November Teacher of the Month – Jenna Connor

1) How did you start practicing Yoga? Tell us about your early yoga experiences.

I started practicing yoga when I was in college, to relieve lower back pain that was partially caused by many years of dancing, and bad genes. I randomly went to a 6 am class donation class. The teacher’s name was Desirae and she was subbing the class. I continued to take class randomly around the city (Oklahoma City) and kept running into to Desirae. She grew to be my favorite teacher, and became the person who inspired me to teach.

2) When was the moment you knew that Yoga was different or special – more than just another “exercise” or way to be physical?

Throughout college I depended on yoga to relieve my lower back pain. During my last year of college, I started to realize that I was benefiting from my practice not only physically but mentally as well. It was a major contributor to relieving many of my anxiety, depression, and OCD symptoms. I think it was when I went on the Yoga hike with Desirae and a group of her followers that there was a whole lot more to yoga. We hiked to the top of a small mountain and did a short yoga practice. I felt so much ease, and felt a sense of community as I was surrounded by so many people with good intentions. I knew in that moment that there was a whole lot more to this practice.

3) What is your favorite and least favorite pose, and why?

My favorite pose is Peaceful Warrior, because I love heart openers and how it makes me feel like I’m dancing. My least favorite pose is shoulder stand because it almost always causes my back to hurt.

4) What practices do you use to feel more peaceful, present and content?

I practice Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) before my morning meditations. The combination of the two bring a great sense of ease and content for me. I also like to do restorative yoga poses, and leg up the wall pose at home.

5) What Yama or Niyama do your find most helpful in your daily life, and why? (Yamas are “observances” that are recommended for relating to the outside world, and Niyamas are observances for dealing with internal struggles)

I choose the first Yama: Ahimsa, non violence. To me this is a huge part of yoga and my everyday life. Non harming of others, all living things. I try my very best to spread kindness to everyone, and to be mindful of all living creatures. Naturally I’m a loving and giving person, there’s nothing violent about me. I feel we would live in a better world if more people practiced Ahimsa.

7) Tell me something about teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio ?!

I love teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio, because there’s such a wide variety of ages, and ethnicities amongst students and teachers. Yoga is for everyone, Harlem Yoga offers a variety of classes catering to all types of people. That’s what yoga is about!