As she has since she began teaching in 1977 (almost 40 years ago), yoga pioneer Holiday Johnson offers personal instruction for all ages and abilities, including monthly Wisdom of Yoga workshops and annual retreats to Hawaii's island of Kauai and the south of France.
Trained by master teachers from the international yoga community, with a classical Iyengar-style Hatha yoga foundation, Holiday's unique student-based teaching style emphasizes individual need over conforming to systems, and she is known for seeing — and helping her students to see and address-physical and emotional blocks that impair their well-being. Holiday offers insights from her many years of teaching, study, and practicing yoga and meditation, helping to make students more at ease with their lives.
Holiday advocates for her students' success, helping them get the most benefit possible from yoga with the goal of reaching a harmonious balance between spirit, mind, and body. Her fun, energetic approach helps students learn to enjoy all aspects of practice, including the challenges, and encourages a practice that allows each person's inner wisdom to surface so their body may function fully from head to toe.
Holiday's Yoga Path
Meeting Her Self through Yoga
At first seeking — as so many of us do — just physical relief, at age thirty Holiday quickly found her whole life so enhanced by yoga practice that she became a passionate advocate, determined to share the gift of yoga with everyone.
Widening the Path for Others
Through equal parts learning and teaching, Holiday and a small collective of equally committed teachers established a yoga presence in businesses and gyms all around the greater Portland area. Holiday's enthusiasm for sharing yoga led to the expansion of Portland State University's program to hundreds of students, and she boldly initiated classes in private and public community programs, in every new gym in town, and in corporations such as Nike and Mentor Graphics.
When the demand for yoga was too large for the few teachers in Portland, Holiday held the first-ever teacher training in Oregon and helped develop the first standards for yoga certification in Portland. She eventually opened and operated Holiday's Health & Fitness Yoga Center for fifteen years.
Reaching Out to Teens
2012 marked the 20th anniversary of Standing on Your Own Two Feet™, the nationally recognized nonprofit program developed by Holiday to serve teens and teachers of teens. Learning to access her own inner wisdom through yoga facilitated powerful healing for Holiday from the challenges of childhood and early motherhood responsibilities while still a teen, and she feels strongly about encouraging and developing the potential of young people — especially adolescent girls — through yoga practice.
The curriculum emphasizes fitness with awareness, personal development, self-esteem, and the importance of life-long health habits. In addition to their own practice, teens learn to teach yoga to peers, so they learn a practical job skill as part of their training.
Practicing at Home & Abroad
Now the busy grandmother of eleven, Holiday has shifted focus from directing an entire yoga center to offering personal yoga training, retreats, and workshops; further developing her teen program; and teaching five classes a week through the Hawthorne Wellness Center — all approached with the same vibrant energy and passion today as when she started over 30 years ago.
Says Holiday, "I believe that yoga is an opportunity for us to come together to meet and develop the finest qualities of who we are. I continue to feel blessed to be in the position of sharing the wisdom of yoga with others in my global community."
"Holiday is magic! Her approach to yoga is comprehensive and holistic. Her teaching and guidance combine balance, strength, stamina, focus, and mindfulness. I invariably leave her class feeling energized, stronger, and more balanced."
"What a yoga expert Holiday is! She knows the human body so well and through her teachings we learn how to care for it and help it grow in a healthy way. Her knowledge of yoga runs deep tapping into her many years of training and teaching experience. She creates a comfortable, non threatening, individualized approach to her yoga students. She's the best!"
"As a student of Holiday's for more than 20 years, I can attest to her deep knowledge of the practice, her patient, respectful but challenging instruction style, and her deep respect for the emotional and physical growth of her students."
"Holiday presents a true lineage of yoga to her dedicated community of yoga. She brings a wealth of personal experience from master teachers, and her own wisdom and compassion. Both a teachers teacher, and a welcoming initiate to the newest yoga student."
"Holiday focuses on proper alignment which I appreciate so much but also gives such practical ideas for incorporating yoga into everyday life when one doesn’t have 2 hours a day (or won’t make 2 hours a day!) to practice yoga. It has helped me do more poses and my body feels better for it!"
""Holiday's classes which have become the foundation of my healthy aging program. In them I find expert guidance and encouragement to master yoga asanas and maintain injury-free fitness, centering and calming, and some of the best connections I have found in the City for a supportive community of practitioners. I'm grateful for this opportunity."
Emily H., age "almost 70"