Sunday, September 13, 2015

My 120 Day Blessingway Celebration

Well it has been quite some time since I have written a post here. Most of my writing over the last year (or 2 years) has been through Elephant Journal, an excellent on-line platform.

I've also been going through a bit of a creative "funk," spending a lot of time going inward, rather than sharing outward. For those of you close to 30 who know what a Saturn Return is, you know what I'm saying.

And then this morning - BAM! - I had to get up out of bed and come to my computer out of a longing to write, to share, to express myself. I had hoped that this feeling would happen again, and damn does it feel delicious.

To see some of the writings I've been up to over the last couple of years on Elephant Journal, click here! And to read my most recent post to get you up to date, read my latest article "The Spiritual Surprise of Being Pregnant."

And now that you've been updated, onto what got me out of bed with excitement this morning.

I've been waking up during the magic hour for about a week now, that time before dawn when everything is still and dark. It's been quite annoying actually. Why can't I just sleep like I want to?

Most days I do go back to sleep. But today nausea got me up to drink some ginger tea and while I was at it, I decided to read from Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, one of the books that has become my pregnancy guides.

"As you breathe and as you move, so will your baby throughout his life."

Enter fear & doubt. Upon reading the above quote in my book this morning I thought, "I'm not doing enough good, I need to be more active, am I taking deep enough breaths?, what about all the anger I feel, I mean road rage isn't a good trait to pass on, I should probably be doing every activity under the sun so that my baby has the option of it all." Yes, all in one sentence.

Ok, now breathe, Jess.

I had to remind myself that how I choose to see it is how it shall be. I CHOOSE to believe that I am providing a wonderful space for this new soul and that I am learning along the way. I am meditating regularly, walking every day. I am guiding my meditation class every week, and every week someone tells me how it has changed their lives for the better. I am manifesting a new house and learning to receive support and love in ways I didn't even know were available to me.

Continue focusing on the good. Continue holding the space. And then I read this:

In Kundalini yoga, 120 days marks the time that the soul enters the body. 
Similar to the Navajo blessingway initiation.

Which for me, would've been about yesterday. My 4 month mark.

For whatever reason my pregnancy brain had me thinking this was at the 3 month mark and that it had already passed by the time I found out about it. (Duh, Jess). But no! It is happening right now! How exciting.

So hey, if the soul just entered, I've basically just been given a clean slate, right?

Maybe that is why I felt feverish on Friday night? The anticipation of it all?

I was on my way to a Dharmata talk given by Anam Thubten when I started feeling not so well. I almost didn't go and honestly it was a struggle to give it my full attention. But I also felt so at peace while I was there, being in his presence and amongst others who are full of such good intention is well, quite the zen experience. At the end we were chanting, and one of the words we chanted is a name I will give our baby if it is a boy. Before we chanted that name, I saw a bright rainbow flash before my eyes. Yes, seriously. It was my favorite part of the night. It made me feel like our baby was talking to me. It was the strongest intuitive hit I have had since being pregnant and it felt delightful.

And that's just the beginning of the synchronicities of this 120 day mark.

At the beginning of February my dear friend Vicki invited me along with some of her closest friends to a girls weekend in Orlando. I wasn't sure I could go at first. And when it came time to book flights, I was in my first trimester and feeling so deflated. I barely had the energy to arrange booking the tickets, let alone feeling up for a ton of travel and unknown. I decided I would also visit my oldest friend Jenny while I was down there, to make the travel time while pregnant worth it, and also because I love Jenny dearly and couldn't imagine going to Florida without seeing her!

I am SO glad it all came through! I now get to spend the week of my "blessingway" surrounded by strong, beautiful, and powerful woman whom I love dearly. Women who play big roles in my spirituality but aren't around me daily. And I get to be on vacation. Living in lavish and luxury. With some time for just me and my babe, like when I found out I was pregnant in San Diego.

One of my fears in being pregnant is that I would lose my identity as a traveller. Turns our travel is already a major part of what is connecting me to this soul, and it couldn't seem to make more sense.

There are other major blessings abound to surround this weekend, this 120 day mark. One of my other far away, yet closest friends, left Saturday after having spent the past week with her, her partner, and their new baby (who is also my godchild!). Miraculous timing indeed. Today is breakfast with my big sister, dinner with Dave's parents, a Virgo new moon and eclipse, and my Navajo themed baby shower invites to go out today as well.

