my story...so far
My name is Jennilee Toner and I am a student and teacher of yoga and human anatomy. I am the author of The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga, I have been practicing hatha and vinyasa yoga since 1996, teaching hatha and vinyasa yoga since 2003, teaching experiential anatomy to yoga teachers in training internationally since 2010, teaching my own Hot Warrior Yoga 200 hour teacher trainings since 2012 and Inner Sanctum Yoga 300 hourTeacher Trainings since 2016.
In 1996, after many years working as a Deputy Sheriff, training as a Medic, Military Policewoman and Drill Sergeant for the US Army, and living in shock after the sudden death of my young mother, I found myself waking up in a flash to the fact that I wanted to be a kind and compassionate person. I wanted to live my life intimately aware of the tender bitter-sweetness of each moment. In that illumination, in that wanting, I found myself at my first yoga class...in an attic, standing in tree pose, weeping as the teacher read a poem about the unconditional giving of the earth’s trees, I, for the first time, felt the precious interconnectedness of all things. I have been a lover and practitioner of yoga ever since!
To teach or not to teach...
There really was no question. Already a bellydance and fitness instructor, I immediately knew that yoga would be a perfect complement to any workout regime. At first I taught from a purely physical fitness standpoint...oh how I can still ROCK a good kick-butt cardio flow! Then, just as all things in this universe organically evolve, I began to both expand and deepen my perspective. In the process of practicing Bikram Yoga 6 days a week consistently for two years in Key West, I witnessed tremendous shifts in my body, in my mind, and in my heart. In 2008 I found my way to Yogi Hari of Sampoorna Yoga (Sivananda lineage) to study with him in his Miramar, Florida ashram. The study and then teaching of classical yoga began.
Silent Meditation and Hot Warrior Yoga
In 2010 I shaved my head and enthusiastically embarked on the inevitable journey of a yogi into Self...a ten-day silent (no eye contact) Vipassana meditation retreat. OMG...how my mind entertained me for 8 of those 10 days! While I was supposed to be focusing my mind solely on my breath and the sensations in her body (for clear insight into the present moment) I found my mind continuously wandering into planning mode. By day eight I had created the 50plus posture practice that is Hot Warrior Yoga (a 75-90 minute creative, intelligent and safe sequence based on Bikram Yoga and Hot Power VInyasa), the teacher training format and the manual that would accompany it. It was only on the 9th day of the retreat did I finally quiet my mind in order to concentrate deeply.
Best job in the world
How did I get so lucky to travel the world and teach three of my passions: Human Anatomy, Injury Prevention and Vinyasa Yoga. I am so blessed to work with the best yoga teachers in our field: Vidya Heisel, Jennifer Yarro and and the amazingly awesome training team of Frog Lotus Yoga Teacher Trainings, my top notch training team for Hot Warrior Yoga Teacher Trainings, and the creators of the five New York trainings and numerous national & international trainings I have had the good fortune to have taught Yoga Anatomy and Language & Myths of the Asanas for. I have also had the good karma to be part of the Ekhart Yoga team: first writing anatomy articles for the blog, then becoming one of the teachers on ekhartyoga.com and for the last two years teaching Embodied Yoga Anatomy for Esther Ekhart in her yoga teacher trainings.
After writing and self-publishing The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga (illustrated by the amazingly talented and focused Suzanne Martin) and traveling with a two year around-the- world Perfect Chaturanga Book and Workshop Tour, my excitement and passion for teaching safe and intelligent yoga continues to grow. Much of my time is now split between the loves of my life (Dan and our two fur-babies Papousa and Beagle Baby) and traveling both in the US and Europe spreading the good news that SAFE YOGA ROCKS!