Quiet Strength: An Interview with Amy Jirsa - Yoga Teacher, Herbalist + Author

Part I

“I think I’ve always felt like an outsider my whole life,” the founder of Quiet Earth Yoga, herbalist and author Amy Jirsa says.  Self-described as a “quiet introvert” (as opposed to a shy one), Amy’s initial foray into theatre as a college undergrad is what allowed her to explore the extrovert world on a temporary basis.  But it was the realization that being an actor would require her to operate as an extrovert full time which ultimately made her find her way back to books and the natural world.  “Once I had gotten to know myself a bit better, I realized it was okay to love books and the natural world, that one could actually make a living from them,” she says.

Amy’s interest in the natural world led her to obtaining her Master Herbalist’s degree from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.  She then began exploring alternative health modalities such as yoga, Reiki, and meditation, attempting to “cobble of them together as a career,” she says. 

It was her father’s declining health in 2008 that led her back to Maine, her ticket back east being a teaching assistantship at UMaine's MA in English program.  At the same time, she enrolled in a yoga teacher training program at The Namasté Institute in Rockland, Maine, which she says saved her from “the intense world of academia and masters’ studies.”

It is no secret that most English MA candidates (author included) consider a career in teaching English subsequent to obtaining one’s degree.  After all, it makes sense: thou loveth the English language; thou loveth teaching the English language.  But there is no guarantee – until one tries their hand at teaching – that one will have the outgoing disposition the career demands (or as Amy says, “a very ambitious introverted” disposition) in order to enjoy teaching at the head of a class for several hours a day.  Amy’s discovery in teaching English was similar.

Unlike Amy’s disillusionment teaching English, what she discovered about teaching yoga was that students came to her “because they wanted to be there.  It was such a profound difference that I didn’t care if it involved a pay cut.  Teaching yoga was so much more fulfilling.”

From there, Amy developed her own website, her Satyas (her “truth”), and her practice.  By following the philosophy of making a living out of what you love, Amy began teaching yoga, writing, and reading – her own personal formula for total bliss. 

We live in a society where making a lot of money, doing a dozen different things at once, and operating in an extroverted mindset are all somehow akin to an agnostic godliness, to the pinnacle of success.  But some choose to abandon that definition of "success."  And for many seekers and explorers, life is not a paved freeway to be driven down on cruise control; rather, it is intended to be a maze of multiple paths that are intended for traveling on until the path feels most natural underfoot.  People like Amy remind us that it’s okay – no, that it’s sometimes necessary - to take multiple life paths to discover our life purpose.  After all, if there was just one path in life to follow, how would we learn, grow, discover, and become? 

Amy has a book coming out, The Herbal Goddess Guide (Storey Publishing), which is due in April 2015.  An exploration of the 12 herbs, the book’s premise is to spend a month getting to know each herb in a comprehensive, holistic manner.