Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Jenna McDonald.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

It was just a natural progression. It was never my intention to teach Yoga as a profession. After studying Vedanta and Sanskrit for the better part of decade, I was asked to teach and therefor looked for exceptional certification programs to create more mainstream exposure, but truthfully my roots are in meditation and decolonization. I have a BA in Native Systems of Education and worked as a teacher in wilderness based programs and outdoor education until having a son of my own. Now my yoga is a fusion of vedic teachings, asana and meditation.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

Your earnestness is worth more than anything. In time, the yoga will work on you – it will inevitably rearrange your entire way of being if you are earnest about your study.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR YOGA PHILOSOPHY?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

Well, to be most truthful – its not MINE at all. Nor do I have an interest in claiming a certain philosophy. That’s the whole point. Yoga entails a code for enlightenment and by boiling it down too far, by oversimplifying it, we limit our ability to see clearly. I would rather say that my approach to Yoga is traditional and I look for teachers and teachings that are able to ‘see for me’ and help me go far beyond my current perceptions. I do wholeheartedly believe that LOVE is the greatest Force there is and most of our troubles arise from not being willing to give and receive love freely.

IF YOU COULD PRACTICE WITH ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

My revered teacher Swami Tattvavidanadaji, an unknown Swami from Hyderabad, India. It’s been 4 years since I left the ashram and being a single mother with a young son–the right timing to return hasn’t yet presented itself. The lineage of teaching is so perfectly intact and his particular style of teaching the vedas is so complete and truthful it leaves nothing to be desired. It is a darshan (blessing) as much as it is a traditional teaching method. He also holds a Phd. in Sanskrit which allows an entirely different level of teaching to take place.

HOW LUCKY ARE YOU AND WHY?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

Interesting Question again. In traditional yogic teachings it is well understood that there is no such thing as luck. There is cause and effect. There is the magic and power of the human heart and mind aligned that truly creates miracles – but LUCK, I don’t really relate to that word. I see my privilege, I feel suffering, I acknowledge blessings when they arrive and I do my best to accept hardships with grace and love. I guess it’s interesting how we can feel incredibly “lucky” or blessed and then a moment later, when some unknown karma ripens – we find ourselves kind of twisted up by life. I am grateful when there is health, happiness and the leisure to contemplate.

IF YOU COULD BE AN ANIMAL, A PLANT OR AN INGREDIENT, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

A jaguar. I can only imagine how gracefully an animal with those muscles, vision, and build could move through a thick beautiful jungle.

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST FAVORITE THING ABOUT HUMANITY?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

I love the way that humans are always moving beyond their preconceived notions of reality, possibility and capacity. I feel like humans are remembering ‘what is really important in life’ when faced with some of the tremendous ecological, social and global crisis we are witnessing.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE THE LOCAL YOGA COMMUNITY TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald:

I ride a fine edge between extremely traditional yogic roots and neo-traditional yoga that emphasizes yoga as a means to bring creativity, joy and solutions to present day issues. Basically, in the face of fitness/business based yoga in west – I am deeply committed to maintaining and sharing true yoga as it was given/gifted to me. Mostly, I just want to remain a student for life and encourage TRUE yoga in any way that I can without “cutting off heads to make my form of yoga feel taller”. My method is simply to give attention to what is true and traditional in yoga to honor the lineage I come from – while understanding that students need and want non-dogmatic yoga.
I do hope to express that yoga is nothing short of a COMPLETE INNER REVOLUTION.

Jenna McDonald’s Bio: Jenna is a firm believer in miracles and using yoga to AWAKEN to what is. Her goal is to help each person live their fullest expression and find happiness without reason. She has been teaching since 2010 in the form of weekly classes, retreats, workshops and longer term programs (preparing others to truly teach without calling it ‘teacher training’). She now prefers to stay local and focus on Bainbridge Island and the greater Seattle area, creating depth in relationship. Her value for the Technique of Postures and Breath to heal the body and rearrange the mind inform her teaching style immensely. Although her personal practice is highly devotional, her teachings are rooted in tradition, anatomy, body mechanics and creating healthy and sustainable growth for students. She has studied with many reputable and life-changing asana teachers over the past 10 years and wishes to send a special thanks to Jeff Martens, Day Christensen, Nicki Doane, Eddie Modestini, Sky Akasha Tobias and Paulie Zink for teaching your art form and tradition with such power and grace.


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