May the blessingway and celebration of this soul continue for many, many months to come. 
I am grateful.


The inspiration comes when the inspiration comes, trust that everything is working out with divine timing.

It is not necessarily about quantity of action, but more about quality of action.

Let every day - every breath - be a chance to start with a clean slate.

Life is magical and it is good to feel like a kid and basque in its wonder ever more. 

Won't you join me?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bad@ss Yogini - Reanna Knotts (A New Series!)

Hello all you Viva My Yoginis!!! Hola a todos!
It has been a whiiiiile since I've posted but here I am, I'm back!

And back with my first post of a series I am very excited to share with y'all - Bad@ss Yoginis. I think yoga has in may eyes become mainstream, exclusive, or only suitable to certain people (and often people who seem to be very good at gymnastics - which is not yoga!). One of my biggest priorities in life is to make the practice of yoga suitable and accessible to everyone

Which is why teaching to beginners (or to people who are afraid to step onto a mat or into a studio for the first time) is one of my biggest priorities in my experience as a yoga teacher. 

Yoga to me is about self-love. It's about finding a way to love yourself and accept yourself no matter the circumstance and to find ease within your body and mind. It's about giving everyone the tools to feel complete and connected even in the most trying of times, and all in very individual ways.

The wonderful souls I will share with you through this series of Bad@ss Yoginis embody this self-love that is at the root of yoga. They are everyday people who have inspired me above and beyond the poses they practice; they inspire me because they all have different reasons for stepping onto the mat, different backgrounds for what finding calm and connection has looked and felt like for them, and because they try to make a difference in their life and the lives of many every single day.
So I am very, very happy to introduce y'all to my first Bad@ss Yogini - the lovely and spirited Ms. Reanna Knotss

What was your first yoga experience like?

My first yoga class memory was probably like most out-of-shape, under stretched, short breath rookie. I remember looking around most of the class and fighting that "ego" that they kept talking about through every class. I refused to do a child's pose and my breath work was a "huffing and puffing" method that I thought I had mastered because I was still conscious. I ONLY did hot classes because I thought this was the ONLY possible way you could gain anything from yoga. And boy was I wrong.

What does the word ‘yoga’ mean to you?

Yoga to me means bringing awareness to your mind, body, and soul. Yoga was my anti-depressant, my wake-up call,  and was my mental stability during some hard times. I would best describe Yoga as the journey within yourself that can never be judged because it's YOUR practice. 

What was your journey like from pre-yogi to full on yogi?
Photo by: 2Tphoto

I started my journey off in hopes to find a hobby, become physically active, and find something that was missing inside. I dove right into teacher training in 2011, whilst I was completing my Bachelors, working full-time, and dealing with my own inner battle. I was told I had manic depressive disorder and that medication would be my best friend. Being stubborn and strong willed, I quit cold turkey and relied on the support that I had left in my life: my wonderful boyfriend, his family, and my closes friends. I discovered more than what I had originally signed up for. I found my hobby, my passion, and that missing piece

I became independent of all medications and found a self-love that I never imagined could exist. I began to heal from the inside-out and I am thankful that I took that awkward step onto my rented yoga mat.

What is your favorite thing about practicing?

I love getting lost in the practice and discovering what my mind or body may need during that time.  Whether I get on my mat or not, I enjoy the challenge that presents itself and how I physically and mentally react to that challenge. I always remember that how you react on the mat is how you react in the real world, so pause, breathe, and let it go. I also love the diversity in all yoga styles and I love that I can incorporate it all in my own practice. It truly is a personal journey and one that I wish on everyone!

What does your personal practice look like? Any advice for making an at home practice accessible?

My advice to a home practice is to refrain from beating yourself up if you only do child's pose or downward facing dog. The point is that you made it to your mat. The days that seem hard to practice or a pressing time limit, I tend to do Sun Salutation A and some stretches that my body is craving. Also, it's important to find a quiet, disruptive place. This is super important in clearing the mind, feeling safe, and creating a personal space for yourself.

My personal practice and how my classes are typically taught, usually start off with some grounding in child's pose, light cat/cow stretches, core work, and a long first downward facing dog. I do a heavy vinyasa/power flow with sun salutations A and B with a vocal reminder to not listen to the ego and take that child's pose or bring the knees, chest, and chin to the mat instead of forcing the chaturanga dandasana. Usually some grounding is needed after this vigorous asana, so Tree, eagle, malasana and other grounding poses follow the Sun Salutations.  After this, a well deserved play time is in session with inversions or crow/side crow, with many modifications that will allow me to go where my body is willing to take me. I then begin the cooling process with specific stretches that coincide with what I worked on that day. It's a beautiful thing.

