Jennilee Toner, author of The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga, has been practicing hatha and vinyasa yoga since 1996, teaching hatha and vinyasa yoga since 2003, teaching experiential anatomy to yoga teachers in training since 2010 and teaching her own Hot Warrior Yoga teacher trainings since 2012.
Why Yoga? After many years working as a Deputy Sheriff, training as a medic, military policewoman and drill sergeant for the US Army, and living in shock after the sudden death of her young mother, Jennilee found herself waking up to the fact that she wanted to be a kind person, wanted to live her life intimately aware of the tender sweetness of each moment, and in that illumination, in that wanting, found herself at her first yoga class. In an attic, standing in tree pose, weeping as the teacher read a poem about the unconditional giving of the earth’s trees, Jennilee for the first time felt the precious interconnectedness of all things. Jennilee has been practicing yoga ever since!
To teach or not to teach… There really was no question. Already a bellydance and fitness instructor, Jennilee immediately knew that yoga would be a perfect complement to any workout regime. At first Jennilee taught from a purely physical fitness standpoint…oh how she can still ROCK a good kick-butt cardio flow! Then, just as all things in this universe organically evolve, Jennilee began to both expand and deepen her perspective. In the process of practicing Bikram yoga 6 days a week for two years straight, she witnessed tremendous shifts in her body, in her mind, and in her heart. In 2008 she chose to study with Yogi Hari of Sampoorna Yoga (Sivananda lineage) in his ashram in Miramar, Florida. The study and then teaching of classical yoga began.
Silent Meditation and Hot Warrior Yoga In 2010 Jennilee enthusiastically embarked on the inevitable journey of a yogi into Self…a ten-day silent (no eye contact) Vipassana style meditation retreat. OMG…how her mind entertained her for 8 of those 10 days! While she was supposed to be focusing her mind solely on her breath and the sensations in her body Jennilee found her mind continuously wandering. By day ten she had created the 50 plus posture practice that is Hot Warrior Yoga. In eight days Jennilee wrote (inside her mind as no writing utensils were permitted) the 90 minute creative, intelligent and safe sequence, the teacher training format and the manual that would accompany it. It was only on the 9th day of the retreat Jennilee rested her mind and meditated deeply.
Where is Jennilee now? Jennilee has the best job in the world…traveling the world and teaching three of her passions: Human Anatomy, Injury Prevention and Vinyasa Yoga. She is so blessed to work with the best yoga teachers in our field: Vidya Heisel, Jennifer Yarro and and the amazingly awesome training team of Frog Lotus Yoga Teacher Trainings, her top notch training team for Hot Warrior Yoga teacher trainings and the creators of the five New York trainings she has taught Yoga Anatomy and Language & Myths of the Asanas for. Jennilee is also very excited (and super grateful) at her newfound relationship with Esther Ekhart: first writing for Esther’s blog, then becoming one of the teachers on ekhartyoga.com and next year, teaching Embodied Yoga Anatomy for Esther in her 2016 yoga teacher training. Only a quarter of the way through her two year around-the-world Perfect Chaturanga Book and Workshop Tour, Jennilee's excitement and passion about teaching safe and intelligent yoga knows no bounds. Catch her teaching her dynamic, fun and informative workshops in Europe, Canada, and US in 2015 and China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in 2016. You can also find Jennilee in Colorado, USA where she just moved with her partner Dan and their two dogs Beagle Baby and Scout. They have committed themselves to saving 19 lions, tigers, bears and one wolf of Lion’s Gate Sanctuary (one of the three charities The Perfect Chaturanga gives 15% of their profits to). In order to raise the funds to save the animals, Jennilee has started a yoga foundation, Durga Rides A Tiger, with a monthly newsletter received with donation. Jennilee and Dan’s future plans are to open a yoga-meditation retreat center to raise the necessary funds not only to simply save the animals but to fund all operating costs at the sanctuary. All this and book number two on its way!