I was born and raised in New York City. I graduated from a small, liberal arts college called Connecticut College with a degree in History and Political Philosophy. “Conn College’s” ideology was that their students should go out into the world and make a difference by exploring what they are passionate about — to never settle and to enjoy what they do. I graduated with this belief. I also graduated with a group of friends who to this day are my second family. After graduation I fell in love, traveled, and started a dog walking service. This was my background until January, 2000, when I moved to LA.
Once in LA, I discovered yoga. I began my yoga journey practicing Vinyasa Flow with Seane Corne and Vinnie Marino. Just like falling in love, my first year with yoga was euphoric. I glowed. Then a transition surfaced. As my physical body continued to open and strengthen, I began to feel vulnerable and anxious. I felt that layers upon layers were being peeled open, and I didn’t have the tools to integrate these new feelings. I continued to practice yoga. As my practice “advanced”, I started to feel the desire to “deepen” it. What was yoga beyond the physical? Why was so much coming up? I had a so many unanswered questions.
I enrolled in Yoga Works teacher training. This is where I met my mentor, Maty Ezraty. Maty was the founder of Yoga Works and it’s heart and soul. For the next five years, I was all hers. My anxiety and vulnerability became understandable and subsided. I developed a new fascination and respect for yoga. It went far beyond the physical. It became a cathartic, emotional and psychological trip during my mid-twenties which changed my life. I completed three trainings with Maty, studied Ashtanga with her five days a week and took her flow class on Sunday morning. She became a second mother.
In 2003, I began teaching at Yoga Works. Chuck Miller once quoted, “the more you know the more you know you don’t know.” This became and remains a meaningful foundation to my relationship with yoga and in life. In 2005, Maty and Chuck sold Yoga Works and moved away. This change was a challenge.
My mother once said to me, “The only thing in life that never changes is change.” After Maty left, I felt her loss deeply. I continued to practice and teach. At the time Maty left, I was a full time vinyasa flow teacher. However, in her empty Ashtanga Mysore Room remained my soul. Shortly after she left, I received a call asking me if I wanted to teach flow classes in her room at the old Ashtanga time. I felt sad because the only place I felt connected to Maty’s spirit was in her old room. Since she left, many of her students went elsewhere and the room seemed unable to breathe. I relayed the information about the flow class idea to the few students who still remained. Much to my surprise they asked me if I would be willing to teach the class. Traditionally, Ashtanga teachers have been practicing and apprenticing with a senior teacher for years. They have traveled numerous times to India and formed a relationship with Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, the creator of the Ashtanga method. I personally had done none of those things and felt unqualified. Furthermore, I was becoming very successful as a flow teacher, steadily building a reputation and earning a living. However, the thought of Maty’s room being turned into a flow class was almost unthinkable. With trepidation and the fear that many of my Ashtanga peers would not support the choice because of my lack of experience, I still decided to take over the class.
I am passionate about my teaching and students. I am very aware of alignment and the needs of different bodies. Maty’s training in this area was flawless. I encourage students to take chances and bring their sense of humor with them. I credit yoga for bringing balance and awareness to my life. Yoga has taught me how to embrace hard work and laughter. Yoga and Life are synonomous with relationships. Yoga opens up each individual’s relationship with themselves. There are good and bad days, high energy days and low, laughter and tears. Yoga hides nothing. Yoga reveals. When the body keeps moving towards optimal alignment in each asana and uses the breath to do so, then the student will move deeper. The deeper one travels the more physical and emotional space is created. Old energy, fear and unwanted habits will surface and be eliminated. New energy, openess and awareness will take their place. This gives way to a more authentic clarity of one’s self. It reveals who we are, of what our hearts may be saying, rather than the noise of the mind. As the mind quiets, our heart, soul, instincts, intuition and spirit will awaken. The journey is thrilling– a gift.
We work hard, smile and have a lot of fun with this crazy thing we call life/yoga.
For more information about Jesse, please visit her website at www.jesseshein.com.Jesse Schein,