by Angela Wurtzel
One of our newest teachers at SBYC, monica jayne, comes to us from Reno, Nevada, where she found yoga over a decade ago during her freshman year of college. The accredited, four-month curriculum involved more than just asanas; it included a deep understanding of the principles, history, theory and philosophy of yoga. A natural at understanding how the body works and applying yoga philosophy to life, monica jayne infiltrates her classes with specific knowledge that brings her students a depth to their practice in just one hour. Her soft approach and basic love for people is quickly felt as you enter the space she provides.
monica jayne’s own desire to get to know herself better is the main tenet of what drew her to yoga in the first place. She had moved away from her family for college and was embarking on a novel journey. She says her introduction to yoga was not an “amazing, pivotal story like most teachers have, but what I had already been doing my whole life. Yoga theory put ancient terms and definitions to my life practice. I didn’t see it as the answer or what I had been waiting for. I simply felt at home.” I asked monica jayne to offer some of the terms she learned as labels for what she was already practicing. She offered her own definitions too:
self observation of actions, reactions, interactions, responses, beliefs, behaviors, etc.; a mindful awareness of how each layer of your being is relating with living this life
offer all actions to the Source of life; when practicing this you it feels like you are moving from that place within you that is alive when you hug or caress someone you really care about
(monica jayne specifically creates her 11am T/Th class, “It’s Happening” Yoga, to facilitate this experience so you can apply it off the mat in all you do.)
allowing the mind freedom from the emotional waves caused by the senses
consciously uniting body, mind and spirit through breath awareness and movement
monica jayne never believed she could become a yoga teacher: “I had a false perception: I saw yoga teachers as perfectly packaged gods and goddesses with no human tendency or issue! They seemed to always be so peaceful, so calm, so together. It was inconceivable that I could ever be that way but I sure wanted what they had!” In an effort to learn more about the yoga lifestyle and motivated to deepen her own practice she enrolled in yoga teacher training. Her teacher, Kimberlee Orenstein, in Reno offers a curriculum that facilitates this exactly.
But, before long, the message during teacher training had been too loud to ignore. “You are right where you belong. You shine and can help others shine too.” monica jayne states that she didn’t seek teaching positions. She was called and offered classes by studio and gym owners that knew her and found out she was in training. Before she knew it, she was teaching up to 16 classes and at least 3 private clients a week. “That is where I found myself. It just sort of happened.”
monica jayne had been working in corporate America and slowly began to realize the debilitating effects on her body, mind and spirit. At the same time, her mother was given a 0% chance to survive her cancer diagnosis and she became her caretaker. It was at this point, and perhaps no mistake, that monica jayne started her 8-month teacher training program.
“The lessons of yoga philosophy and training were probably 30 times more powerful than if I was not going through the 12-month-long experience of watching my mother’s transition out of this world as we know it. I watched the importance of material things dissipated for her. Mom used to love to have the shades drawn back a certain way and one day I asked her how she wanted the shades and she said it didn’t matter. She asked with a voice that sounded like a two-year-old, ‘Why am I losing my love of morning sun?’ She made her transition 3 days later.”
Late last year, monica jayne took a leap of faith and moved to Santa Barbara to be with her partner John, who is working to attain his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at UCSB. When I asked her how it has been for her in Santa Barbara, she replied, “Hard. Losing my mom and leaving everything I have known and having to seek things out rather than be offered opportunities because I’m surrounded by people who know me has been very different.”
monica jayne has been steadfast in making a life for herself in Santa Barbara and feels the need to help people. Not only does she offer services as a yoga teacher and spiritual counselor, she is also a pet/housesitter, a raw vegan nutrition bar inventor, and an artist offering henna body art, jewelry, clothing, accessories and seiza benches – most of which you can see displayed at Santa Barbara Yoga Center. She deeply believes that she has loving energy to offer people and is using her memories of community from Reno to navigate creating one here in Santa Barbara. By incorporating self observation (svadyaya) as part of her toolbox, she has dialogue with her own openness, availability and willingness to let things unfold in a way she did not preconceive.
monica jayne’s Classes
When I asked monica jayne what people could expect from her class she responded, “Hopefully nothing. I mean as far as the outcome goes because when we have veils on they can fog and roadblock the flow of what could happen for us.” I pushed a little bit because some people might really want to know what she lovingly offers.
“My classes are described by students as being alignment aware and breath-centric, with an encouraged and facilitated, deep mind-body-spirit connection. I hold space that becomes a sacred safe space for people to let down their walls and veils, to let be what is.”
monica jayne adds, “I consider myself a Spiritual Counselor. My classes are a place for people to break down and build back up. Students can expect yoga philosophy and theory, something to ponder and apply to how they live their life, laughter and smiles, a little massage and healing touch, essential oils, music that encourages opening and me singing and chanting to them throughout.”
In closing, monica jayne stated, “I was told by an Astrologer that I am a ‘Mother of the Earth.’ In my presence, people feel safe to be open and vulnerable as well as nurtured and loved by me and most importantly, by the Self.”
Enjoy class with monica jayne Tuesdays & Thursdays at Santa Barbara Yoga Center:
11:00am “It’s Happening!” Yoga
A meditative, guided, moving exploration to sense and experience your deepest Self.
5:15pm To Asana and Beyond!
Gain awareness of your body and how it affects your life experience.