What would you suggest for someone who is new to yoga? Where should they start?

Start wherever they can start. Whether its a video, gym, or a studio...just do it. Be mindful that it takes practice and that you may be good at one thing, but need work and release in other areas. Just listen to your body and stay positive during the process. Remember: it's just smile and be happy that you made it to the mat!

What do you think the biggest benefit of yoga is?

The benefits are endless because everyone has a different body, restrictions/ injuries,  mental struggle, or spiritual growth that could be healed.  Doing yoga allows you to physically challenge yourself, mentally release, and maybe dig a little deeper on what defines you as a person. What more could a person want??
Photo by: 2Tphoto

Name a favorite pose to do first thing in the morning.. and to ground yourself?

Child's pose is definitely my favorite thing to do first thing in the morning. Followed by some forward folds and wide leg forward fold with some twist. My favorite pose around lunch time is head always gives me energy and calms the mind during busy days.

What do you do to feel balanced?

I love to run. Running clears my mind and challenges me in a different way than yoga. I have to practice my positive thoughts and slow my breath. I use this time to practice meditative work. I also love a warm bath, lavendar candles lit, and have some me time.

What pose makes you feel strong and beautiful?

My favorite pose is Trikonasana or Bird of Paradise. These poses do something inside that make me feel strong, grounded, and beautiful. In both poses, I feel a release and I feel every muscle working to make everything come together where it's suppose to be.

Two of my favorite quotes that get me out of bed and reminds me of my purpose: 

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the 
service of others"- Mahatma Gandhi

"Live with intention, do what you love"-Anonymous

Reanna resides Georgia, teaching at Be Yoga in Marietta. If you can, go take a class from her today and share your experience of what yoga means to you. 

Reanna taking a midday yoga break at work!

That's all for now, keep on being Bad@ss and Make a Great Day for yourselves, lovelies!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yoga Retreat in the Salt Desert, Chakra Talk, and all things Spring.

Helloooooo all you Viva My Yoginis!!! Does it feel like Spring where you are? 
Almost here! And the time change this weekend...
It's a great chance for a renewal of spirit.

Why not try something new, a way to enhance your self in the months to come.
Break out of your winter shell, do a happy dance, and partake in all that scintillates your senses.

As Drea (a magical horse/human healer) puts it:

'Join us for an experiential nature retreat like no other. I guarantee you will be inspired by this experience of the desert in bloom, walking the land where horses have been running free for centuries, hiking to places where early explorers came and native Americans still hold sacred. A place where a culture Sang for Horses! An experience where you will reconnect with your inner wisdom and begin trusting it as a sacred resource for your life's journey.'

Click here to find out more & sign up today.
**$100 of every registration will be donated to the non-profit working to preserve the Salt River Wild Horses.**

We'll be practicing yoga daily; experiencing very powerful horse/human healing; kayaking on the Salt River; full moon drumming amongst petroglyphs; enjoying sunset & sunrise hikes in the Salt Desert; and setting lots of good intention for ourselves & the Salt River Wild Horses.

Certainly a way to scintillate the senses & nourish the soul!

 And for all you local Bozemanites - we're bringing back CHAKRA TALK!
It was such an informative hit last year, we decided to turn it into a 4 week series beginning on Monday, March 10th.

I'll introduce all the major energy centers in the body, how to understand them and bring them into alignment. Each class will finish with a guided meditation using crystal bowls & other healing techniques specific to each chakra!

Time to learn how this type of SELF care really is the very best HEALTHcare!! 

March 10th ~ Introduction and Root Chakra
Nourishing your Temple

March 17th ~ Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras
Your power and balance

March 24th ~ Heart and Throat Chakras
Finding your purpose and speak your truth

March 31st ~ Third Eye, Crown and Star
Connect to the divine, your inner wisdom.
Classes begin at 4:45 p.m.
Cost is $40 for the Series
Dari Rasa Trunk Show
132 E. Main Street

*There is a drop-in fee available of $15 per class.*

Namasté y'all - love to each and all of you!!!
Happy journeying.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Boho Daily, Tiny Devotions, & Ritual for Everyone

Hello all you fabulous Viva My Yoginis out there!!

