By C. Patterson
Jennifer Buergermeister has a free spirit – just speaking with her can calm your soul. She has chosen a path, and she walks it. In our conversation, the yoga activist/enthusiast/advocate revealed that for her hot yoga was a real pain, her goals for One Yoga USA, and why trying the downward dog on horseback may require a helmet.
BW: Why yoga?
JB: I had some very influential professors at the University of Houston and when you have someone who opens your mind and helps you see things differently it can often lead down a path. That path for me was spiritual psychology and transpersonal psychology, which brought me into more of Eastern thought. I began dabbling in yoga classes and I really enjoyed it. I come from a dance and gymnastics background, which was my passion and yoga sort of rekindled that feeling of what it was to a passionate young girl, who just couldn’t get enough of a particular practice.
What’s your favorite type of yoga?
I started out really getting into the heated yoga for a while, but then I never got past the headaches so I decided that maybe there’s another form of yoga that’s right for me. Two styles that really resonated with me were Vinyasa and Ashtanga, but I really fell in love with Vinyasa. My teacher really opened my heart up to what I think yoga is trying to teach us, which is grace. There is something to moving with breath and it’s very mind centered. It’s like moving meditation.
BW: What happened once you knew yoga was your calling?
JB: I ended up opening a studio and then a founded a 501 (c)(3) called Breathe the Cure, which is dedicated to teaching people how to breathe efficiently. It’s more about the quality of your breathing rather than the quantity of your breathing. Our 501(c)(3) then became an all donation studio. We opened up a second location and brought it under the umbrella of Breathe the Cure in Houston.
BW: And with One Yoga?
JB: In 2010 there were some things that happened here in Texas. We changed two laws. The two laws were probably pivotal in saving a lot of the smaller studios from closing down. The ways the laws were written and there was some action to make the smaller studios stand as a college, a university of a career school. It cost thousands and thousands and thousands of dollar to have this license and most yoga studios are small and quant and they can’t really afford that. So we formed the Texas Yoga Association and stood up and fought against that movement and won. Then I had the idea that if we did it in Texas, we could do it in other states. That’s sort of how One Yoga USA began to develop. Then of course we had the idea for a training program that surpassed the standard that was already out there. We have 300, 500, and 1000-hour levels in our training program bringing only the best in the United States and beyond into the program to participate.
BW: What are the plans for the upcoming conference?
JB: There is the Thursday night kick-off with the Breakfast Yoga Club and a very famous yogi named Rod Stryker. He is giving a lecture on how to expand your yoke practice. On Friday we have Hemalayaa Behl, Micheline Berry, Giselle Mari so we have a really nice eclectic group from all of the corners of the U.S. coming in to give these workshops, lectures, and classes all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There is also a huge music element that is being presented with Desert Dwellers, Rara Avis – who is actually one of our founding partners with YogiTunes – we also have Shaman’s Dream, which is a very famous band for music for yoga.
BW: I heard that Bear Grylls from Man Vs. Wild practices yoga everywhere including airports, the desert, and the middle of the jungle. Where is the strangest place that you have busted out in yoga pose?
JB: On the back of my horse. I wanted to see if it was possible and it was very difficult. You are limited in what poses you can do and you have to really be careful because it can be very dangerous.
Checkout more on Jenn and OneYogaUSA’s Dallas Yoga Conference September 14-16 at www.oyusadallasfest.com