Joanna Veronica is a natural teacher, leader, and ambassador for peace. She has a vision and experience that is truly global and deeply spiritual. She is a blend of Eastern faith and a Western liberal upbringing, having grown up in the the San Francisco Bay Area- the home that has nurtured her love for nature, culture, and self-realization.
Her good fortune and curiosity has led her around the world. She has studied and worked in Finland, Spain, New York City, Silicon Valley, Ghana, and now calls Abu Dhabi home. Escape was an innate way of living for Joanna. For her, childhood was no easy task. Her traumas begged her to seek escape and to constantly reinvent herself in new roles and settings.
It was not until she faced a severe crisis that she had to come face to face with her shadow. She ran away to many places but her hidden depression and low self-esteem always remained. She was successful on the outside, but not within. Without peace of mind, nothing felt right in her life- no place, no person, no experience. This depth of feeling led her to yoga. During her first class in Brooklyn, she cried profusely. For the first time she was able to feel her body. From that moment, she committed herself to unpacking her baggage…going deep into her basement of memories and feelings because ultimately, she knew she had no better life to live than her own and that there was profound meaning for her experiences and suffering.
Further crises and near death experiences lead her to question the meaning of her life and where she belonged, which organically led her to India to study yoga in an ashram. The yogic path always fed Joanna’s soul the nourishment it needed to grow and the encouragement to try again each day. She never intended to teach. She simply wished to learn more about a science that helped her examine and comfort her invisible injuries.
Instability had always been Joanna’s stability. How she was led to the UAE was pure fate. Never could she imagine that she would settle in the Middle East. Upon arrival, she was told she would be working in the far desert. Confronted with a choice to accept the challenge or leave, she faced it bravely yet reluctantly. The consequence was the severe depression she had been masking and battling since she was a teenager. The isolation of the desert ignited feelings of loneliness and weakness. Big questions invaded her while living in the vast desert: Who am I? What am I doing here? Where do I belong? Where should I run away to next? What and who is right for me? Why does everyone else seem to have it but me? Why isn’t money making me happy? How can I overcome my self-loathing and pain? Am I worthy?
Yoga, like a good friend, was always there for her. Through sheer determination, a ketogenic diet and lifestyle, good sleep patterns, practicing various yoga styles, kick boxing, and salsa dancing Joanna was able to naturally overcome depression simply by activating the natural system of hormones within the body.
Can you relate? Joanna is confident there are others who can and who want to get better at life and themselves but do not know how. The UAE can be a difficult place to be vulnerable. Joanna’s message is sincere- be brave and go into your personal basement- that place where you store your narrative. Clear out that space to make room for what you truly deserve- an abundant, significant, and peaceful life.
Joanna now loves living in Abu Dhabi city, overlooking the sea. She enjoys being in a blend of cultures and having each day be unpredictable. She is currently learning how to sail and continues to fortify her passions whilst maintaining a grateful and diligent spirit. She keeps a daily gratitude journal and manages her inner dialogue as she is a believer in mental hygiene. Now she feels content and has a robust sense of self. She thrives in helping others learn and experience yoga and is on a proud mission to help people heal and grow. Joanna is currently working on a personal transformation and wellness podcast and book.
Joanna’s life advice:
The best decisions are made out of courage, not fear. Have the courage to listen to your inner voice and act on what it says. That voice is a wisdom that is always right for you. Be bold enough to go where YOU belong not where you are expected to be. As it is said, do not stop until you are proud. Everything is possible!
Take care of yourself everyday- body, mind and spirit. It brings you in community with others; it fosters a positive self-image; and you will age gracefully in a body that cooperates with you. Eat like you care, think well, and sweat the stress out of you!
Be authentically and unapologetically you. Joanna has finally embraced her weirdness such as her love of rap and jazz music, fountain pens, and collecting toothpastes and hot sauces from around the world. Accept yourself fully. There will ever only be one you. There is a reason why you are here.