How is Mercury in Retrograde treating you?
How about that powerful Leo full moon last Friday, Valentine's day?!

I am excited to share an article I wrote about ritual for the wonderfully delightful blog - Boho Daily. Boho Daily is sister company to Tiny Devotions. This is their manifesto:

'We're Boho gypsies, yogi fashionistas who spread awareness about mala beads
 that inspire their wearers to live more peaceful intention based lives.'

Perfect, right? So much to love about this company and all the wonderful people and ideas it combines. The article is fresh on their blog today and can also be found by clicking here:

The article touches upon what ritual means to me, how we can all incorporate it into our lives, and fun ideas to make it your own! It also mentions how much I looooove to live in Montana (no surprise there)!

How do you incorporate ritual into your own life? Have you ever tried? A lot of this blog is about ritual, whether you realize it or not. Celebrating the moon and its cycles. Working with crystals and pulling animal cards. Meditating with and wearing my mala beads every day.

You may have noticed in that most every picture I am wearing my beloved mala beads that I got while living at an eco village in Peru. They have been my best friend over the last year. I wear them to remind me of my source, to keep me feeling protected and grounded, and to always remember that inner goddess within.

But lately they've been breaking away. The small wooden beads gradually starting to fall off.

It's a sign to me that it's time to move forward and embrace a new way of living and feeling free. Because I am not the same person that I was a year ago. I have ebbed and flowed and transitioned and changed. I have cried and felt utterly lonely. I have laughed so hard I felt as if there was joy bursting out of my heart, enough to reach every single person in the world.

It was time. I ordered my new malas from Tiny Devotions just last week.

Life is constantly changing. Ritual brings us back. I'll still perform all the same rituals with my new malas as I used to, but I will be doing so with a pair of mala beads that now represent and inspire me in the ways I need today. It feels so blissful to treat myself in ways that inspire me to move forward.

It's time to let myself grow. I'm ready for the next step, to let go of the past ways of being, habits that no longer serve me. Every day a new beginning. I'm going to allow ritual and fresh perspective to take me into the very best me.

I'm ready to soar!!!

Won't you come along with me?
And leave your favorite rituals in the comments below!
I'd love to hear from you.

Namaste y'all. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Your 3 Little Words - New Year's 2014 Intentions

Soooooo the New Year is among us and I am curious what all you Viva My Yoginis are hoping for in 2014?!?

Valparaíso, Chile

There is so much that I have done in the way of intention setting in the past; I have manifested and journaled my needs until I've turned blue in the face and gotten writer's cramp in the hand.

But lately I haven't wanted to be as specific in my manifesting. Yes, I definitely want to put my creativity out there and set certain goals for myself - and I most assuredly will continue to do so. But when I get so detailed sometimes I lose sight of the bigger picture.

And right now I'd like to allow for more ease and to let things come to me. Which is why I'm sticking to 3 little (or actually, pretty BIG) words.

So, why and how to choose just 3???

Well as for intentions, I believe that the clearer we are in our wants & needs, the more likely we are to receive. It's that simple (even if sometimes it comes to bite you in the ass).

But too often we set intentions for what we want outside of ourselves. The easiest example that comes to mind is in love & relationship. We say, 'I want a man who speaks 4 languages, knows his way around a chainsaw, has blue eyes and is 5'10' or taller, yadi yada, blah, blah, blah.


Because often that 'ideal' comes along and yet we're still left with our own uncertainty or unhappiness surrounding us. And we think, but this is exactly what I asked for, why do I still feel so unfulfilled, incomplete?

It's because we're focusing on specifics of what we think will make us happy rather than just focusing on the way we want to feel in the first place. So let's start there.

i.e. I want to feel loved and cherished; I want to feel stimulated and deeply appreciated; I want to feel adored and loved unconditionally; I want to feel valued in my job and that my potential is actualized; I want to feel excitement and adventure...

I want to feel [fill in the blank].

My beloved Montana

Once you have a pretty good idea of how it is you want to feel, then I suggest you break those ideas down into the three most important to you, in this moment. If you can't decide: do a comparison chart and use your intuition to rate each feeling side by side until you get the ones that win out over the rest.

Here are my 3 words for 2014:


It's a joy to embrace that which is most important to us as living, breathing, spiritual beings. It doesn't have to be so complex, let it be easy. Decide what is most important and the rest will follow.

Now it's your turn, what are your 3 little or BIG words to bring you into the New Year?
Happy Year of the Horse & Namasté!!!!