JAKI NETT was born in 1944, in Mississippi as Jacquelyn Mae Dunn. After graduating from high school in 1962, she departed her home state for Los Angeles, California being pulled by her childhood dream; careers in acting and modeling. Soon after arriving in LA, she studied modeling and a couple years later she enrolled at Los Angeles City College in the Theater Arts Department to continue her dream pursuit. After receiving her Associated Arts degree in Theater Arts, she started looking for a job.
In 1967, she was interviewed to become a Playboy Bunny at the LA Playboy Club on the Sunset Strip. She was hired and became one of the select few to be chosen to be a Playboy Bunny – in fact she was one of the first women of color to be hired. During her nearly 12 years as a Bunny, she represented Playboy Club Inc. in pictorials and speaking engagements. She became the longest standing LA Training Bunny and also earned the position of International Training Bunny. She made her TV debut in the late 60’s in “Playboy After Dark”, and then in the ’70’s TV shows “Love American Style”, in which she had a reoccurring part for three years and on “Room 222”. She also did “Tea Room” and Runway modeling, and commercials for TV, billboards and magazines.
Playboy Club Inc. encouraged the Bunnies to further their education. During her tenure, in 1975, Jaki earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design and Art. Playboy Club Inc. paid 50% of the cost of the Bunnies schooling and adjusted the Bunnies work schedule to accommodate her classes.
It was during Jaki’s “heyday” at Playboy that she discovered yoga.
Jaki started taking yoga classes in 1975. She received her first Yoga Teachers Certification in 1977, from Indra Devi and her next yoga certification in 1978, signed by Armrit Desi. Bunnies were her first students, and they encouraged her to “teach yoga”.
Jaki met her future husband studying yoga and left Playboy Club Inc. to get married in 1979. She and her husband Allan, moved to St. Helena, California and continued their study of yoga. She took her first Iyengar yoga class at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (IYISF) in 1982. Jaki soon enrolled in IYISF’s Teacher Training Program and in 1988, she became a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT).
To continue developing the skill of teaching Iyengar Yoga, teachers are required to travel to Pune India to study at Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI).
Jaki’s first trip to RIMYI was in 1986, where she studied under the tutelage of the world-renowned yoga master BKS Iyengar and his daughter Geeta S. Iyengar. By year 2017, she had traveled 25 times to Pune to study.
In 1987, during her early years of studying Iyengar Yoga, she was diagnosed with large, painful and slowly growing uterine fibroids. Her doctor recommended a hysterectomy. She was “a yoga teacher” so this idea was repugnant to her. She wanted to address her condition through yoga. Jaki traveled to Pune where Mr. Iyengar worked intensively with her to understand how to work with fibroids. Even though yoga gave relief, the discomfort and pain became so great that it drained her mentally and physically. She struggled with her fibroids for five years. They made her weak and tired. They grew till they made her look like she was in her late second trimester of pregnancy. She got her hysterectomy in 1990. The fibroids weighed three pounds.
Jaki struggled with the fact that she allowed the fibroids grow so big that they caused physical problems to develop — the worst of all was incontinence. Looking back, it became clear that Jaki was so very vested in her persona of being a “yoga teacher and a vegetarian” that she felt that getting a hysterectomy meant she was “a big fake” — a failure as a yoga teacher and a failure as a vegetarian. She felt like a big failure!
It was because of her personal need for psychological and physical healing that Jaki started to paying attention to her inner thoughts and realizations. She used her yoga practice for physical healing and wrote about her psychological healing. Her most pressing issue was dealing with incontinence. Jaki looked but was not able to find written material on incontinence that satisfied her, so she started looking at the subject of incontinence and weak pelvic muscles through her study of yoga, anatomy physiology, and psychology. It was an intense 12-year journey that resulted in a book, “The Felt Sense Method: A Holistic Approach to Managing Incontinence”. The technique that evolved from her study is known as the “Felt Sense Method™” (FSM).
The FSM is a systematic method to help bring consciousness and strength back to the pelvic area through the steps of personal validation, pelvic floor consciousness, postural alignment and yoga asana(s).
For over 2 decades, Jaki has been teaching pelvic floor workshops and making a difference for women suffering from from a weak pelvic floor muscles and incontinence. Jaki gives interviews, writes magazine articles and gives workshops addressing pelvic floor health issues. She empowers women and men to regain physical and psychological control on this area.
When Jaki earned her Iyengar Yoga Intermediate Level III certification, she became a faculty instructor for the Advanced Studies Program at the IYISF, for which she has taught for over 20 years. She continues to teach public yoga classes and workshops at IYISF and also teaches at the Bay Club of Marin.
Jaki co-owns the Iyengar Yoga Napa Valley (IYNV), yoga studio with her husband Allan. The studio is located in the beautiful Napa Valley. At IYNV, Jaki teach a pubic yoga class, and leads a 2-year Teachers Training Study Group and an annual 7-Day August Retreat. She also teaches workshops nationally and internationally in Germany, England, Switzerland, Poland, and Finland.
Jaki received her Masters Degree in Humanistic Psychology from Sonoma State University in 1990, and taught Psychology for 5 years at Santa Rosa Jr. College in California. “Psychology of Identity” and “Introduction to Psychology”, were her focused courses. Her interest in the human musculoskeletal system led her to study anatomy. She has a burning fervor about the importance of having a basic understanding of the musculoskeletal system when teaching yoga asana. This led her to incorporate anatomical awareness in her teaching approach. “Understanding the Importance of Anatomy when Teaching Asana”, is the title of one of the favorite workshops she teaches.
In 2005, she earned her Senior Level Iyengar Yoga Certification.
Jaki is a very accomplished teacher. She is very present when she is teaching and has an approachable personality. Her methodical teaching style is a blend of her yoga practice, anatomy, balance, design and movement.
“Yoga asana is the foundation; anatomy is the insight; precision of postural alignment is the outcome”. ~ Jaki Nett
Jaki lives in the Napa Valley with her husband. She is the mother of an adult son.