This Is My Happiness: On the Yoga Mat – My Interview with Jenna Francisco Part 2

Teachers.

Don’t you just love them?

I know I do.

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my new series of interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!

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Have you met Jenna yet? She’s May’s Featured Teacher, professor, blogger and momma.

In case you missed it, here’s PART 1.

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When did you start practicing yoga?

In 1999 or 2000.

Why did you start?

I was curious.  I also had loved ballet as a child and took dance classes in college, and I wanted to get back in touch with something similar, something body-related and calming.

Where did you practice?

I enrolled in an 8-week series at an Iyengar studio in Iowa City,Iowa.  Then I enrolled in another and another.  I moved to Ohio shortly after that and continued with another Iyengar instructor.  Both of them were amazing, strong women in their fifties who could do crazy stuff with their bodies.  They inspired me to get more active and take care of myself.  At the time I had no idea I was learning a particular style of yoga, but I loved the Iyengar focus on body alignment and progression of poses, and I think it gave me a great foundation.


How has your practice evolved over time?

After I moved to Sacramento in 2002, I obviously was exposed to a lot more than just the Iyengar classes I’d been in.  I tried other styles and started practicing a lot at home.  My practice went through phases—sometimes very physical and other times less, depending on how I was feeling or who was teaching my regular classes.

In the 3+ years since I became a mom, it’s been all about enjoying myself and being in the moment.  During my last pregnancy, I had to honor the space I needed to deal with some challenges, so I haven’t been practicing much for the past year but will be reuniting with yoga soon.

Do you have a home practice? What is it like? How often? Where? How’d you start and how do you keep at it?

Before I had kids, I had a pretty regular home practice, sometimes all from me, sometimes from books, and sometimes from videos.  A home practice had 2 big advantages for me: it was free and I could do whatever I wanted.

After It’s All Yoga opened, I started going there for the Saturday and Sunday classes and fell in love with the studio.  The focus of my home practice shifted to restorative and regular meditation, but that has been very up and down.  I include yoga readings and related stuff, which have actually made me a much calmer and more focused person the last few years.  For example, Judith Lasater’s Living Your Yoga changed my outlook and made me happier.  Really.

I hope to get some of that back but will have to redefine it since I have no time to myself in my house now.

What’s your favorite pose? Why?

I have a few.  Triangle and Half-Moon are my favorite standing poses.  I practiced Half-Moon all through my other pregnancy despite the constant changes in the front of my body, so I associate that pose with strength and balance.  I love Pigeon and the feeling of backbends and forward bends.  Yummy.

What’s your least favorite pose?

Anything that requires arm or upper-body strength since I don’t have much.  Say Crow or Headstand, and I get nervous!  That has always been my weakness, so I used to work on it and made good progress, but that has all been lost the last few years.  I’d love to get it back someday soon.

What other blogs do your read? Why?

I mix friends’ blogs and other blogs that I feel pulled to.  For instance, I read yours—we have so much in common, so it’s really fun for me, and I love your recipes.  I read Michelle’s (Blogasana) because I love the way she writes and am inspired by her messages.

As far as other blogs, I read Raamdev.com regularly because he is a genuine, beautiful, special person on a real journey.  He always inspires me and makes me want to be a better human.

For fun, I love this San Francisco photographer’s sites: blog.adampaul.com and adampaulphotography.com.

And for food, which is a passion of mine, I read food52.com and Markbittman.com.  He’s a food genius.

My favorite travel blog is uncornernedmarket.com, written by an inspiring, witty, intelligent couple.  I am constantly wowed by their writing and photography.

Who or what inspires you?

That’s a really hard question!  People who are kind, simple, and interested in the betterment of all humans.  People, especially quirky or creative ones, who are 100% comfortable being themselves.  Societies that value slowness, simplicity, and equality.

I’m inspired to be in the moment every day, whether it’s just relaxing, spending time with my sons, or even going to work.  I’m inspired by history and art, and I won’t lie—I love to travel and want to live overseas, (both very outside-of-the-moment!), so I’m inspired to see as much of this world as I can in my short life.

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If you’d like to learn more about Jenna and her travels check out her blog, This Is My Happiness.

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Please leave any questions or comment love below – we’d love to hear from you.

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INTERVIEW ARCHIVES:

April 2010 Amy Estes, Just A Titch

March 2010 Anna Guest-Jelley, Founder Curvy Yoga

February 2011: Jed Brewer, Public School Teacher/Music Executive

December 2010: Madeleine Lohman, Yoga Teacher/Massage Therapist

November 2010: Alicia Herrera – 4th grade teacher/Textile Artist – Spirit House Designs.

October 2010: Ryan Fong – Teaching Assistant/PhD Candidate in English at UC Davis.

September 2010: Michelle Marlahan– Proprietress/Fairy Queen of It’s All Yoga in Sacramento, California.

One thought on “This Is My Happiness: On the Yoga Mat – My Interview with Jenna Francisco Part 2

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