Meet a Teacher: Jenn Andrews

Posted by on Nov 30, 2018 in carson city yoga studio, meet a teacher | 2 comments

Jenn Andrews

Jenn Andrews

Our meet a teacher feature went on hiatus in November due to some technical difficulties, but we are back this month, and our featured teacher for December is one many of you know already…. Jenn Andrews was the owner of Yoga Sol before we transitioned to new owners and became Carson City Yoga. We are fortunate that Jenn stayed on with us as a teacher. In this interview, you get to find out a little more about her background, and what she is up to these days.

CCY: Let’s start with just a brief background…. how did you come to yoga?

Jenn: I came to yoga about 20 years ago, on the recommendation of an office mate of mine. Back then, I had obtained my Master’s in Clinical Psychology and was working to become a Marriage and Family Therapist.  I was suffering from some back issues, being a mom with little ones and needing some “me” time, so I went to a yoga class. In that first, single class, something profoundly and deeply touched me, and I remember thinking to myself… is anyone else feeling this right now?  I was really curious about my experience, and I didn’t have any context from any previous explorations. So I knew instantaneously that this was big, and I felt something shift almost at a DNA level. It was beautiful, and profound, and so organic and deeply rooted, that I just didn’t have any words for it.

I have been blessed with great teachers along the way. From that very first class, I decided to go deep, because it had moved me so much.  I began “sponge-like” trying to read and understand as much about yoga as I possibly could. I exhausted a lot of avenues by reading books, continually adding to my library. I sought out and found some of the best teachers who were in our community 20 years ago, including Angela Sullivan and Sally Schuster.  I went to class, and I practiced, and I studied, and I developed a home practice, not even knowing how to do that. I discovered what it meant to roll out my mat every single day. Sally became a very deep teacher for me, and I have been with her all along this path, and continue to work with her when I can.

CCY: You mentioned that you studied and read a lot in the beginning. Is there a book that comes to mind that you might recommend to someone just starting yoga?

Jenn: Oh gosh, I can’t single out just one. I just read everything I could get my hands on, with this hunger and thirst, and wanted to take in as much as I could. That’s a hard one to answer…. I have different books in different realms…  and for me, everything was impactful. Everything was, and is, of value. It all took me to different perspectives, or things were repeated by different authors in a different voice that brought a new perspective, and I just continued to do…. well it seemed like research. It was in my nature. I felt like I had to research this whole thing as much as possible.

Jenn teaching half moonCCY: So you studied and practiced for many years…. what was the progression into teaching?

Jenn: During my personal studies of yoga and meditation I continually felt a very strong call to work with people differently than just a traditional therapy setting. I continued as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but it took me many years to fully answer this call.  I reached a point where I had exhausted my research, and I needed a way to go deeper.  So taking a teacher training was my way of taking it to the next level. I had no idea at that time, and no mindset of ever owning a studio. Teaching yes, but owning a studio was not in my awareness.

I went to study at Yoga Loka because I wanted to continue to learn. I just needed to go to that next level. With the encouragement to create and teach classes,  I sought out opportunities to teach, and looked for places to teach. I didn’t really know what I was doing, other than just trying to be authentic as a teacher, and applying everything I had studied and learned.  As soon as I started teaching (and this feels very humbling) I had many students tell me… you really need to be doing this. Others were were seeing something in me that just felt so natural and wonderful, that I was just like ok, maybe I will take this to the next level. And hence, further along that path, I opened my own studio, Yoga Sol here in Carson City.

My defining moment to fully commit to teaching and to my studio was the day I released my MFT license. This was huge, as it was no easy endeavor to become an MFT. However, this defining moment completely allowed me to dive deep into the essence of what yoga means to me… hence my dharma.

CCY: So you opened Yoga Sol in 2012, and owned the studio until the end of 2017.  So here’s a question that people might be curious about… when the studio transitioned to new owners, and became Carson City Yoga, what was behind your decision to stay on and teach and continue to be part of the studio?

Jenn: Oh, I don’t have a choice not to teach!  What happened was that the universe invited me to go beyond the studio, and to stretch myself internationally and domestically in both realms of yoga asana and meditation. But at the same time, I was, and I am deeply connected to the community of Carson City Yoga. I really put my heart and soul into the development of Yoga Sol, and I have no interest to be disconnected to the teachings here in my own community.  It is in my opinion that we have a beautiful location and the most beautiful students, and the rare and beautiful energy of the teachers. That’s why I stay connected – because it nourishes me in a way that I am still being called to show up. I feel the call to show up here and teach in my own community, and I also feel the call to teach in other locations on planet earth.

