• Student Life
Kristin Devine-Jones ‘10 Creates Meditation Video Series for Lawrentians

When COVID-19 forced Lawrenceville to move to remote learning in March 2020, dance teacher Kristin Devine-Jones ‘10 began creating yoga and meditation videos especially for Lawrentians. Those initial “Sunset Salutations” have developed into her “Mind, Body, Spirit” series, more than 275 videos available to current students and employees to build strength, relieve stress, and achieve peace.  

At Lawrenceville, we know you best as a performing artist and dance instructor (and member of the Class of 2010!). How did you develop your interest/expertise in yoga and meditation?  

Kristin Devine: I developed my initial interest, or more correctly disinterest, through Lawrenceville. {Lawrenceville Director of Dance} Derrick Wilder has been way ahead of the curve, carving out five minutes for meditation since my first class with him in 2007. As a student, I used to hate those five minutes, believing I was supposed to “clear my mind.” Unsurprisingly, I was not very good at it.

Fast forward to adulthood, with the tenacity of a Lawrentian, my days were jam-packed and my undiagnosed anxiety disorder fed on the buzzing. In addition to therapy and medication, meditation was a saving grace. As I practiced, I found that my inner critic could babble away, but I didn’t have to let it upset me as I had for most of my life. As I practiced, I had more mental space to enjoy my life. Although my teenage self didn’t enjoy it, meditation has been the greatest gift a teacher or mentor has ever given me. HUGE SHOUTOUT to Derrick for introducing me - and so many Lawrentians - to the world of mindfulness.

Yoga came to me in preparation for a role. I played Val (in “A Chorus Line” at Connecticut Repertory Theater) who sings, “Dance Ten, Looks Three.” When I learned I would be performing in a yellow bikini, I asked my dance teacher what I could do to get toned quickly. She introduced me to a yoga teacher who taught Vinyasa (a fast flowing form of yoga) at sauna temperatures. The fitness aspect got me in the room. The focus on breath and finding acceptance with discomfort is what has kept me practicing. It’s a practice that cultivates and honors light, “the light in me honors the light in you,” is something I can always use more of in my life. 

Why did you decide to start doing the meditation and yoga videos when Lawrenceville was on remote learning? What were your initial goals? What audience did you have in mind? 

KD:  I started “Sunset Salutations” because I knew how healing my own practice had been. During that time of upheaval, I wanted to help others find a practical way to self-heal. But it never could have happened without Derrick, who advocated for the project and has been vocal at Lawrenceville about the benefits of mindfulness. My initial goals were to introduce others to a practice that might make a difficult time a tiny bit easier. Derrick and I spoke frequently about how meditation and yoga can help everyone, and that we wanted the classes to be for everyone. I was intentional to use language that would educate any beginning meditation student. As the course progressed, I’ve offered opportunities for practitioners to dive deeper, offering full 30 minute meditation sessions. I’ve been pleased to learn that long-time meditators are enjoying the course, and many in the community who utilize them are trying meditation for the first time.

Why have you decided to continue making the videos? What are your goals now?  

KD: I have continued because it has been successful in helping others. I am amazed at the feedback I receive from those who have used the videos. I received a thank you note from someone who told me that they were diagnosed with cancer, and that they watch a video every day (even when I’m not producing videos) and that they have been invaluable. If others are valuing the videos, I won’t stop making them. My goal is to create content that resonates and helps the community at Lawrenceville.

Can you talk about your creative process in building the yoga sequences? The meditations? 

KD: The rigorous schedule of the Lawrentian largely informs my curriculum. I hope to build physical and mental exercises that will coordinate with the daily life of students and teachers. When we’re spending most of our hours in front of a computer, we create tension in the shoulders, so I make sure during major assignments week I focus on “tech neck” and stretch through the neck and shoulders. When interims are coming out, I might make sure that I use a variety of anchor meditations, to focus the mind and help meditators to find respite from the torment of “how will I be received?” I am lucky to have both the student and employee perspective, and try to meld those experiences to craft the course.

Watch Mind, Body, Spirit Meditation “Power Pack” video to address stress, mindfulness, sleep, relaxation, and compassion.

Devine-Jones is an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, riding instructor, and meditation coach. One of 12 students to graduate from the BFA Musical Theater Conservatory at the University of Miami, Devine has performed from Shakespeare to Sondheim at professional theaters in New York City, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Delaware, and Florida, alongside notable performers including Leslie Uggams, Pat Sajack, Adam Heller, and Liz Larsen.  

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.