Fully recently hosted a giveaway with @actionjacquelyn on Instagram. When the winners were announced we dutifully sent the lucky recipients their winnings. We got to talking with Jacqueline Toomey, the winner of a full Jarvis set up. It turns out her life has been an incredible journey. We’re so glad our little Jarvis found a loving home with Mrs. Toomey. Here is our conversation.
Nate Barber: “Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?”
Jacqueline Toomey: “Sure. My name is Jacqueline Toomey. I live in Colorado, 100% off grid. I teach a wellness course called First Responders Sleep Recovery Program I developed for firefighters and first responders around the country. I occasionally teach an adaptive yoga class with SCI Recovery Project as well as leading recuperative yoga courses at Craig Hospital’s spinal rehabilitation center.”
NB: Can you tell us a little bit about your accident? What happened?
JT: Really, I have no memory of the accident. I used to be a competitive dancer, in highschool and college. In 2005, a couple days after Christmas, I was hit and almost killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and pretty serious back injuries. You can imagine, that really changed the entire course of my life. It took a couple solid years of rehab before I was able to just function normally again.
NB: I imagine that must have put an end to teaching yoga?
JT: Well, I’d been teaching yoga at university. After the accident, I continued teaching although I had a student demonstrate all the poses for me, but I wasn’t able to do anything physical for a few years. It wasn’t until 2009 when I was healed enough to fully teach yoga again.
NB: I see you still teach yoga, but how did you get into sleep recovery?
JT: It was firefighters and first responders who rescued me from my totalled car. I even got to meet one of the firefighters who saved me from that accident. We met a couple years later. It was a pretty emotional introduction.
Ever since the accident, I’ve felt indebted to firefighters. Actually I ended up marrying a firefighter, though, not one of the first responders who rescued me. But it wasn’t until my relationship that I realized how much stress firefighters are under. Their bodies take a regular beating from the intensity of their schedule, and everything they face on the job. I developed and tailored a Sleep Recovery Practice™ for first responders to help mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation. It is rooted in Yoga Nidra, but the program includes a recuperative health and wellness course for firefighters.
Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation technique that brings the practitioner into a state of sleep while still conscious. The Department of Defense actually endorsed this in 2006 for effective treatment of PTSD, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Soon thereafter, the US Surgeon General endorsed this transformative practice as well. I’ve brought this meditation practice, yoga and sleep wellness training to first responders across the country. You can learn more about it at www.firstrespondersleeprecovery.com
NB: How did you hear about Fully and our giveaway for the Jarvis desk?
JT: I learned of Fully through a great yoga feed I follow, @actionjacquelyn . She was hosting the giveaway, I entered and won the desk!
NB: Right on. Has the desk changed your ability to engage and stay focused in your body and with your work?
JT: Totally. Being able to care for my body and spinal health directly impacts how well I’m able to focus and be productive. I work a lot on my computer at home, so incorporating the intelligent design of Jarvis in my workspace, being able to stand and move around has dramatically improved my productivity and overall wellness.
NB: That is great to hear! Do you have a favorite yoga pose? A favorite place to yoga?
JT: My favorite pose is dancer’s, aka Nataranjasana. I also really love Visvamitrasana. And my favorite place is, by far, outside. We have a new bit of property outside of Denver. It’s off the grid, completely solar and wind powered and 9000 ft above sea level. From our home view, the whole continental divide is shining just overhead. It’s incredible. There’s a bunch of pictures over on my instagram feed.
NB: Any advice you may have for anyone looking to similarly update their active living space?
JT: I’m so glad you asked. I would suggest to everyone not to underestimate the importance of spinal health. Your whole body and mind benefits when your spine is properly cared for. Everything from cognition to digestion is supported by your nervous system, your whole physiology will be more healthy if you take care of your spine. I highly recommend yoga, meditation, and a wholesome diet for spine health, but also, a Jarvis stand up desk to support your back and overall wellness!