CCY: Well, we are glad you are here! Thank you for still being a part of the studio.

Jenn: Oh gosh, I have to be! I asked the universe – please help me find a way to make all of this happen, and it happened and here we are. Yay!

CCY: So, Jenn, we will come back to what you are doing outside of the studio, but first, can you tell me what yoga means to you?  How would you define it?

Jenn: I believe my definition would not be found in any text, or defined by traditional measures. Yoga to me is the truth of my essential nature. I love and adore and value all of the teachings, all that there is and will continue to be in discovery through asana and meditation. Yoga is a truism for me. It is a truthful and authentic essence of who and what I am meant to be on planet earth.

It is an embodiment of what is in my essential nature.  This is why I am excited for the meditation workshops that are coming up. In teaching classes, in holding workshops, in creating teacher trainings and all of these other endeavors, it brings me back to really knowing my stuff, being wise in, and really claiming my level of expertise, and then the embodiment of that.  Like really walking the walk, living that. That’s what yoga is to me – the embodiment of all.

CCY: Can you talk a little bit about your path into meditation, the connection to yoga, and maybe a bit about that style of meditation?

Jenn: My path into meditation has been lifelong. But to really take ownership and claim a path of meditation started 8 plus years ago. It was through my teacher training that I met my meditation teachers.  The very first night that I met Camille – she came from Southern California to Reno for a weekend workshop – and that very first night that I met her, the opening of her meditation struck me as profoundly as that first yoga class. And I knew in that moment that new pathways and new doorways were opening for me.  In fact, Camille was offering private sessions after that workshop, and I went and had a session with her that Monday, and have been connected to her as my teacher ever since then.

So the style of meditation is a beautiful pathway – it is a pathway of intimacy and instinctual essence of really honoring our unique self, and finding our own intimacy with life, as opposed to possible detachment or renunciation of parts of the self.    Meditation Secrets for Women and Radiance Pranava Meditation, taught by my teachers Camille Maurine and Dr. Lorin Roche, are wedded together and bound together (literally, Camille and Lorin are married).

“Meditation Secrets for Women” is the embodiment of what women need in meditation for a lifelong, thriving practice.  Radiance Pranava Meditation uses The Radiance Sutras.  This is an ancient text, the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, that my teacher Dr. Lorin Roche translated from Sanskrit into English.  It is 112 gateways into the yoga of wonder and awe. And so that is the essence of our meditation teachings and practices.

CCY: So the Sutras are doorways into the meditation?jenn teaching

Jenn: Yes! They can be. There are thousands and thousands of doorways into the meditation practices. And why? Because we are so unique, and our individual zest for life is how these teachings work. There are 112 verses in the Radiance Sutras that you can dive into, and it is just an incredible supportive text for a healthy practice.

CCY: So you have a series of “Meditation Secrets” workshops that you offer. Can you talk about those?

Jenn: Yes. The series that I am offering through Carson City Yoga is based on Meditation Secrets for Women. There are 12 secrets, so in the workshop series we take 3 secrets at a time and dive more deeply into them. There are 4 workshops offered every 2 months, with 3 secrets in each workshop. The first round will be completed this January (that workshop is scheduled for January 26th)  and then I will be repeating the entire series every 2 months through 2019.

CCY: Do these workshops need to be taken in a particular order, or can a person come to any of them at any time?

Jenn: It would be ideal to have a student flow through the entire series from beginning to end, BUT anyone can come to any of the workshops at any time. So, the “ideal” would be to commit to all of the workshops as they support one another so beautifully.  However, I am very open and welcoming to what works best for students of meditation. These are foundational teachings of this style of meditation… to welcome and embrace all without the need to edit or deny any of our practices. Thus, if a particular date and time of a workshop does not work for someone, why deny them the opportunity to attend at a time that does work for them? It is my philosophy, “the door is always open!”

CCY: You also teach yoga asana classes here at the studio. How do your meditation offerings and your yoga asana classes weave together?

