Jenny Hannah holds formal trainings in Psychology, Yoga, and Art. Her approach to the bodymind is fueled by her extensive studies, offering gentle yet comprehensive tools to holistic wellbeing. Her insight and trainings in psychological group dynamics are a unique skill in the field of Yoga, giving her a heartfelt appreciation and understanding of the potentcy of collective practice and the subtle spaces between human relationships.
Jenny’s journey as a teacher began in 2007 when she received her certification as a Hatha Yoga instructor. For 18 years, she has studied several styles of movement and Yoga, including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini, and since 2008, she has heavily woven therapeutic bio-mechanics into the conversation.
Maintaining trust in the intuitive and felt sense of the body, her dynamic precision is supported by Yogic Philosophy, strong Anatomy studies, and examination of early life forms—all of which inspire her fiery passion for both teaching and practicing. In class, she facilitates a co-creative space where we can experience the freedom and play in discovering our seat.
How did she stumble upon yoga?
Very. Personally. In 2001, Jenny suffered a serious low back injury. She was hit by a car while riding a bicycle on her way to a philosophy class. After being diagnosed with a vertebral disk injury and a recommendation for back surgery, she attempted several strategic and panicky escape routes from pain, including but not limited to massive amounts of yoga. She soon discovered the methods she was using continued to lead her to the same place—disappointment. One day, a sudden change arose and instead of attacking or chasing these painful signs, she would respond and welcome this particularly annoying call of a literal pain in the back! It was at this time, when the dialogue of yoga was revealed, and the rediscovery of this precious and delicate embodiment began.
In the formal world, she dove into the myriad of her heart’s desires. Holding a B.A. in Studio Art from California State University, Los Angeles (with an emphasis in Relational Performance/Socially Engaged Art), her work focused on the usage of public spaces, encouraging communities to explore how posture informs collective consciousness and physical evolution. Her series “current” explored mirror neurons within transitional spaces, engaging audiences to participate and examine their postures in relation to the environment and society; the graveyard as a depository, the gallery as a viewer, and a college campus building as a creative institution. Her art stems from a generous invitation to explore the dynamic and often surprising qualities of human connection.
A true renaissance woman and devotee of Art, science, and social engagement, her volunteer work in the LA community began as campus director for Greenpeace at the ripe age of twenty. She has since served an all women yoga class, Food not Bombs, Barrio Action, and countless non-profits, engaging in a vast array of activity to ignite social awareness and supportive communities.
Having received an M.A. in Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy, she has undergone practicum trainings (pre grad psychology studies) at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and OPICA, an adult day care facility for elders diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases. It became clear through connecting with families of trauma, as well as those with severe memory impairment, that Art and somatic movement were sharp and skillful tools for communication. Jenny continued to immerse herself in Psychotherapeutic relationships with marginalized populations and eventually found her calling within group facilitation, where the wisdom of the collective could be drawn out through creative exploration, almost rhythmically through the pulse of group process. The non-verbal modalities, providing subtle yet direct experience, birthed unwavering strength and deep healing within the human heart. This was Yoga.
Jenny continually draws inspiration from her love of Post-Modern Art, Psychology, Anatomy, Neuroscience, and Meditation. For her Master’s thesis, she wove these many passions together, compiling three years of research to design a 6-week program incorporating Mindfulness Based Art Therapy to treat symptoms of Trauma in Refugee Youth.
By day, Jenny is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate and Wellness Counselor at University of the West, a college campus based on Buddhist principles. She offers psychotherapy and Art Therapy to Buddhist Chaplains and students, primarily of East Asian and South Asian populations. Her practice is geared towards exploring the effects of acculturative stress and trauma from inter-generational transmission. She maintains a theoretical framework in Existential-Humanistic therapy, often weaving parallel Buddhist principles to support spiritual meaning for those on the Buddhist path.
As a family member, she is a partner in marriage for nearly twelve years, one of eight siblings, and a proud multi-cultural Los Angelina. Her 13 pound rescue named Django is named after the gypsy-jazz guitarist.
Jenny is wholeheartedly appreciative for her practice and studies in the Shambhala Buddhist Lineage, and bows deeply to the lineage of teachers and warriors of past, present, and future.