about Deborah JOYa
Deborah Joya has been facilitating Yoga and Meditation since the year 2000 because she is passionate about sharing with others the many benefits she herself has experienced. Having dealt with several physical and emotional issues from a very young age, Deborah is able to relate to and intuitively guide people to prevent, address, and protect many issues. Deborah’s intuitive, meditative way of leading the practice has become popular with people from all over the US and Canada who come to Arizona or her retreats. She leads workshops as well as Yoga and Meditation retreats in Arizona and internationally. Recordings are available on this site.
Deborah’s teaching has a wide variety of influences, both learned and intuited. She received her Yoga Teacher Certification from the Pacifica West Institute in California, and is influenced by her teacher Vince McCullough’s Elemental Yoga, which emphasizes the Dance of Fire, the Flow of Water, the Strength of Earth, the Breath of Air, and the Meditation of Space. Gratitude, love, focus, visualization, imagination, and affirmation are woven into her yoga and meditations and she encourages feeling the body on a physical, emotional, and energetic level. Deborah emphasizes the uniqueness of each body’s anatomy based on her studies and experience as an instructor and massage therapist and incorporates her knowledge of Physics and Physiology including recent scientific research on the heart, brain, DNA, and body systems. Her background as a Scientist and Physics Professor enables her to complement her teaching with an understandable scientific explanation of the physics and physiology involved in the practice. Deborah publishes some of these teachings in her cartoon, “The Inner Piece of Yoga, Exploring the Healing Benefits of Yoga using Modern Science”.
Deborah JOYa is committed to inspiring JOY and wellbeing in herself and others, and sees the innate joy within as the ultimate source of wellbeing. She believes that joy is different from happiness and is always available for everyone no matter the situation or past. JOY lives deep in the heart, and we can cause it to spring forward through gratitude and love, creating an incredible peace within and amongst each other.
Deborah has undergone several shifts in her life which are shared here in hopes of inspiring others who have had similar issues and/or experiences.
Pursuing Passion / Life Purpose
People often ask why Deborah would leave a successful, lucrative, promising career as a scientist/engineer at a young age. A major career shift like this is usually linked to an undeniable desire to do something that makes the heart sing. And the path generally involves a variety of small steps, failures, disappointments, U-turns, and growth. A major step along the way includes the uncovering of and commitment to a resonant life purpose.
Although she was more interested in psychology, Deborah felt the need to please her father by going into engineering. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Ceramic Science and Engineering by age 20, and a master’s degree in Solid State Science at 22. By the age of 33 she was a Vice President of an international technology firm. She enjoyed many aspects of her engineering career, but longed for something more fulfilling where she could make a difference in peoples’ lives. In her late 20s Deborah left engineering for 3 years to teach high school then college physics and engineering. During this time she went to a yoga class at the college and immediately fell in love with yoga. The teacher, Vince McCullough, filled the room with acceptance, love, joy, and peace. Deborah knew she wanted to achieve this level of being and to help people as he did. Within just a few classes, Deborah asked him how she could become a yoga instructor, and he invited her to join his school. She learned a great deal from Vince and gratefully received a teacher certificate from him the next year. Although she went back to engineering for 3 more years after that, Deborah began to teach yoga as a volunteer in 2000 when she moved to Arizona.
Teaching high school and college, although rewarding at times, had not given Deborah the fulfilment she had anticipated. The offer to work for an international company along with the enticement of moving to Arizona near the lakes she enjoyed so much took Deborah back to engineering. It would take a much stronger life event three years later for Deborah to begin a permanent career shift. She suddenly developed intermittent but severe vertigo which was at times completely disabling – just a small turn or lift of the head brought searing pain. Deborah visited many specialists who tested her for a variety of conditions including brain tumor with no diagnosis or effective treatment. She became very clear that without her health she could do nothing, and it was completely up to her to create that health. She also realized she did not want to continue her current life of stress in a career that did not bring fulfilment. Miraculously she discovered the vertigo was an allergy to mold, which had been exacerbated by years of working with harsh chemicals. It was an easy fix to avoid mold, but by this time Deborah had made up her mind to leave engineering and began to phase out of her job. She was determined to find transformation, and began several months of attending personal growth seminars which helped her uncover her passion for life and making a difference in the world. Deborah defined her purpose to be an inspiration to others, knowing yoga would be a big part of that.
Over the next several years, Deborah taught yoga part-time and assisted at seminars while supporting herself with real estate and teaching college. Gradually Deborah became aware that the words and sequence seemed to flow through rather than from her as she taught yoga, and her students expressed amazement at how pertinent the practice and her words were to them personally. Some of her students requested that she guide meditation as well, which also flowed through her effortlessly. Deborah gratefully surrendered to this gift from what she views as her greater self, and her Yoga and Meditation classes grew and became her central focus.
Perhaps it was the pain in Deborah’s life that most led to her passion, ability, and resolve. A difficult childhood led to symptoms that could be associated with a variety of emotional disorders including depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and ADD. She had gone to several therapists and tried multiple medications with no improvement. Yoga was the first therapy that helped her – a few months into practicing she realized she was no longer experiencing anxiety attacks and her occasional stuttering had gone away. Deborah discovered PEACE in her late 20s in that first Yoga class with Vince, HOPE in seminars in her mid-30s, JOY through meditation in her 30s, and in her 40s she could say she had found happiness on a regular basis. She learned that self-healing and the choice to be joyful is a continuous effort as we move through the ups and downs of life. She found that pursuing her passion is her best healer, and encourages others to do the same.
From a very young age, Deborah experienced a variety of physical issues including scoliosis, back pain, acid reflux, digestive issues, and severe headaches. By the time she was 20, she was taking 8 painkillers a day just to make the back pain manageable, and was addicted to sugar and caffeine to get through the day.
Within a few months of practicing yoga she noticed the back pain was diminishing, and Daily yoga continues to keep Deborah pain-free – sometimes the yoga might just be a few minutes at a time and Deborah loves to share these short practices that can be done just about anywhere. After about 10 years when she showed a chiropractor an old X-ray of her spine, he said he didn’t think the changes that occurred were even possible.
In her thirties, Deborah experienced other health issues including cysts and endometriosis, and was able to heal herself through alternative medicine and lifestyle changes. She enjoys sharing these experiences, as well as the healing that has occurred through her personal meditation practice which often includes movement.
Healing opportunities come up frequently, from injuries to life changes, and Deborah has learned to view them as opportunities to learn and share with others. She believes that we create our wellbeing most by celebrating all of the past and present challenges of life as opportunities for growth and part of the creation of who we are. For Deborah, the emotional and physical challenges have been gifts that allow her to relate to a wide variety of people who seek healing on any level.