The thought of starting her own business hadn’t occurred to Jenna until a period of self-honesty about the sources of pain and joy in her life.
In 2017, after years of developing chronic pain conditions from sitting at desk jobs, Jenna was feeling quite concerned about her health. The possibility of needing surgery, despite only being in her early 30s, alarmed her. She says her concerns were exasperated by the realization that a job change wasn’t helping her back or making her any more happy – she says she simply didn’t find purpose in her work.
Meanwhile, one of the greatest sources of joy in her life was practicing aerial yoga. Aerial yoga – which applies traditional yoga poses with hanging exercises in a hammock – not only helped Jenna treat her pain, but allowed her to let loose, hang upside down, and release belly-laughter that made her feel like a kid again. She absolutely loved it.
One day, while drudging through a work day feeling particularly low, she said she took a break to meditate. In that moment she asked herself “why not become an aerial yoga teacher?”
Her immediate reaction was shock: “I was like ‘oh my god, was that just me that said that? That sounds crazy!’”
But over the next few days, the thought kept coming up whenever Jenna meditated, and it eventually morphed into a vision to open her own yoga studio, Yoga Jungle.
Before long, Jenna was ready to make it a reality. She said what drove her was a desire to bring all the benefits that aerial yoga gave her to her hometown of Bowmanville, Ont. – something that wasn’t available to residents. She said she felt purpose in this new vision, and it was something that aligned with her core values.
“I feel that people are becoming so bombarded by just all the things they believe they have to live up to. So, I just wanted to provide an environment that was free of any judgement, concerns,” Jenna said. “Create that safe space where people can just come and learn and play – find that confidence, find that courage, try something new, just hang upside down like you’re a child. I just really love it and I wanted to share it with a bigger community.”
Jenna told a friend about her idea for Yoga Jungle and they recommended she check out Futurpreneur Canada. Futurpreneur’s online Business Plan Writer helped Jenna map out her plan and build confidence that her idea was viable. She then continued refining her plan by working with Futurpreneur staff that provided feedback and business coaching until she was ready to apply for Futurpreneur’s Start-Up Program. Jenna’s plan was approved and the program gave her the financing she needed to launch Yoga Jungle, as well as a hand-matched business mentor.
The biggest hurdle Jenna had to overcome to get started, however, was her own self-doubt.
“I actually wrote down a ‘why I can’t do it’ page, and I looked at it, and it was like ‘what if my voice isn’t loud enough, what if I just don’t have what people are looking for, what if I can’t teach people.’”
Writing the fears down, similar to writing down her business plan, helped Jenna gain clarity and perspective about what she should really pay attention to.
“I don’t think we realize that some of our thoughts are just fears and they’re not real – they’re not actually part of us. So to write them down and visual them is such a beautiful thing because you realize ‘oh that’s not actually me.’”
Today, Yoga Jungle has been open for more than a year and Jenna says she has realized her vision – it has become a hub for the community and people are gaining strength from laughing, playing, and healing together.
Jenna routinely receives moving thank you messages from her students about the impact the practice, the space and her teaching has had on their lives – particularly in helping them rediscover their own courage and confidence to pursue personal alignment.
For Jenna, there’s nothing more rewarding than lifting people up.