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Conversations with the Inspiring Jamie Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Johnson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jamie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From humble Midwest beginnings to a life of debauchery and decadence in Seattle to become the owner of Collective Energy Yoga (a heart-centered studio in Southern California)—my journey has been an unlikely, unexpected, and winding road.

The first chapter in my professional story took place in the food and beverage industry. Catering for large-scale corporate events and backstage at some of the area’s hottest venues. Managing restaurants and bars. Working hard and playing even harder. While my antics were legendary, they rode alongside (and thankfully didn’t overshadow) my well-respected work ethic.

The second chapter began when I decided to focus on finding some stable ground in my life—and abandon the fun yet chaotic lifestyle I’d been immersed in. Ultimately, that took the form of an office job, which makes someone like me pause and evaluate the path I was creating for myself. I struggled to find balance in what felt like a monotonous new place in my life. That is, until I discovered two new forms of joy and release: Yoga and Belly Dancing. I found immense freedom in both of these new hobbies, but yoga had me intrigued on a much deeper level. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was so much more to learn in my yoga practice—things that were hovering just under the surface but couldn’t be accessed in the traditional one-hour workout classes I was taking. So, I went seeking.

Then came chapter three. The desire to understand more about the transformation I was experiencing through yoga led me to Jamie Hanson of Jamie Hanson’s Empowered Yoga Teacher Training. Her mentorship has changed my life forever. The diverse curriculum was inclusive, trauma-informed, and immersive—everything I was looking for. So, I enrolled in yoga teacher training. It scared the hell out of me to put myself out there like that. I mean, I didn’t fit the stereotype at all—but as it turns out, stereotypes have no bearing on the real Yogic path. I did the hard work. I faced my fears, met my shadow, forgave myself, and I finally let in the light.

I came to find out that my past stories are just that: stories. They are not who I am; they are not my soul. They are colorful memories that brought me to where I am today. This most recent chapter of my story is one of conscious transformation and “knowing” there was more to this life than my limiting self-beliefs had previously allowed me to see—about myself, this world, and how the two could fit perfectly together.

I continued my education, attended workshops, and read a million books. I kept diving deeper—clearing out what no longer served me and coming further into alignment with each passing day. THAT is when all my life’s experiences—my pain, my gifts, and my talents—all flooded together and revealed themselves as my purpose. My Dharma.

Today, that purpose is now also my business. I have created a safe, accessible, inclusive, body-positive, empowering rental studio space for healers, teachers, instructors, therapists, group leaders, and changemakers to share their gifts with the world, either individually or in a collective capacity. To bring ease, liberation, and healing to the community. To plant seeds of change.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road to finding my way to the present was fraught with drama, trauma, beauty, pain, and some damn good times. I had some big losses and some big wins along the way.

Devastatingly, I had lost my biggest support system, my beloved Mother, to cancer when I was just 29. She was just 48. I became forever changed.

Soon after, in 2008, I looked for a fresh start with stars in my eyes—leaving behind my life in Seattle for sunnier skies in California. And there, I quickly proceeded to lose everything. Like so many others at that time, I lost my career, my money, my friends, some family, and my entire identity. I couldn’t help but still think: hey, I used to be cool, respected, feared, and loved. But nobody here knew that part of my past, and it didn’t matter anyway. I was taking the first steps on the very long road of starting over—completely from scratch.

Not too long after that (and not too many years ago, it seems), I was forced to face my own mortality as I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Five tumors. They were excessively large, and they’d spread throughout my abdomen and digestive system. The outlook wasn’t great, to say the least. But—I won. I beat it! I had the best doctors and the world’s best support system and so much love. I have now been cancer-free for five years. As a result, I began to see the world through new eyes.

But—if I’m being real with myself (and with you), my biggest struggle has always been with fear. Did I deserve a better life after all that I had done? After the way that I had been living? My fears, my limiting self-beliefs, and the societal expectations I didn’t even realize I’d internalized were all holding me back.

Taking a leap of faith and committing to the love of my life empowered me to start finding my way. And, that led me to start practicing yoga, which then snowballed into the greater purpose I know embrace. I started to learn that I AM ENOUGH. I started to see that I was meant to be of service in this world.

Once I defined (and trusted) my unshakable mission, it felt like I was on a rocket ship. It all came together so fast. I began, almost immediately, to take the necessary steps for opening a business. One thing after another seemed to fall into place—albeit with hefty dose of deliberate effort and strategic planning. Lease the perfect space—check. Get a business license—check. Purchase the equipment—check. And then Boom! Suddenly I was planning my grand opening. Whether you think I’m crazy (and some people do) or simply determined as can be, it took 64 days—from the day I wrote the idea in my journal to the day I opened Collective Energy Yoga’s doors.

It was an incredible amount of hard work, but I was powered by inspiration and committed to staying heart-centered in all of my efforts, in my messages, and in my actions. With the support of my husband, my ride-or-die tribe of besties, family, mentors, and co-creators, I persevered. They were my secret weapon for staying grounded, for finding answers, and for getting me to where I am today.

