Jennie Lee, Yoga Teacher and Author of True Yoga, is so gracious to answer a couple of questions about her new book Breathing Love: Meditation In Action, which I just read and highly recommend.
Jennie weaves personal stories with wise insights from her own meditation practice to lead you on your way to beginning a meditation practice or deepening your ongoing meditation practice. Full of tips and ways to make living from a place of love easy for anyone interested in living a new way. With ideas for daily practices, exercises to help with self-reflection, and many helpful strategies for overcoming stumbling blocks I’m certain you’ll refer back to this again and again. My highlighted copy sits next to my meditation cushion.Wise, Real, Inspiring.
Here’s my Q&A with her:
SS: What is the inspiration for Breathing Love?
“Although as humans, we share a common longing for love, most people don’t really know how to give and receive it beyond immediate family and friends. I wanted to offer people a perspective on living ‘universal love’ as a spiritual practice, with the end goal of greater personal peace and greater connectivity to each other as one human family. In order for us to survive in any meaningful way, I feel this is essential. To ‘breathe love’ means to consciously remember that our inner essence IS love and to interact with everyone from that standpoint of shared spirituality. Breathing love is a practice, and it is accessible to all of us, right here, right now. It leads to profound healing, deeper interconnectivity and the highest meaning of life.”
SS: Tell me a little about your first book, True Yoga?
“As a yoga teacher I was always looking for a simple pragmatic guide to the core messages of the Yoga Sutras, something that any student could read and immediately put into practice in his or her life. Not finding what I was looking for I decided to write it in order to help more people understand how Yoga is a practice for everyone and can bring them through any trying experience and build in them resilience, and hope. Yoga is a way of approaching life for optimal peace and joy and ultimately spiritual liberation. All of the practices help us become less emotionally reactive and thrown about by our thoughts and feelings. We learn to recognize unproductive or unhealthy patterns and tendencies. And we acquire the strength to overcome them and move toward a healthier lifestyle as well as a deeper understanding of the purpose of life.
True Yoga covers the full spectrum of practices and philosophies outlined in the Eight Limb Path offered in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It includes ethical lifestyle practices, physical movement, energy control, introspection, meditation, selfless service, and devotion. This is called Raja (Royal) Yoga or what I call True Yoga. This vast and ancient philosophy gives us a rich experience of life in each moment and a deep capacity to love and be loved.”
SS: How did you get started on your yoga journey?
“I started practicing physical yoga asana in 1995 and began teaching in 1999. Over the years my practice has become more and more focused on the inner teachings of the Yoga Sutras (the how to live principles) and less about the physical postures (asana). The whole reason I delved so deeply into these yoga teachings was because I had an inordinate amount of loss and grief to deal with – deaths of loved ones, two divorces, abuse, suicide, depression, single parenthood, and financial hardship. In the teachings I found inspiration and actual strategies for overcoming these challenges, ways to improve my thought, balance my emotions, and connect to Spirit. Because these teachings are what enabled me to overcome the challenges in my life, I am deeply committed to sharing them with others. It has been a long process of learning to live True Yoga and Breathing Love. Yoga has empowered me to be resilient, believe in the process of life and the bliss of Self-realization.”
SS: What has yoga taught you about yourself and life?
“Yoga has given me the tools to improve my physical health, handle everyday stress with greater grace, overcome emotional reactivity, and eliminate unhealthy habits and tendencies. It has enabled me to understand the deeper purpose of life and given me a path to follow toward Self awareness. And I has brought me into the inner communion with my soul and with Love.”