Jenniferlyn Chiemingo: “My Journey to Yoga”

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I’ve been taking classes with Jenniferlyn Chiemingo (JL) since I started practicing yoga, and there are many other yogis who can say the same. JL makes yoga accessible to the average person with great music, inspiring words and an energizing flow. I’m excited that JL has decided to share her story on “Yoga for the Soul” of her journey to yoga from her news producer role in San Francisco. In her own words:

When I was a kid in the 1970s (Yes, I am that old) – my mom did yoga.  She married young, but still wanted to be a cool hippy.  Growing up, we had yoga and meditation books around the house that my sister and I used to giggle about and make fun.  Little did I know I would make a career out of this path!

I’d always wanted to be a TV News Producer.  And I am the kind of person, who, once I decide something, it is done.  At 13, I decided.  I was relentless in my pursuit of that dream. I worked at a local cable television station, I applied to college to study journalism, and even watched Tom Brokaw nonstop. 

I graduated at the top of my journalism class and secured a job in the Midwest right out of college.  Not bad, really. Granted it was a small town and the ‘TV station’ was in the middle of a corn field, but I was the six and ten o’clock news producer. I was also the top writer, editor, and janitor too 😉

From there, I moved up quickly becoming an Executive Producer in a top 50 market by the time I was 24 years old.  It was high stress, but I thought I loved it. I was married young but then divorced young too.  I lived in tiny apartments and had to defer my student loans because of my measly salary. 

Then I moved up again. San Francisco.  I wasn’t sleeping, I had lock jaw, my chronic back injury flared up and I was married again.  We wanted a baby. But after three years of trying, we were still alone.

The doctors all said it was stress.  My mom suggested I try Yoga.  (Um, no way.) I was a runner, a cyclist, not a chanter and stretcher.  But mom made a bet with me; she would pay if I went to three classes.  Of course I hated the first; I tolerated the second and LOVED the third.  I was practicing several times a week. It helped me sleep, it helped me laugh, and it helped me find peace in a high stress job.  Then 9-11 hit. 

I was surrounded by horrific images and honestly felt so much pressure and pain.  I realized that day; my life was passing me by. I was a 3-time EMMY nominee but I had no children, barely saw my husband and was really unhappy.
I went home to my husband and said, ‘I want to be happy. I want to have a family.  I love yoga. I think I want to be a yoga teacher.  Can I give up my BIG salary?’ 

With time and planning, I did give up that job and that salary. 
This year, I just passed the 10 year mark of teaching yoga. That’s equal to the time I was a TV News Journalist.  I have a son and my husband and I have been married 13 years now.  Do I credit yoga with all this change, transformation and growth – You bet I do. 🙂 

You can join JL at Haute Yoga Queen Anne for one of her regular classes — you won’t regret it! 



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3 responses »

  1. So. I have been eyeing that place for months but it looks so snooty I didn’t give it a second thought! After reading about JL, I may have to give it a try. I’m also a an exTV producer and can totally relate to her experience.
    Tx for the Intv.

    • Hi Heather — That’s so great to hear! I actually did several “new student” deals in the area before committing to a studio that I was willing to pay a monthly membership for. JL — and frankly all of the instructors — are so relatable, and HYQA itself really does feel like a community. The owner, Leah Zaccaria, has an inspiring story herself. She opened the studio during the recession, leaving the security of her job in corporate America, and built the community from the ground up. I encourage you to try it out!

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