I owned to make space for my dream.”

Nicky says her transition was terrifying, but winning the scholarship was like the universe saying a big “Yes! You can do this!” and, in that moment, she felt totally aligned with life. She went on to use the scholarship to fulfill another dream: to go to an ashram in India and study with her best friend. The experience brought her the clarity and joy she was looking for.

Nicky will be bringing her inspired teachings to the 2014 Victoria Yoga Conference, as this year finds a new winner for the scholarship. But while Nicky has now found great purpose through her practice and thrives off the results she sees through others who use her program, her introduction to yoga wasn’t a fairytale beginning.

Nicky says she first found yoga in her early twenties. She was a fun-loving student, adventurous and “slightly self sabotaging in my ‘party girl’ ways.” She worked at a nightclub, and struggled to find balance while dealing with a mother and boyfriend who suffered from addictions.

“In the beginning, yoga was something I went to when I was feeling bad and wanted to feel better,” she says. “I used it as a cure for ‘dis-ease.’”

Yet when she was beaten with grief and needed help most, all the late-night research she had done on every type of alternative therapy imaginable in hopes of saving her boyfriend came to use: she started to save herself. It was then she realized yoga could only help through a steady influence.

When Nicky returned from India and taught her first class in three months, she cried tears of joy. She was home. Though she had since returned to university to finish her Bachelor’s of Education, she turned her teaching practice into teaching what was in her heart. And it worked. Now, her goal for 2014 is to turn those teachings into a published manuscript based on her popular ebook. For those who follow Nicky’s blog, there’s no doubt she’ll do it — she’s made herself accountable by publishing one chapter a week.

“I often say that yoga saved my life. But, when I actually think about it, it’s teaching yoga that really saved my life,” she says. “Being able to help people transform from a space of grief to one of peace lights me up more than I can even explain.”

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