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YAA Interview: Jenny Fitzsimmons

December 1, 2011

1. Name: Jennifer Fitzsimmons

2. DOB: 03-02-1963

3. What style of yoga do you teach? Hatha and Kundalini

4. Where do you teach? Kwa Zulu Natal

5. How long have you been practicing yoga? 15 years

6. How long have you been teaching yoga? 12 years

7. Who have you trained with and where? Ishta School of Yoga and Health Athol Oaklands and 3HO Kundalini Yoga International Organisation

8. What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach? My life turned into total mayhem and ruin when my marriage spiralled into a whirlpool of emotional, physical and mental abuse. Within months I was left with absolutely no belief in myself whatsoever, no self-esteem and completely stripped of my self-confidence. I was then exposed to even greater pain, that of an unfaithful partner. I fell further, into the lower vibrations of insecurity, fear and grief, and turned to alcohol to numb the pain.

Around this time I began asking myself questions, like where “I” had gone to. What happened to ME? What happened to the girl who used to laugh, the girl who loved life and being with people; Where had Jennifer gone? I deeply missed that ME. I yearned with an aching heart to be her again. I was diagnosed with chronic stress and severe depression, and was prescribed with anti-depressants. My body rejected the medication completely. Within three months of starting them, I began to wean myself off the anti-depressants.
Three months later I was diagnosed with an irregularity of the cervix, which they diagnosed as cancer. I had just lost my business and was in the process of losing my house, my car and everything I owned. And I mean everything. I decided to take time out and began to study with a deep desire to save my health and life and to find ME. I began yoga classes at the gym. They really made me feel better, I attended these classes more regularly, never less than twice a week, I also began to meditate. One morning in meditation I very sincerely asked which direction I should take in life. The answer did not come immediately, but later that morning, whilst driving in solitude through remote areas, something came to my mind clearly, with an intense feeling: “Teach yoga”.
I began teaching yoga and slowly noticed my confidence and belief in myself beginning to grow again. By this stage my spiritual life was really working for me, and had become a way of living. My life was starting to fall into place again, and once I began to experience this I could not or would not live without my daily practice. I was beginning to build a strong and meaningful relationship with myself.
Within two to three months my client base increased to 70 students and I was giving three classes a day. I was blessed to earn more than enough by working for three hours a day, and was able to continue with my studies.
I later went on to study Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. The techniques also assist in raising physical, mental and emotional vibrations. I have been practising yoga now for 15 years and teaching for 12 years. I practise every morning of my life as a discipline and way of living. Yoga and meditation has become my natural medication.
I finally learnt how to respect, love and take care of myself and by so doing, of others. My life is fulfilled and complete and I am in control of that. Life’s challenges still continue but once I learnt that I create my very own reality through my thoughts, feelings and attitude towards them, I
was able to seek the opportunity beyond the challenge and move through them with much greater ease than before.
By taking responsibility for my wellness and life I slowly began to return to a stress-free, balanced and completely fulfilled life with a better understanding of myself, my health, body, mind and spirit, and my life. After being able to practice and maintain this state for the last 12 years, and teach it successfully to my students, I decided to share my studies with those who do not have the time for years of intense study, but want a successful remedy for psychosomatic disorders so that they can take care of their health and live fulfilled lives. I wrote and published a book which is a comprehensive yet very simply explained thesis on what I, from my studies, created as a personal formula to bring balance back to my life, and the remedies, (yoga , breath work and meditation), that worked for me.

9. What do you love most about teaching? The sharing of the miracles of yoga and watching people transform their nature through their practice

10. Is there a focus in your teaching style? Yes full presence on self

11. What do you love most about yoga? What it did for my life

12. What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga? As above

13. What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga? The experience is in the practice. One can read and study as much as you can. The transformation begins on the mat in practice.

14. Do you have a regular practice? Yes every morning of my life from 5am-6.30am it is my medication

15. Favourite Asana? All

16. Strongest Asana? All

17. Least Favourite Asana? None

19. What are your other interests? Life Coaching and stress management workshops. My other interests are writing. I have published Pathway to Wellness on Stress Management and emotional and mental balance in our world of tension. I have written another book Pathway to Success and am in the process of completing my third book Pathway to Freedom. I also teach stress management to the corporate market which includes yoga as the techniques.

18. Any religious affiliations? Yoga is not a religion it is a science of mind, body and spirit. If it was it would be the most beautiful I’ve studied as it teaches of a loving, understanding, forgiving God. We believe and practice peace, compassion and love. It can be used by people of any religious followers to deepen the experience of their religion. My personal belief on religion is that religion is something to believe in until you believe in yourself. It is us that is creating everything that is happening.

20. Any thank you’s ? To my wonderful Yoga Master Durgana Ingelthorpe and to God

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