“When we let our purpose move us into action with the compassion, acceptance, and care that brought us to our own healing, we can show others—through the words, deeds, and choices that we make—what waking up can look like and how it can benefit all beings. This is the revolution that inspires change-from the inside out.”
–Seane Corn, Yoga Teacher, Activist and Author

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Collective Energy Yoga story. Tell us more about the business.
We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc.
I am the owner and founder of the newly opened Collective Energy Yoga Studio. We are a cozy rental studio in downtown San Clemente, available for local Yoga Instructors, Energy Healing professionals, Therapists, Facilitators, and Group Leaders to offer their gifts and services to small groups or to private individuals. Our studio provides a well-equipped resource for these healers so that they are able to offer their clients/students a safe, comfortable, private environment for yoga instruction, healing services, and workshops. It is a place to share gifts of healing, knowledge, empowerment, creativity and fun… our rental space is also available for yoga-related social media photography, video shoots, community meetings, support groups, therapy, hypnotherapy, reiki sessions, teacher trainings, book clubs, mindfulness crafting workshops, and one day beach retreats, art shows… the studio has been founded with an understanding that Yoga is really for EVERY body.

I am a graduate of Jamie Hanson’s Empowered Yoga Teacher Training, a trauma-informed perspective to Vinyasa Yoga and Patanjalis 8 limbed path. Empowered by my own significant life changes that were brought about by Yoga, I had dreamed of creating a space to be of service and to share with fellow teachers that provides a healing, friendly, empowering, environment fostering a sense of community and inclusivity. Fueled by the love of family and friends, and the healing community support and encouragement, Collective Energy Yoga was born.

As an RYT 200 instructor of Yoga, I currently specialize in a gentle form of vinyasa. It is an accessible, body-positive, trauma-informed practice. My classes are enjoyed by beginners and advanced yogis alike. As I move students through the Foundations, Philosophy, and Flow of Vinyasa style Yoga, variations and props are offered and encouraged.

It is my intention to invite students into a deeper conversation about how this practice might be one of liberation and empowerment in their own lives through many different tools of yoga. I invite students to join me on a journey into the subtle body, yoga philosophy and how yoga can change your life; your relationships, your relationship to yourself, your work, this planet, and all beings.

What are you most proud of as a brand, organization or service provider?
I am most proud to be of service. To be able to offer something as simple as a safe space for humans to share their experiences together, and offer healing to the community is so rewarding. The Yoga industry is mainly made up of women. Consequently, I am especially proud to hold space for these women, these changemakers to come into their own power, be able to safely and confidently use their voices, and find empowerment in themselves and in each other.

I am very proud of the way that the teachers, instructors, and facilitators feel when they utilize the space. They are unrestricted, empowered and encouraged to do what they want to do, share what they want to share. Their offerings become pure and embodied. Their students become immersed. The student’s powerful reactions and the ease of suffering is palpable.

Also proud of the collaborations that have been forged and will continue to be born from the people who utilize the space. As they venture out together, co-creating, inspired by each other and unified in their service to the community.

What sets you apart from others?
We are not a membership studio. We are a rental studio. We are a gathering space and a healing center. We offer a safe space to explore the depths of your mind, body, and soul. A place outside of the constructs of a traditional studio where the facilitators can spread their wings, follow their hearts and hold space for others healing in whatever modality they use. On their own terms, renting for the time they need, charging what they want to charge with no restrictions other than to stay heart-centered in their offerings.

Our rental prices are accessible, allowing room for teachers to either support their charities or to be able to build their own businesses. And ultimately this is a place where clients/students reap the benefits of the authenticity of the offerings. “When the energy is collective the possibilities are endless.”

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career? Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
I’d advise young women to understand that challenges and adversity will arise and perfection is unattainable no matter how good your skills are. Take the time to see your part in all of it in order to make different choices, get to the truth, take ownership, make amends, and move on.

Do yourself a favor and search out a mentor. Gain knowledge and power by accessing the embodied experience from others. I found my mentor Jamie Hanson out of the desire to know more in regards to the deeper layers of Yoga. I did research on local and national teachers. I met and talked with a few people until someone appealed to my sensibilities. Jamie embodies her work in this world, I was drawn to her immensely and respected her immediately. I just knew she was going to make me want to do the work.

I’d advise anyone to do the same. Take your time, find the right fit. Don’t waste your time and your money on trends. And once your mentorship begins, be all in. Do the work, schedule your training, and then do the work again until you find your own voice and become authentic in whatever it is that you are offering.

Be aware of the fact that you are always a student. There is always more to learn. I continue my education with my mentor, I attend workshops, retreats and classes… making personal and business connections all along the way.
Regarding networking, that is never over. You are your brand. Your integrity and your intentions are your calling cards. Get out there, keep posting, branch out, and keep going back. Stay intentional and people will be drawn to work with you.

Being a part of the community, especially a small one like our little beach town in a number of different capacities is necessary and rewarding. It can also help to keep you accountable and consistent.

Offering SEVA (meaning selfless service) in the form of classes and working with charities is part of what keeps me heart-centered and our space intentional.

Then, of course, there is the power of social media, an absolute necessity for any business and definitely a learning curve for me. Like I said, always a student. Never stop learning.

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Image Credit:
Michelle Marie Photography at

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