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A body at work


A healer for the body, an inspiration for the spirit.


Jan Throndson was at the height of her dancing career when she


became crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. In a second, Throndson’s

body cramped up, and she could no longer move. With no idea what

caused it or how to cure it, doctors directed her to conventional

medicine, but Throndson knew that her cure would come in the form of


yoga and meditation. From that point on, she made the decision to

force herself out of bed, seek alternative medicine and surround

herself with positive energy. Barely missing a beat, she turned her

focus to choreography and teaching yoga and put to rest her own

dancing career, for which she had worked a lifetime.


Now, at the age of 48, Throndson is celebrating 22 years of

teaching. She received her Yoga Teacher Certification in 2000 under


Erich Schiffman and has taught at Laguna Yoga for the past three


"[It’s a] very creative and healing studio,” she said.

At Laguna Yoga, she teaches five classes a week, from vinyasa flow

to restorative yoga. Through teaching, she has managed to work

through the disappointment of the abrupt end to her dancing career

and has found happiness once more.

“The more I give the gift of healing, the more I get healed,” she



She also values what teaching has taught her about her own life.

Before the onset of her arthritis, she was so focused on dance and

her personal journey that nothing could have distracted or stopped

her. To make it in Los Angeles, she had spent years working as a

waitress and at temp jobs while attending countless auditions.

Now, as a teacher, she has had to learn how to shift her attention

to the struggles and challenges facing her students.

“Teaching really humbles you,” Throndson said. “You have to be

there for other people’s growth, not just your own.”


Looking back over her life as a dancer and a teacher, she can now

identify signs that have been there to guide her. In college, she was

assigned to research preventative versus catastrophic medicine for

her debate class. Years later, after a traumatic experience in

Berkeley, she returned to Colorado, where a friend encouraged her to

learn more about yoga and meditation. Little did she know that at the

age of 32, she would be using the research that she had done and the

tools that she had gathered to transform an otherwise devastating

turn in her life to one of self-discovery.

“The Universe provides if we’re open to it, even in our darkest

moment,” she said.

Throndson is very close to complete remission and radiates an aura

of peace and light. She has no regrets about her life and has long

since let go of any anger she once had toward God and the universe

for crippling the very instrument of her art.

She may no longer be in the spotlight, but she continues to hold

center stage at Laguna Yoga, where she teaches and shares the wealth

of knowledge that she has gained through a lifetime of pain and


-- Story by Sara Wilson; photo by Mediha Dimartino