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Yoga has the power to transform lives, heal wounds, and empower individuals to reach their full potential. Leahna Ennis, a certified yoga instructor, has experienced this transformation firsthand. Recently, Leahna shared her inspiring journey through yoga, from her early exposure to the practice to becoming a certified instructor through the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy. Her story of how she went from a small-town Texas yoga enthusiast to becoming a certified yoga instructor is nothing short of inspirational.
Leahna's journey into the world of yoga began with her mother's influence. From a young age, she watched her mother practice yoga, and the beauty and simplicity of the poses piqued her interest. She vividly recalls the moment when she was just a child, trying out yoga poses alongside her mom, and the lion pose left a lasting impression. While life took her on different paths, including college and a full-time career as a Director of Human Resources, yoga remained a constant presence in the background.
However, it was a life-altering car accident in 2004 that brought yoga back into Leahna's life in a most profound way. The accident left her with serious injuries, including a broken tailbone, collarbone, and a severely damaged right foot. The multiple surgeries and physical pain were only part of the struggle; the accident also took a toll on her mental health. Depression and fear crept in as she grappled with uncertainty and doubts about her recovery.
It was during this challenging period that Leahna turned to yoga once again. Yoga became her sanctuary, her beacon of hope, offering both physical and mental healing. Through the practice, she found a way to focus her mind and regain control of her life. Slowly but surely, yoga became her anchor, providing concentration, focus, and a renewed sense of self.
Later in her life, yoga would again serve as a way out of a difficult season. As she emerged from the darkness of a mentally abusive relationship, yoga was the inspiration guiding her way out. Committing to her yoga practice, Leahna was empowered to recognize her value, paving the way for brighter days.
Leahna's journey with yoga took another pivotal turn when she decided to become a certified yoga instructor. It was a decision that didn't come lightly, but it was rooted in a desire to deepen her connection with yoga and share its transformative power with others. While taking a yoga class at her local gym, Leahna thought to herself, “Why am I not teaching this class?”
That ‘aha' moment was the crystallization of many previous conversations she had with friends and family about the amazing physical and mental health benefits of yoga. Following that class, Leahna began her research of yoga certifications and immediately fell in love with what she learned about the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy. She was drawn to the robust nature of the yoga certification program and how many other courses, outside of yoga, were offered by ISSA. Intrigued by the comprehensive curriculum and supportive approach, Leahna enrolled immediately.
April 2023 kicked off the beginning of Leahna’s commitment to becoming a certified yoga instructor. While pursuing her yoga certification, she was also working a full-time job, finishing up her Master’s Degree in Employment Law and planning her wedding. With an already full schedule, there were some weeks when Leahna would invest four hours in the course and other weeks when her schedule didn’t allow her to access the program at all. She estimates that on average she committed to one hour per week within the course. In August 2023, Leahna earned her Yoga 200 certification.
Becoming a certified yoga instructor is no easy feat, especially for someone with a full-time job and other responsibilities. She emphasizes the importance of surrender and self-reflection, both integral aspects of yoga that she also encountered during her certification journey.
Leahna highlights the moments during her certification that she found most fulfilling—the sequencing and the practical aspects of teaching. Sequencing allowed her to explore her creative side and design yoga flows that resonate with her personal style. However, she admits that the historical aspects of yoga were more challenging for her. Nevertheless, she recognized the value of understanding the history and philosophy behind yoga, which contributes to her authenticity as an instructor.
Within the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy program, Leahna appreciated the fact that not only could she go at her own pace, but that she would start/stop in the middle of a lesson and pick up where she left off. She admits to watching a few sections more than once, not because she didn’t grasp the concepts but rather because they were so informative, she wanted to ensure she didn’t miss anything.
Throughout her certification journey, Leahna admitted to learning valuable lessons about surrender and self-reflection, both on and off the mat. She embraces the idea that yoga is a practice of self-discovery and acceptance, where it’s okay to have good and not-so-good days. This philosophy translates into her life off the mat, allowing her to find peace in her imperfections.
While Leahna has started teaching yoga to friends and family, she acknowledges that building confidence in her teaching abilities takes time. She's taking a measured approach, ensuring that she can effectively guide others in their practice. Her supportive network of loved ones has been instrumental in her journey.
The feedback she is receiving from her network of friends and family is not only helping Leahna improve her instruction, it’s impacting her confidence. Before her certification, she would help her friends with stretch pre and post workout at the gym. Now she can explain the “why” behind the need for each stretch.
As Leahna continues to deepen her practice and build confidence in her teaching skills, she envisions a future where she can share the transformative power of yoga with a broader audience. Her mission is to break down barriers and make yoga accessible to everyone, regardless of their preconceived notions about the practice. Leahna aims to inspire others to embark on their yoga journey and experience the healing and empowerment it can provide.
Leahna Ennis' journey through yoga exemplifies the remarkable potential for personal growth, healing, and empowerment that this ancient practice offers. From her early exposure to yoga alongside her mother to overcoming life's challenges through its healing power, Leahna's story is a testament to the transformative effects of yoga. Her decision to become a certified yoga instructor through the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy reflects her commitment to sharing the benefits of yoga with others. As Leahna continues to evolve as an instructor and healer, she seeks to break down barriers and make yoga accessible to all, embodying the true essence of yoga's transformative potential.
Inspired by Leahna want to learn more? Check out the ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy’s Yoga 200 course. It’s a Yoga Alliance approved 200-hour online yoga teacher training course developed by industry-leading yoga experts. Upon completion, you can register with the Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYS 200).