Intuitive Journey: An Interview with Whitney Yarnall, Founder of Sojourn Healing Collective
When she is not busy with the day-to-day of running a holistic wellness collective or chasing her 6-month-old mini-dachshund pup, William Wallace (Wally for short), around the studio, Whitney Yarnall also holds space for others as an intuitive soul healer, a spiritual business mentor and a Reiki Master. From a young age, her personal healing journey brought her face-to-face with traumatic events leaving her feeling alone as she moved through the pain of grief and loss. As the founder of Sojourn Healing Collective, her desire was to create a welcoming place for people to come as they are, align with their true purpose and feel supported as they heal and grow to their greatest potential. Through it all, she was able to uncover her divine purpose as a spiritual teacher, mentor and entrepreneur.
Recently, Whitney was interviewed by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles for their article “Try Yoga Studio Design at Home,” so we thought we would do the same and let you all get to know her a little bit better.
Give us some insight into your journey? How did you come to find yoga, meditation, reiki and inevitably your true purpose?
I discovered yoga for the first time in college, however I rediscovered it while living in New York City in my early 20's. During that time, I had been seeing an incredibly intuitive, Ayurvedic practitioner named Smita Patel. Smita was instrumental in helping me heal my body (I had a slew of hormonal, digestive and overall health issues at the time). She strongly suggested Hatha, Restorative yoga and Gayatri Mantra to heal myself. I can still hear her reminding me: "Yoga heals you, it builds muscle on top of bone, helps you stay strong for all of life." At that same time, my older brother, who lived just a stone’s throw away from me on the Lower East Side started dragging me to Saturday morning yoga classes. Looking back, I can see how perfectly the universe orchestrated my yoga journey. I remember leaving the East Village after Saturday morning classes, and thinking... "I NEED to make yoga teacher training happen…how can that happen while I'm working 14-hour days?!"
A couple years passed, I continued to evolve and create a plan for my healing and my life. I had dabbled in Reiki, meditation, flower essences and continued my yoga practice. All the while, I knew my corporate job was not for me and ultimately, NYC was not for me anymore either. One day I arrived at work to an overwhelming email inbox and the top email was from United Airlines. It said "San Diego is Calling You," and linked to some special offering. Interested, and suffering from burnout, I booked a spur of the moment solo vacation to California starting in San Francisco and ending in San Diego. I found so much clarity on that trip and left SD with a true internal knowledge that I was coming right back!
What drew you to San Diego?
I can't say for sure, other than it is the most intuitively drawn I have ever felt to a place. Driving down the Southern California coast from Orange County, I just knew. I felt a freedom I had never experienced before. After a few days here walking along the beaches, visiting spiritual shops and yoga studios, I called home and let everyone know I'd decided to move. It took me just a couple months to tie up loose ends in NYC and make the cross country move to San Diego.
What was your intention in founding Sojourn Healing Collective?
I founded Sojourn to offer people a safe place to heal and just BE— a place that feels like home. During my seemingly long healing journey, all I ever wanted was to feel like I belonged somewhere. I wanted a place where I could learn from others, teach others, share all of our journeys and ultimately discover our highest and best selves.
What were your drivers behind creating a collective environment versus a single modality studio?
I was seeing several different healers in my early 20's for body, mind and soul healing, and every time I left one of them I thought "how cool would it be to have all of the healers together in one place, like a real community of healing." I came back to that thought frequently, wishing it existed. When I arrived in San Diego and began to explore my own healing gifts, it hit me that I had to create what I always wish existed. One or two modalities of healing might not work for or resonate with everyone, so I wanted to give people access to all of the tools, and let them decide what feels and works best for their unique journey.
What inspires you?
I am truly inspired by all of the people I am surrounded by at Sojourn - everyone who enters our doors is seeking healing, growth and evolution! I'm also SO inspired by anyone who's authentically connected to their soul's purpose and embodying that in their life and work. If more of us lived our lives in this way, we could change the world!
Whitney teaches RESTORE: yin + reiki every Friday morning from 9:30AM - 10:30AM and co-leads a monthly Conscious Kids workshop focused on creating a sacred space for children (ages 4 to 9) to learn all about self-love, intuition, positive thinking and how to raise their frequency.
Interview by Taina Berardi