ENTREPRENEUR, YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Co-owner of Camarillo’s Sun Kissed Yoga with partner Michael Tang
From a sordid childhood to rebellious teenager to inspired business owner
How did you decide on Camarillo for Sun Kissed Yoga?
I was actually born and raised in Camarillo. My grandparents raised me from the time I was 4 or 5, so I lived with my mom before that and moved in with them. I always just came back here for some reason. The very first yoga class I took was at the 24-Hour Fitness here In Camarillo, with an instructor named Sheila. I really enjoyed it, practiced it really religiously, got certified and started teaching. It really changed the way that I saw the world and allowed me to see how it could change other people’s lives as well. It was interesting to see the shift that happened to people when they got into the practice. Embracing what goes past the poses, like the consciousness, and finding that space within yourself and being content with where you’re at. The reason why I came back to Camarillo is because I knew that it was something the town needed.
Tell us about your childhood, if you don’t mind sharing.
Both of my parents were addicts. My mom got in a really bad car accident in her 20s. She was sitting in the middle seat in the back of a car and they got in a bad accident. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt, flew through the front windshield and broke her back. She ended up having to have back surgery. When they hospitalized her, they gave her morphine. She had kind of experimented — she was a hippie, they were growing up in the ’70s. They were smoking pot and that kind of stuff. They ended up giving her morphine, and I don’t know how she tried heroin for the first time, but as soon as she did it, it was the same feeling; the morphine was the best feeling she’d ever had in her whole life. Then she just started doing heroin, she fell into it pretty quickly.
My dad was an addict as well. That’s how they met, getting high together. I was an accident [laughs]. I was a surprise. My mom supposedly was clean while she was pregnant, that’s what she tells me. I don’t know how true that is but both of my parents continued to use and I lived with my mom for two years as a baby. She was still using then, although I didn’t know. I remember waking up one morning and she was gone. My grandmother was there instead, and she tried to explain to me that she had to go to rehab, but it’s hard to explain that to a 3-year-old.
It’s strange, there’s a dark part of my life I don’t even remember. [Eventually, Jensen’s mother returned and took her to Los Angeles]. There I lived with her for about three months and she got sick and had to go back into rehab again. I ended up with my grandparents in Camarillo. I was about 4 or 5 at that point, and so I moved in with them and they raised me from the time I was 5 and turned 18. There was a really long time as a child I didn’t feel normal, I felt something was wrong with me. I carry that into my life now and it can be hard to deal with and I have internal demons I am battling because of that. But my grandparents did a really good job of raising me
How has yoga helped?
I had never been asked to look past the surface, I just thought it was the way it was. My teachers started to ask me to look underneath the layers. We’re not born knowing hatred, knowing self-loathing or any of that; these are all things we sort of learn. So we build these layers over who we are when we’re born, and we change as we grow. My teachers started asking me to look past those layers, kind of like therapy. The deeper I started to look, everything started to unravel. That’s really when I realized that I needed to share that with other people, that they can consciously start to shift and change the way they see their lives if they look a little bit deeper.
There’s a story about a lotus flower: It floats on top of the water, and it only grows in the most disgusting water you’ll ever see, like in a swamp. They told me this story in India when I was doing my training there. I’ll never forget it because it related so much to my life. If you look at the lotus flower, you’ll never think it grew out of the mud. What you’re born out of doesn’t represent who you are. That’s kind of what the practice brought to my attention — where I come from doesn’t make who I am. And you can’t change what happens to you.
Jensen is an instructor and co-owner of Sun Kissed Yoga at 2237 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. For more information, visit www.sunkissedyogavc.com.
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