“My passion for cooking comes from my desire to care for people, myself included, and bring people together so I suppose that is how cooking and yoga are similar for me”. says Jenna. Read her inspiring story and check out her website: Jenna Hill Yoga.
What got you interested in yoga?
I had a very silly accident involving high heels that caused major damage in my right foot and ankle. After that, anything high impact was out of the question so I had to find a way to keep moving that would also allow me to heal. That’s when Hip Hop Yoga took over my life!
What inspired you to transition from student to teacher?
I’d been in the mental health field for almost 10 years working with various populations in high-stress environments. I began to notice how my yoga practice helped me sleep more soundly and I began to wonder if yoga could help others, especially those struggling with anxiety, depression, or trauma. It has always been my passion to help people feel better, so becoming a yoga teacher was a natural way for me to discover and offer to others the healing I had found in my own practice.
How has your work changed your life?
Oh, wow, so much has changed I don’t even know where to begin! Teaching yoga is such a gift, I treasure it, my students, and my practice every single day. I’m a tough nut to crack sometimes and my yoga practice/teaching yoga has taught me to let my guard down and be more vulnerable. I was homeless for a little while, and some amazing people allowed me to be in their homes for periods of time and yoga was given to me as a gift. I’ve always struggled with accepting help, but my training and my opportunity to practice would not have been possible without the kindness of others. My entire trajectory was altered by that gift and my life forever changed for the better.
Where’s your favorite place in Boston to do yoga?
I’m not 100% committed to any one studio. I think it’s important to experience different teachers and styles because I always want to remain a student too. But if I have to choose, I’d pick my roof, the view is pretty incredible!
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Completing my yoga training was a huge deal for me. It was something I had wanted for so long and it wasn’t easy, but with some help I was able to make it happen and for that I am forever grateful. I’m equally proud that I’ve been able to create a sustainable business doing what I love. I’ve struck a balance between working in studios and creating my own offerings, including PopUpAsana, a business I co-founded with another yoga teacher that brings the yoga class to you. I never imagined I’d be an entrepreneur, but I think my practice gives me the courage to take those risks and still feel safe.
Your blog has a lot of recipes on it, what got you into cooking?
I’m Italian so I got the cooking bug very early on from my grandmother. I also have an allium allergy(onions), and onions are in everything so cooking allows me to eat things that I normally wouldn’t be able to have.
How are your passions for food and yoga connected?
This is an interesting question. My passion for cooking comes from my desire to care for people, myself included, and bring people together so I suppose that is how cooking and yoga are similar for me. When I can offer something that is nourishing, whether literally or metaphorically, I feel like that’s my best gift to others.
Photo credits: Lucie Wicker Photography