In this episode, we meet Jeffrey Shoaf; an Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist and a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist. His interest in the human form began at the young age of 8 years old when he would open up encyclopedias and learn about and practice drawing anatomy. As a young adult, he followed in his family’s footsteps and became a Carpenter, Builder, and eventually a General Contractor. Around 2003, he shifted his career focus to become a Massage Therapist and was a student of yoga. He recognized that Yoga teacher training did not provide enough depth of anatomy. In 2005 when he spent time in a cadaver lab his fascination continued to grow.
“Everyday I get up and I’m really happy that I do what I do and I find that there are so many areas that I’m still interested in and they all seem connected.”
In his practice today, he intuitively combines Yoga Therapy and Bodywork for each client he works with. Specifically with Bodywork he uses myofascial release techniques. He describes fascia as a biologic fabric that all over the body. It has a memory of its own and holds where the body puts it. He uses static pressure to release “trigger points” of fascia that are stuck or dry due to inactivity. Yoga therapy he describes as the science of using yoga principles to help in therapeutic applications with a combination of movement, meditation, and/or breath work. Jeffrey also teaches therapeutically based studio classes at Noda Yoga and the Cornwell Center. He also is part of a 300-hour Therapeutic Yoga teacher training(Integrative Yoga Studies) where he leads many of the modules.
“We are looking at yoga as a model of total wellness. It’s not just asana(movement), it’s not just the postures. It’s looking at the body as a holistic organism. And really offering that question to ourselves as teacher is “how can I get this person to function better in their body.”
He has recently partnered with Novant Cancer Center to lead a pranayama(breath work) program for patients with cancer. Jeffrey is excited about the partnership and providing support to those battling cancer. He also loves working with yoga teachers as they have a deep understanding of the body. He cannot wait to get back into the dissection lab as he has joined the local club “Experience Anatomy.”
Jeffrey is inspired by Dr. Gil Hedley who is an anatomist and researcher and one of the most well-known dissectors of fascia. He is also inspired by all of the yoga teachers at Noda Yoga and especially the co-owner, Jillian Longsworth, for her kindness and generosity. In Charlotte he is also inspired by Acupuncturist, Dr. Kevin Kim who did his first treatment on his grandfather at the age of 5.