3 ways that bring joy - with Jennifer Allen
Jennifer was born and raised on the East Coast of the States, and she spent her childhood in Baltimore. It was a very American 1980s upbringing – her older brother played ice hockey and Jennifer was heavily involved in dance and these activities dominated after school and weekends. In her early adulthood Jennifer moved to New York City where she did a double major in dance and music performance. She became a performer as part of a national touring company and spent 10 years involved in dance and music theatre.
In her 20s Jennifer experienced a dance related spinal injury which caused a major rethink of her grueling work schedule. With earlier involvement in pilates, it was around this time she discovered yoga which was becoming increasingly popular in NYC. Jennifer took up an opportunity to manage a yoga studio. She fell in love with the practice of yoga and this became a turning point for her. Her interest expanded from the body/asana focused practice popular at the time, into exploring the other aspects of yoga practice.
She met her husband on a cruise ship where he was working and they have recently celebrated their thirteenth wedding anniversary. She has been a yoga teacher for the last 16 years – in the early days she was involved in the Byron Bay Yoga Centre and whilst she was based in NZ with her husband, she would spend a lot of the year travelling to Australia and Indonesia. Jennifer also completed her yoga therapy degree covering pre and post-natal yoga.
Jennifer and her husband have two beautiful children, and with the constant travel beginning to take its toll she realised that she needed to create a simplified lifestyle. She began developing her own training methodology and began work on creating her 200hr and 300hr training manuals. Jennifer Allen Yoga Auckland – or JAYA for short was born. The phrase ‘safe sustainable yoga for life’ encapsulates the philosophy and teaching methodology behind Jayayoga, one that Jennifer has created to serve her community of students and to provide a place of authentic understanding of yoga in all its facets.
Her focus on safe, sustainable yoga comes from a deep desire to ensure practices are safe and do not cause injuries, and serve people holistically and consciously. After two years of training yoga teachers in studios around Auckland, Jennifer began looking for a venue close to home to create her own studio. This led her to the special place that is Jayayoga in Birkenhead on Auckland’s North Shore. Jayayoga offers 200 and 300hr yoga teacher training courses, a comprehensive weekly timetable of yoga practices, special events and workshops and an annual retreat. Jayayoga studio celebrated its two year anniversary in August 2018.
3 ways that bring joy
My family – family is everything. Time with my family, experiencing those everyday moments, truly experiencing those moments with my husband and beautiful kids – walks on the beach, cuddles, time we all spend together with our Pug who is a big part of our family. It is so grounding to be with my family and this to me is the ultimate bucket-filler.
My yoga mat– to connect to the sacred space that comes from being on my yoga mat. Yoga now is so much more to me than it ever was before – it is a deeply spiritual practice, it allows me to connect with a universal energy and provides a truly safe space to be. It brings me such joy whether its 10 mins or an hour on my mat.
Tribe of friends – I have a close-knit tribe of friends who bring me an immense amount of joy. They are there for me unconditionally for support, hugs, love with no questions asked. We uplift and support each other fully.
One thing people could do to create a kinder, better NZ
Avoid/reduce plastic use – NZ’s land, it’s whenua has a sacred energy – you can see it when you are out in the NZ landscape. One thing we could all do is reduce our plastic use. We really need to solve the issue of single use plastic and reduce or avoid it all together. My family are really involved in this plastic-free mission now and we are making conscious choices to reduce plastic use, especially single-use plastic. My son is really on board with it – at 5 years old he knows the serious impact this can have on marine animals and our marine life so is happy to help others know about the environmental impacts of their choices e.g. at the supermarket checkout!
You can find out more about Jayayoga including their teacher training programmes here: