Jennilee Toner is student and teacher of yoga and human anatomy and the author of The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga. She has been practicing Hatha and Vinyasa yoga since 1996, teaching Hatha and Vinyasa yoga since 2003 and teaching experiential anatomy to yoga teachers in training internationally since 2010. She has also been teaching her own Hot Warrior Yoga 200-hour teacher training courses since 2012 and Inner Sanctum Yoga 300-hour teacher 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 her young mother, Jennilee found herself waking up to the fact that she wanted to be a kind and compassionate person, wanted to live her life intimately aware of the tender bitter-sweetness of each moment. In that illumination, in that wanting, she found herself at her 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, For the first time Jennilee felt the precious interconnectedness of all things. She has been a lover and practitioner of yoga ever since!
To teach or not to teach…
There really was no question. Already a belly dance and fitness instructor, Jennilee immediately
knew that yoga would be a perfect complement to any workout regime. At first, Jennilee taught
from a purely physical fitness standpoint…oh how she can still ROCK a good kick-butt cardio
flow! Then, just as all things in this universe organically evolve, Jennilee began to both expand
and deepen her perspective. In the process of practising Bikram yoga 6 days a week consistently for two years in Key West, she witnessed tremendous shifts in her body, in her mind, and in her heart. In 2008 Jennilee found her 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 Jennilee shaved her head and enthusiastically embarked on the inevitable journey of a yogi into Self…a ten-day silent (no eye contact) Vipassana style meditation retreat. Oh, how her mind entertained her for 8 of those 10 days! While she was supposed to be focusing her mind solely on her breath and the sensations in her body, Jennilee found her mind continuously wandering. By day eight of the retreat she had created (in her head - no writing utensils were allowed) 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) - plus the teacher training format and the manual that would accompany it. It was only on the 9th day of the retreat did she finally quiet her mind in order to concentrate deeply.
The best job in the world
Jennilee feels lucky to be able to travel the world and teach three of her passions: Human Anatomy, Injury Prevention and Vinyasa Yoga. She feels blessed to work with the best yoga teachers in the field: Vidya Heisel, Jennifer Yarro and and the amazingly awesome training team of Frog Lotus Yoga Teacher Trainings, her top-notch training team for Hot Warrior Yoga Teacher Trainings, and the creators of the five New York trainings and numerous national and international trainings she teaches 'Yoga Anatomy and Language & Myths of the Asanas' for. Jennilee is also an integral part of the EkhartYoga team, writing anatomy articles for our blog, teaching classes on our website, and for the last two years, teaching Embodied Yoga Anatomy for Esther Ekhart in her yoga teacher trainings.
And now ...
After writing and self-publishing The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga (illustrated by the talented and focused, Suzanne Martin) and travelling for two years on an around-the-world Perfect Chaturanga Book and Workshop tour, Jennilee's enthusiasm and passion for teaching safe and intelligent yoga continues to grow. Much of her time is now split between the loves of her life (Dan and their two "fur-babies" Papousa and Beagle Baby) and travelling both in the US and Europe, spreading the good news that SAFE YOGA ROCKS!