Tag Archives: San Francisco

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: Trying New Studios

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Before I joined Haute Yoga Queen Anne, I tested out about a dozen studios in the Seattle area using new student deals. This allowed me to learn a bit more about the instructors’ teaching style and the community before officially joining. I think this is an important step because, unlike working out at the gym, you are part of a collective experience in yoga class. If you’re not on the same page with the message the instructor is delivering, you’ll just be distracted the entire class and counting the minutes until class is over.

All this is to say that I love trying out new studios because I always find something that I like about others’ approaches to teaching yoga. While visiting my family this weekend in Beaverton, Oregon, I did a quick search for studios in the area and wasn’t surprised to learn that there were but a handful around. Most of the studios are within Portland, and even Portland’s yoga community is still “growing up” compared to the likes of Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

Of the slim pickings in the area, I chose to go to Hot Yoga For Life, a studio tucked away in a shopping center right off of T.V. Highway. On the outside, the space looked like it could barely house a practice room, but as soon as you walk in you see that the studio is the size of about four practice rooms combined. It is all very modern and clean, with tons of space to store your things and a nice little vanity area to get ready after a morning workout. What I really loved is that the studio offers all new students a $10 deal for three weeks of unlimited yoga!

I was surprised to see that I was one of four students to arrive 15 minutes before class. I’ve gotten into the habit of arriving 15-20 minutes early to secure my spot in the room. With just about 5 minutes to spare, the room began to fill up with a total class size of about 20. Then again, it was 8:30 on a Saturday morning.

This practice was primarily focused on the physical workout itself. We went through several dancing warrior series and kept flowing for the 75 minutes, as opposed to going through a peak pose. This was great – sometimes you just need a solid workout to energize your body. One thing I was missing, though, was the therapeutic release I get through yoga. There was no Silvia or JL to guide my self-study and challenge me. It was all up to me.

And I hated it. I was way too distracted by my own mind. I kept looking at the clock and thinking, “When is this over?” I was annoyed that my towel kept moving during the flow. Then I couldn’t hold my warrior poses because my feet started slipping on my towel. My mat was right under a heater, and I’ve never felt a mat so hot in my life. I was annoyed that my feet felt like they were scorching as I balanced on one leg.

I know, this all sounds miserable, but I hope you’re not making judgments about Hot Yoga For Life because the real message here is that I made it seem miserable. It was my own inability to see the glass as half full and instead make a fuss over nothing.

And that’s the power of yoga – to help you realize how you react when the going gets tough. That day, I was not in a good mood, and not even yoga was going to help me. So instead of making the most of it, I decided I just wasn’t going to like it and would power through for the sake of powering through.

What has yoga helped you discover about yourself? Have you had similar experiences when testing out new studios?

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!