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Vidya Jacqueline Heisel

Photo of Vidya Jacqueline Heisel founder envision yoga

I have been fascinated with yoga since 1975. 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 during this time that I was thrilled to discover meditation and the teachings of the Buddha. From then on I devoured countless spiritual books, which revealed a whole new universe to me. Suddenly life had a rich and profound meaning, which had previously been veiled to me.

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 first started practicing Yoga in Poona India, at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram. I fell in love with Bhagwan(who later became known as Osho), with India, with Eastern Philosophy and then very passionately with the physical practice of Yoga.

I practiced Iyengar style 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. At that point I had no formal teaching certificate, but I happily rose 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, practiced and taught many different styles and techniques of Yoga all over the world, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini, Sivananda, Hatha and Forrest Yoga, as well as maintaining my profound love and study of Iyengar Yoga. I have taught yoga in countless different places and situations, from an ashram in India to the most exclusive spa in the USA, Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires.

My own ongoing daily practice continues to be my deepest inspiration. I have developed my own unique style of Vinyasa Flow Yoga, which weaves together everything I have studied into a joyful and intelligent practice.

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 have visited India many times since then, to travel, and to attend retreats. I have 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. During that time I was one of the cooks at his ashram in Lenox, Massachusetts.

I left Andrew Cohen’s community in 2005. As a result of my lifetime of spiritual pursuits, I feel well equipped to continue to evolve and grow on my own.

In March 2002 I opened a yoga studio, Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams, Massachusetts. It was a very fulfilling experience to create and direct a beautiful school of Yoga. Around the same time as opening the studio I designed a comprehensive Yoga Teacher Training program, which I taught there. In 2005, I began leading my Yoga Teacher Training programs, in the form of three-week retreats, at beautiful locations around the world. This new endeavor quickly became all consuming and I wished to give myself whole-heartedly to leading these retreats.

In 2008 I sold my Yoga Studio to Jennifer Yarro, who has since become a close and treasured friend and colleague. I have continued to be involved in Frog Lotus Yoga, as Director of International Yoga Teacher Training Programs.

Envision Yoga is a culmination of everything I have learned this far.
It came to me organically. In February 2010 I broke my wrist quite badly and was unable to do my regular yoga practice for around 5 months. I started to do a lot of Kundalini Yoga, as there are many movements in the Kundalini system that do not require you to put weight on your wrists.

Even though I had attended Kundalini classes and used Kundalini dvds in the past I had never practiced it extensively. My wrist injury led me to practicing Kundalini Yoga every day. I found the practice to be very dynamic and I liked the way I felt afterwards.

In April 2010 I attended a seminar with Tony Robbins, called Date with Destiny. It was a fantastic journey and a very powerful self-transformational experience. Tony uses many techniques from Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP), which really resonated with me.

Envision Yoga came to me directly after Date with Destiny as I began to combine some of the techniques I learned there with my Kundalini Yoga practice. In the very beginning I practiced with two of my assistants in my Yoga Teacher Training Program, Jennilee Toner and Nirmala Franklin. They were both an important part of the initial development of Envision Yoga. They immediately loved and embraced the concept and the beginning phases of this practice were born.

Over the period of a year the practice slowly developed to become what it is today, a powerful tool for self-transformation.

I am overjoyed to share this empowering and joyful practice with the world.

Jennilee Toner, E-RYT 200

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Anatomist, Developer of Hot Warrior Yoga, YogaSpeaksNow Bloggist

I, Jennilee Toner, LOVE practicing and teaching yoga.

Since 1996 I have practiced so many types of yoga. Those first few years I found myself in attics, basements, living rooms, garages, parks, etc. In 2000 I began to practice Bikram Yoga six days a week, both in Key West and in Massachusetts. In 2002
I added Baron Baptiste Power Yoga to the mix. In 2003 I decided
I wanted to teach this wonderful form of body, mind and soul connecting and conditioning I had so fallen in love with!

Inspired by various AFAA fitness trainings and workshops with amazing yogis/yoginis such as Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Bryan Kest, Dharma Mittra, Cameron and Liz Shayne of Budokon, Duncan Wong, and Simon Park and my studies in mythology and transpersonal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and Institute of Transpersonal Psychology I find that I am teaching my own distinct and dynamic style of Vinyasa Yoga. My two week ashram stay and training in November 2008 with Sri Yogi Hari of Sampoorna Yoga deepened my interest and knowledge in the spiritual and scientific study of Hatha, Jnana, Bhakti, Nada, Karma and Raja Yoga.

Last year I began to teach at Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams, MA. Unbeknownst to me once again my life was dramatically changing! Joining Vidya Jacqueline Heisel and Jennifer Yarro in training some of the best new yoga teachers this world will see is such a peak experience in my yoga teaching career. These two strong, beautiful and wise yoginis are AMAZING! I have learned so much from them both. I am deeply grateful to be a part of their dream!

Envision Yoga is such a great addition to all the wonderful yoga that is being offered in the world! I have been in love with the concept since day one! Combining Kundalini movements and chakra affirmations makes Envision yoga an OUTSTANDING practice! (Inspirational human being Tony Robbins loves to use the word OUTSTANDING!) I have been deeply honored to be a part of the magnificent creation process ~ this truly is an amazing gift Vidya is offering!