Yoga Teacher Training Instructor ~ Vidya Jacqueline Heisel
Yoga Teacher Training Instructor
Vidya Jacqueline Heisel, E-RYT 500
Founder of Frog Lotus Yoga and Director of Frog Lotus Yoga International Yoga Teacher Training Programs.
My whole childhood I was haunted by puzzling spiritual questions about the nature of self, life, death and reality. When I was nineteen, I started a degree in philosophy and became intrigued by eastern philosophy. It was at this time I was thrilled to discover meditation and the teachings of the Buddha and from then on I devoured countless spiritual books, which opened a whole new universe for me. Suddenly life had a deep and profound meaning which had previously been veiled to me. In 1975, at the age of twenty, no longer content to just read about these matters, I took the hippy trail to India to find a Guru. I started practicing Yoga in 1975 in Poona India, at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram. I fell in love with Osho, with India, with Eastern Philosophy and then very passionately with the physical practice of Yoga.
I practiced Iyengar Yoga religiously every day for a year at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram, where I was living. Ironically, my teacher there was an American. After a year, my yoga teacher left the ashram and I was asked to teach the class myself, and even though at that point, I had no formal teaching certificate, I happily rose up to the challenge. What I lacked in experience, I made up for in enthusiasm. I taught that class in Buddha Hall daily for the next four years.
Since then I have studied and practiced and taught many different styles and techniques all over the world, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini, Sivananda style, Hatha and Forrest Yoga, as well as maintaining my profound love and study of Iyengar Yoga. I have studied with many talented and famous teachers including Ana Forrest, Patricia Walden, Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea, David Swenson, Doug Swenson, Baron Baptiste, Sarah Powers, Richard Freeman, David Life and Sharon Gannon and many others.
Along the way, I was certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga at It’s Yoga in San Francisco. I participated in a very inspiring Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, in Utah, with Ana Forrest, in Forrest Yoga. I have also taken Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Rodney Yee. My own ongoing daily practice continues to be one of my deepest inspirations. I am registered with Yoga Alliance at the highest level, which is E-RYT 500. I have now developed my own unique style of Flow, which weaves together everything I have studied into a joyful and intelligent practice.
I have taught yoga in countless different places and situations, from an ashram in India to the most exclusive spa in the country, Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires. I am convinced that Yoga is, as Mr. Iyengar calls it, a path to holistic health. Yoga, practiced regularly, will make you strong, supple, radiantly healthy and give you a deep sense of well-being. Yogic philosophy will bring unimaginable depth and meaning to your life and offer you an amazing path to waking up and living your life more fully and more consciously.
I lived at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona, with my teacher Osho, in its heyday from 1975-81. It was a life-changing and magnificent mystical experience. I visited India many times after that to travel and to attend meditation retreats. I continued my spiritual endeavor ceaselessly, meeting many great spiritual teachers, meditating, studying and having many profound experiences myself. In 1993 I met my second long-term spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen. I spent 13 years in his spiritual community, doing spiritual practice, contemplating and living and growing in community. I was one of the cooks at his ashram in Lenox, Massachusetts. Cooking wholesome vegetarian (mostly vegan and raw) is my other great passion. I am passionately into a healthy diet and study alternative nutrition avidly. I left Andrew Cohen’s community in 2005 and feel my spiritual search has now turned inwards and I have, through my lifetime of spiritual search, been given all the tools I need to continue to evolve on my own.
In March 2002 I opened Frog Lotus Yoga. It was a great joy and pleasure to create and direct such a beautiful home for Yoga. Around the same time as opening the studio I designed a comprehensive Yoga Teacher Trainingprogram which I began to teach there. In 2005 I began teaching the Yoga Teacher Training program at different exotic locations around the world.
There are now well over 1000 graduates of our Yoga Teacher Training program. I am very passionate about teaching the Yoga Teacher Training programs because they offer me the freedom to share my passion for all aspects of yoga; the philosophical and metaphysical dimensions, as well as the physical practice. The training remains a source of ongoing wonder and joy to me as it grows and evolves and allows me to birth so many amazing fledgling teachers. In the process of teaching the training I also grow and learn so much myself.
In October 2008, after having become increasingly engrossed in the Yoga Teacher Training Retreats internationally, I passed on the torch of Frog Lotus Yoga Studio to Jennifer Yarro, who is the current owner and director of the Studio. I now focus solely on the Frog Lotus Yoga International Teacher Training Programs. Jennifer was the perfect person to take over the studio, as any student there will affirm. Jennifer originally came to Frog Lotus to take a Yoga Teacher Training with me. When she expressed interest in buying the studio we reconnected and since then have become great friends and colleagues. Jennifer has assisted and co-taught in many of my Yoga Teacher Training programs and continues to co-teach at many of my programs internationally. I have also endorsed Jennifer to teach the Frog Lotus Yoga Teachers Training at the studio. Jennifer and I have also designed an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training together, which we currently co-teach. Jennifer and I are the perfect team as our knowledge and teaching styles are very complimentary. We have also recently welcomed the very talented and wonderful Jennilee Toner to join our Yoga Teacher Training Team as a co-teacher.
In 2010 I created Envision Yoga, a profoundly transformational practice combining Kundlaini Yoga and NLP techniques.
In 2011, I founded a Yoga Retreat Centre in Andalucia, Spain with my business partner Peter Simmons. Our goal is to create the most outstanding Yoga Centre in the whole of Europe. Suryalila Retreat Centre opens it doors in March 2012.
For more information about Suryalila, our retreats and events visit: Suryalilaretreatcentre.com
My ongoing mission is to continue to spread the life-transforming teachings of Yoga and the joyful physical practice around the world, with as much love and wisdom as possible!
Watch videos of Vidya teaching
on our YouTube Channel