JEANNE Rankin, the wife of celebrity chef Paul Rankin, has revealed her love of Yoga has helped her get back to work after she was injured in a accident and became addicted to prescription drugs.
The mother of three gave up being a professional chef back in the late nineties following an accident where she fell from a horse and broke her back shortly after surgery for an existing neck problem.
Just two years ago Jeanne, 48, admitted to having been addicted to prescription pain killers as a result of her injuries and even attended rehab in the prestigious Priory Clinic in London.
As her life was turned upside down Jeanne went back to one of her first loves yoga. She is now a qualified and experienced yoga teacher.
Yoga helps me in countless ways explained Jeanne, adding: It helps me find relief from pain, it teaches me acceptance. It helps me to stay calm and remember what I prefer to look for in life.
Jeanne found that renewing her love of Yoga meant that she could embark on a journey to a new career. I’ve been interested in yoga since my late teens said Jeanne.
I’ve found it can offer so much, whether a person steps on to a mat for reasons of fitness or stress relief, weight loss or flexibility, anxiety or sustenance and spirital nourishment, it can be a lifetime journey.
And while she still keeps a keen interest in the family food business with husband Paul, Jeanne revealed she’s happy to listen to her body and step back.
She said: Yoga has been a part of my life for many years. The idea of teaching had also, however I didn’t have or make the time to until several years ago.
I’ve always had an interest there, just not the time. However now I do, and so it is developing into a career change.
My family are very supportive, they are happy that I have found something that I love to do. For a while a few years back I was at quite a loss as I had to come to accept that I could no longer do what I had spent a big part of my life doing.
I do try to keep a hand in the restaurant, mentoring the front of house staff and I had been working on the floor in the last year, however my body has great difficulty with it.
I realised I was no longer able to do the kitchen end of things and I think that in the end I am going to have to accept that the whole business is no longer an option for me.
Today Jeanne is now a yoga teacher in her own right, however, recently she has began specialising in yoga therapy and providing programmes specifically tailored for cancer patients.
Jeanne now works alongside the Ulster Cancer Foundation to deliver their new Recovery Yoga programme, a six-week course which has been specifically developed for people who are undergoing or who have had treatment for cancer and may be low in energy.
Jeanne said: During the sessions participants can learn gentle movements and breathing exercises to help build energy levels; strengthen the body and improve their sense of wellbeing.
One of the ladies that had been coming to one of my classes knew I had taken the training for yoga for people living with cancer. She works with the Ulster Cancer Foundation and encouraged me to approach them and to tell them of my interest in yoga as therapy.
When I did the response was very positive, they were well aware of the possibilities that yoga can offer to a person living with cancer and were therefore very enthusiastic for us all to get together and set up this programme.
Hopefully by attending a six week course, people will see and feel for themselves what yoga can offer to help them deal with life changing illness.
Jeanne also said that she believes the yoga programme can offer a range of practical tools that can help a person living with chronic pain or life threatening illness.
She added: For me, yoga gave me a way to helping myself heal and live with my situation. Perhaps more than any other condition, cancer makes people feel like victims of a medical system over which they have no control. Things are done to them, often with very unpleasant side effects.
Feelings of powerlessness are natural. Yoga provides a way to help them feel better. It is not a cure, but it can change the whole psychology of the experience.
The first in a series of six week courses will take place every Wednesday starting on 14th April 2010 from 12.30pm to 2pm on the 1st floor of Cayenne Restaurant, 7 Ascot House, Shaftsbury Square, Belfast.
Recovery Yoga is provided by the Ulster Cancer Foundation free of charge. No previous yoga experience is necessary and men and women over 18 years old are welcome to take part.
For further information or to book your place please contact Joanne Myles on 028 9066 3281 or email [email protected]
Story by Tina Calder
Photos by © Fabrizio Belluschi