Jenn: They are not, and could not be separate from one another. It is an embodiment of my practice that I bring to the stage as a teacher. So yes, I am passionate about being a sound, healthy, compassionate, fun yoga asana teacher, AND I am so devoted to the elements of a healthy meditation practice, that I just weave it into every single class.  That may mean I sequence a yoga class to support a particular meditation or offer a meditation to support the yoga journey.

CCY: Is there a particular person who might be suited to your classes?

Jenn: Oh I think it’s for everyone. I am comfortable teaching all levels of yoga, so I don’t have a particular preference for a style of yoga. Because I have studied for so long, I just feel comfortable with working with who shows up for class. So I don’t want to exclude anyone, and I don’t want to narrow myself in what I know to be true in my teachings, and so I would say anyone is welcome.

Jenn AndrewsCCY: In addition to your teaching at CCY, you mentioned that you are wanting to spread your wings and move out into other venues. You have some exciting things coming up… do want to talk about that?

Jenn: Yes. A colleague and friend of mine, Dr Patti Shelton and myself, we have created Bhavana – some of the translations of Bhavana are infusion, so to infuse, to suffuse, to steep – that is the essence of Bhavana. So we have created Bhavana School of Yoga and we have a 3-week teacher training in August of 2019 in Costa Rica. It is going to be intense, because it is a 3 week course. The immersion of what we are going to be doing there feels really good, and so we are very excited. We are booked, we are going, and there is space to sign up, and that will be happening August 10-31, 2019.   People can find more information about that on the Bhavana School of Yoga website.

CCY: So Jenn, how would you say that you live your yoga off the mat?

Jenn: My Yoga is this minute, and this minute, and the next and the next. It is such a moment to moment embrace of being in my own energy and intention and practice, and I think there is way more good in this world than not. The news shows us what is wrong with the world, and I am way more interested and look for everything that is right in the world. And I think that is the essence of my yoga, that is really the essence of my yoga – yes, my practices are for the betterment of self, but even more… it is for the betterment of all.

Living yoga off the mat is where the rubber meets the road – it’s life. If you abandon your practices when things get tough then you are denying yourself the grace and the beauty of the teachings. It has to be in every minute, but with an understanding to our humanism.  It is not about perfection, it is not about being better than anyone else. It is about being on our own path in a way that we follow our call, maybe our obligation or duty in the world with respect for self and others. It’s not about perfection – that’s not helpful. Yoga off the mat is about not abandoning the practices once I step off my mat or cushion.

CCY: Is there anything else you want people to know about you as a teacher, or as a human? Or anything we haven’t covered here that you want to bring in to the conversation?

Jenn: I just am really grateful for my life. I will continue to study, and to devote myself to being a teacher in the world, of course. And, I love being alive. I love life. I love my family, my husband, my kids, my dog, my chickens, my friends…  I just love life. I really feel that the gift of yoga and meditation has allowed me to really claim that. Without apology, I love life.

CCY: Ok, we will finish off with a fun question – what is your favorite asana and/or your least favorite asana?

Jenn: I am going with a single asana for both the favorite and the least favorite. Parvritta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose). That started about 20 years ago.  I was intrigued by the gifts of practicing and learning and the alignment, and falling out and laughing and struggling and all that it took to practice parvritta trikonasana.  It is a 2 way street with me – it is one that I love, but it is one that is incredibly challenging for me in my body. So there was such intrigue about it for me, so I think it is my most coveted asana.

CCY: What did it teach you?

Jenn: So many qualities that I probably needed deeper lessons in.  Patience. Balance. Strength. And Humility. And Joy. Growth. It has provided me with so many qualities, and I would say it touched the full circle of emotions.  And still does! I would say it is my most coveted asana.

CCY: Jenn, thanks so much for sharing yourself with us today. If you all want to know more about Jenn, come try out her classes! She teaches Gentle Yoga at 9am on Tuesdays, Lunch Time Yoga at noon on Tuesdays, and Midweek Meditation (by donation) at our 7th St studio on Wednesday evenings at 5:30.

2 Comments

  1. I like to think I “discovered” Jenn, before she opened Yoga Sol ;o) I knew from the 1st class I took with her that she was special. You can’t explain it, but you know it when you’re there – her classes transcend movement and poses and breath and connect to your soul. The world would be a kinder place if everyone took yoga classes, especially with Jenn.

  2. A beautiful soul, inside and out. So glad to learn from Jenn every chance I get.