Judi Bar, E-RYT 500, RM, Yoga Program Manager Cleveland Clinic
Preparing for a life as a professional ballerina takes tremendous focus and dedication, but nothing could prepare dancer Judi Bar for the debilitating pain she experienced in her forties. Crippled with a degenerative spinal condition and given the choice of surgery with no guarantees or life in a wheelchair, Judi turned her focus to yoga, reiki and other complementary practices. Already familiar with yoga and its benefits, she adapted poses based on Hatha Yoga and, after successfully relieving her own chronic pain, began developing programs to bring this mind/body practice to others facing health challenges. As a wellness yoga specialist, she focused on bringing yoga's benefits to a wider audience - those who would not ordinarily take a yoga class due to health or fitness challenges, size, or age. Judi started with Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine in 2005, the program grew and in 2012, Judi was named Yoga Program Manager at Cleveland Clinic - the first such position at a major healthcare institution in the US. The job is multifaceted, overseeing not only employee yoga classes designed to reduce stress and tension, but also incorporating yoga into lifestyle change programs for promoting wellness, weight loss, chronic pain, cancer, MS and cardiovascular health. Judi has also been a contributing investigator on several pilot and published research studies that look at yoga's benefits for pre- and post-liver transplant patients, ICU nurses, those with MS, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Her story has been featured in Yoga Journal, YTT, and the IJYT. In 2013, Judi and CLM director Dr. Mladen Golubic were invited to address the IAYT in a plenary session. Cleveland Clinic Wellness Yoga will now be a part of the newly created Cleveland Clinic School of Yoga, one of the first such schools established by a major healthcare institution and accredited by the Yoga Alliance.