Joan hails from the Chicago land area. She has traveled to many parts of the world, yet people tend to recognize her Chicago twang wherever she travels.
She has been a practitioner of yoga for over 30 years. Joan began her studies through the Self-Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, California. She was then living in California working on the staff of the Westwood Playhouse near the UCLA campus, and also on staff at the Santa Monica Playhouse. She studied yoga simply because she felt it brought her to her peaceful core and gave her a sense of strength and flexibility in an often confusing and hectic world. Any weekend vacation she was able to muster was usually spent at an ashram or meditation center.
She never considered any type of career in yoga till many years, jobs, and cities later when she was working as part of the staff at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. By then she had received many ASCAP Popular Awards for her songwriting and recordings; for you see by day she worked in theatre, but by nite she was a Jazz Club Singer and Lead Vocalist for the Les Waverly Orchestra (Chicago) and the Art Slade Orchestra (Los Angeles).
Her creative and busy life in the performing arts fueled her growing attraction to the healing arts of yoga and massage therapy. She received her Hatha Yoga Teacher certification through a 15-month weekend program offered through the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. At the same time she completed her Massage Therapy courses at a local massage school and became Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage. She began teaching classes in these subjects and eventually joined the Physical Education and Continuing Education Faculties of the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. There she developed a full curriculum of courses in yoga, meditation and massage. These courses included:
Her Yoyoga website was created during this time and became quite popular internationally. Through it she was invited to be the Expert Author of several books in the popular The Complete Idiot’s Guide series published by Simon and Schuster. These books went on to become nationally best-selling titles in this series. The first editions were released in 1998, and have since continued into multiple new editions and numerous foreign translations .
And, her Yo Joan Advice column first featured on her website, became a bi-weekly advice column in Liberty Chicago Suburban newspapers, with a circulation of well over 100,000. Her Yo Joan column ran in these papers across the Chicago land area for ten years.
Because of her advancing interest and passion for curriculum development, Joan pursued Doctoral studies in Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While studying at UIC, she joined the Dance Faculty of Columbia College Chicago teaching yoga. Between all these studies and teachings in the city, she met and married her forever soul mate, Ben, in the suburbs.
In her newfound wedded bliss, she completed her Doctorate Degree with a dissertation titled, Toward an Awareness Curriculum based on Yoga Practices and Traditions aka In Search of a Yogini. This dissertation work was largely inspired from her many years working with J. Frank Stroud SJ of the Demello Spirituality Center of Fordham University in New York. Together they gave Awareness seminars based on the work of Fr. Anthony Demello, a popular Jesuit Catholic Priest and Author. Fr. Demello’s untimely death brought his dear friend and mentor, Fr. Frank Stroud to humbly and magnificently take over the mast of these Demello Awareness Seminars. For more than a decade, Joan traveled with Fr. Frank to Catholic Retreat Centers and assorted workshops around the globe - Fr. Frank relaying his insightful stories and exercises in Awareness while Joan teaching yoga, meditation and massage. Fr. Stroud’s book, Praying Naked is a loving and rousing compilation of these Awareness seminars.
Several months after earning her PhD, Joan gave birth to her and Ben’s beautiful baby boy. Submerged in the joys of newfound parenthood, her beloved elderly parents also came calling. As their health concerns mounted, Joan became their full time caregivers - loving every moment of all the many joys, tribulations, and yes, also heartaches. Her once busy teaching schedule took a backseat to her caregiving and personal expressions of time and love.
Now, in 2017, encouraged by the strength of family and friends – and with an adorably precocious 9-year-old boy in the mix, Joan’s new 20th Anniversary Yoyoga comes to you reborn and diamond cut. In it are weekly updates to refresh and renew in Meditation Mondays. There are also revolving Yoga Postures, The Yo Joan Advice Column back stronger than ever, and new delightful reading opportunities galore for all ages!
Pull up a chair. Let us get re-e-acquainted, nestle together with some hot tea and honey, breathe deeply and fully...
All welcomed, all aboard this beautiful Yoyoga journey with Joan.