November 08, 2022 4 min read
The story & journey of owner/founder Jolie Wilson becoming a yoga teacher, giving rise to Full Circle Yoga School..
Jolie Wilson - Founder & Owner, Full Circle Yoga School
I remember one of my first yoga classes somewhere around the year 2000. I was in Orlando Florida shortly after college, engaged to be married and literally just wanting to get in shape for a wedding that was in my near future. I signed up for a gym membership and thought taking an exercise class was right up my ally.
I can’t remember how or why the yoga class called me. Maybe it was because when I was a young girl around 6 years old my parents in WV when we lived way way out in the country sent me outside to play saying they were going to practice yoga. It seemed super important and mysterious and I can clearly remember the whole time I was outside. The energy felt powerful and palpable.
They had this really old book I still have today that they’ve given me that has lost it’s cover and has yellowed pages full of a woman in tights and a leotard practicing these postures who looks a lot like the Mona Lisa in the sense you ask yourself..is she smiling or is she not? What is she experiencing in that spaciousness of seemingly no emotion? I’m still intrigued by looking at her today when I occasionally pull the yoga book from my shelf. So when I chose the class in Orlando I can remember in one of the first classes the teacher saying “look down at your toes, lift all ten separate them and now place them down on the mat one at a time and now see the mat between each toe”..it was impossible for me, I remember trying and my toes not moving at all. I thought..is that even possible as I looked around to see if others could do it.
I was lucky to have that ashtanga teacher. She was pregnant doing headstands that to me seemed super human. I knew then that I wanted 4 children, I knew that since I was around 8 so she didn’t just inspire me, I was in awe of her. She had traveled to India many times to do her training. I had an out of body experience in one of her classes and floated around the room. I used to be a dancer so for me yoga was an outlet for that expression of my body into art and beauty while strengthening, lengthening, and feeling so good and free after class.
I remember her offering a yoga teacher training, I thought “no way in hell!” Her student’s first classes weren’t good and I cringed while thinking that looks really hard and I would be petrified to do that! Years later I was really good at yoga and my teacher in the Keys said “hey I’ve got to go to an art thing can you teach my class?” “What??? NO!!” Something in me said yes for me. I was nervous and only 2 people were there but some portal opened and something taught through me and it felt like magic.
I owned a yoga studio before I got a certification. I only got a certification so I could offer yoga teacher trainings. Yoga teacher trainings were born because I had a student said to me, I want to learn to be a yoga teacher and I only want to learn from you. I said, I don’t know how to offer a yoga teacher training but I’ll figure it out.
I horded cash in a closet for 3 years not going out or doing anything fun and paid for my teacher training out of that stash and paid off my debts from marriage. I learned to teach yoga when I was a broke single mom of four boys teaching neighbors and friends for free in my living room to get some experience while waiting for my house to short sale. We are never poor when we are rich in love and my kids have given me a reason to try every single day!
I started posting pics of myself on fb doing yoga in liberation after a toxic relationship. Through that I was offered that first studio I owned which was a cheap space, $400 a month. We can do amazing things..if we believe we can. We can make big magic out of little to nothing.
As it became time to offer teacher trainings I opened a second studio just to hold that first training. I did the math and realized I only needed a handful of people to book the first training and it would at least keep the door open for the year if I failed at owning a second space on an even smaller island in the Florida Keys.
Our first training had 5 students. The studio flourished and brought much joy to the community and grew me as a teacher and as a spiritual woman. On September 10th 2017 Hurricane Irma arrived (see story below). She took my home, my studio and everything in it when the black mold took over and I had to use my 50K in savings that I was so proud to have accomplished as a single mom completely on my own without additional financial support at that time.
Still, throughout my journey I believe in opportunity not misfortune. I believe life happens for you not to you. So a friend in Hawaii said you’re homeless, come out here and do a training, so I did and our Hawaii teacher trainings rooted.
Through the ebbs and flows since then and navigating Covid we’ve held trainings in Bali, Colorado, Costa Rica, Florida, Hawaii, Thailand. We've begun to add trainings in Peru, Mexico, Morocco, Italy while also launching international retreats in the world's most exotic places. We have online trainings, courses and classes as well as a brilliant community of alumni. I hope you have courage to go after something you’re dreaming of! I’m rooting for you. I believe in you!
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