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Name: Jennifer Henius (Yoga4Caregivers)

Posted By Keara McGraw

Yogi (and realtor) Jennifer Henius uses her passion for yoga to help family caregivers who often struggle with their own self-care. Henius began practicing yoga in 2016 after completing her 200 hour hatha yoga teacher certification at A Yoga Village in Clearwater. Her mission is to help improve the health and wellness of family caregivers through yoga.

Years in Tampa Bay

I have been in the area since the early ’80s. I attended Gibbs High and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts and Eckerd College, and earned my Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of South Florida- Go Bulls!

Hustle (job)

Founder and Director of Yoga4Caregivers

What do you do?  

I am the Founder of Yoga4Caregivers, a new Caregiver Kula, or intentional community of the heart, aimed at empowering family Caregivers to explore yoga and meditation as self care practices to add to their toolbox in support of their overall health and well-being. This community is 100% supported by volunteer Registered Yoga Teachers who share in my passion for supporting these hidden heroes in our communities caring for others. When I am not doing my side hustle, I can be found running my main hustle in Dunedin. I am a Realtor and co-owner of Celtic Realty, my family’s boutique real estate brokerage.

Why do you do it?

I have been serving veterans, their families and caregivers for nearly 20 years. I have been a direct practice clinical social worker working with wounded warriors, geriatrics, and hospice. I have also supported state, regional and national programs and most recently served on a team in Washington, D.C. to implement and oversee VA’s National Caregiver Support Program. I have been inspired by their selfless care and steadfast support of their loved ones.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I was prompted to develop this community as my personal response to the pandemic. Looking for a way to be of service. I was in search of a way to support family caregivers serving on the front lines of Covid. Family caregivers are at increased risk of poor health and psychosocial outcomes. Caregivers commonly experience isolation, anxiety and depression and have a tendency to put off their own health care needs. The pandemic has increased their risk for health and mental health challenges, and the CDC has found that caregivers have reported increased suicidal ideation. I just wanted to offer family caregivers some practical skills that can calm their nervous system, improve their mind-body connection and improve their well-being.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

Some common misconceptions are related to yoga in general, which include:
You have to be young and “healthy” to practice yoga; you have to be flexible in order to practice yoga; yoga is a religion; yoga is only for thin white women; yoga is for people of all ages, of different body types and from all racial and ethnic backgrounds; yoga gear is expensive (you really don’t need to purchase any special equipment or fancy yoga pants); you need to practice an hour a day to reap the benefits of yoga ( few minutes of slow mindful breathing can help to cultivate a sense of calm and move your nervous system into rest and digest)

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

The most challenging piece for Yoga4Caregivers is ensuring that our new resource is reaching the most family Caregivers we can, by connecting with Tampa Bay area resources who can help us to share and promote even though we are not a formalized business or nonprofit. Also the lack of funding to offer yoga teachers in our community, many who worked at bay area studios that have been permanently closed. It’s a tough time for our community wellness practitioners and wellness studios.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Face everything and rise, don’t ever let fear stop you from making changes or following your passions. “You get there by realizing you are already there”- Eckhart Tolle

Where else can people find you?

I am also the founder of an international community called Social Work Yogis. I run a Facebook Page for Social Work Yogis and it’s associated Facebook Group to connect social workers like me or social work students, researchers and educators who are also Yoga Teachers/Therapists or Yoga Studio Owners or have an interest in yoga and mindfulness. Instagram @socialworkyogis Twitter @socialworkyogis

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