Happy New Year Yogis!

intentionIt’s that time of year again, the New Year!

Instead of that long list of resolutions how about a few SOLID intentions, ones that revolve around practicing self care and self love first and foremost?

I’ve ditched the resolution listing at the start of each year for the last 3 or 4 years. Setting intentions similar to how we might in yoga, I’ve had much more success. Every time I come to the mat I have a chance to revisit those intentions, reflect on them, and see if I’ve made progress… almost as if each practice is creating a blank slate – a chance for me to begin to do the work if I haven’t yet or to reflect on the work that I’ve started. Being a fan of routine (and making lists) I will often make a smaller intention list at the beginning of each month rather than once a year- it works for me and it might work for you?

When I feel like saying “tomorrow” or “next week” or “if only _____ was _____ then I could _____” aka making excuses. I’m guilty… I make excuses sometimes more than I like to admit. I’m human. We’re all human. When I begin to make excuses more than usual, I like to remember and reflect on how it feels to be on the other end, because when I get stuck it’s a pretty depressing place to be. We feel good when we’re active, eating better, kind to ourselves, and mindful – most importantly if were always striving to do our best… we talk to ourselves much better- from a place of love- which is SO important. How many times have you talked terribly to yourself in front of the mirror or anywhere for that matter? Would you talk to someone else like that, I think not! So stop doing it to yourself! In class, I say it all the time- take that energy you just spent on that NEGATIVE judgement or thought and turn it into something POSITIVE or better yet here’s a challenge: every time you tell yourself you aren’t worthy, beautiful, strong, or whatever it may be- do a 1 min plank!

Here are some of my favorite ways to stay motivated and connected when I’m discouraged or in a FUNK…

  • Find a new hobby
  • Start back up an old hobby
  • Join a gym/club/studio/etc but start with a modest intention one month at a time. Often we sign up for a year or more before we know if it’s a right fit and then feel guilty for not going. I have done this SO many times… Now I do one month at a time once I’ve gone for 2 months consistently I re-evaluate and commit to more to save $$.
  • Practice self care and lots of it: Salt baths, books, massages, essential oils, candles, etc. Develop a self care routine that renews you, make it your sacred ritual.
  • Schedule a private yoga session to get a personal practice routine specific for your needs physical and emotional.
  • Schedule a Space Clearing/House Blessing for your house, get rid of old stagnant energy to make room for new intentions.
  • Plan a trip or retreat that is purely for YOU, that’s based around well being and renewing.
  • Start a meditation practice- just minutes can do wonders.

When you do your best the rest will fall into place. Best of luck to everyone this 2015! See you in practice! Also feel free to contact me about scheduling a private session or Space Clearing/House Blessing. Namaste!

Things worth checking out from some of my beloved teachers:

Retreat with Jenn Wooten and Angie Knight in Maya Tulum 

Meditation Series with Sheila Singh 


Life is Difficult (In Memory of Robin Williams)

PemaI’ve been thinking a lot about life and it’s struggles, and upon finding out the news about Robin Williams I couldn’t help but feel so disheartened. I didn’t know him, I’ve never met him, and I haven’t seen every single one of his stand up acts or films, but it got to me.  Someone so talented, so kind and gentle, so multi-faceted, could be gone so young and by choice.

I do know one thing that’s for certain- no matter who you are, what your career is, how much money you make, or how you were raised…one thing will always remain: things will fall apart for you more than once and you will constantly be tested here on this Earth (some more than others). This is what makes life so difficult at times, it’s not the moments when things are perfect and coming together. When we are low, depressed,  addicted, miserable, judged, feeling worthless, etc- this is when we tend to unravel. Usually it’s a downward spiral of falling apart until eventually we allow space for these feelings to come and go as a part of our lives. Rather than suppressing them until eventually the pot over flows – we need to make space. There are several methods for creating this space so that it ALL can have a symbiotic relationship. You can pray, meditate, cry, run, walk, practice yoga, go to church, have a spiritual practice, get a hobby, journal, see a therapist and/or practice in surrendering a bit each day. The thing is, mental illness is so prevalent all around us that sometimes these things are not enough and you need to reach out to someone who can help you. It could be a friend, family, a teacher, anyone- you just have to do it.

I recently was at the E.R. for stomach pain and as normal protocol I was asked ” Do you have or have you ever had thoughts of suicide or harming yourself?” I said ,”no”. I then asked the nurse  if a lot of people answer that question with a “yes”? He said “you would be very surprised by the amount that do, we live in a crazy world”. Ever since then I have been thinking about his words and how this huge problem we, as a nation are facing. We are suppressing feelings and emotions, not allowing “space” for things to fall apart and come together in order to fit in, to not seem crazy, to keep our jobs… whatever it may be.

Coming from a family with some mental illness and addiction, even having lost an uncle to a drug overdose tragically- please know you are not alone in this life struggle. Mental illness and the weight of the world can be so difficult especially when combined. I urge anyone that knows someone fighting a battle to reach out to them or if you, yourself are fighting to stay here on Earth, please tell someone about it.

You are not alone… in this mad world.

Much Love,

Jen D.


The Art of Surrendering

nice-sayings-quotes-picsHi Everyone!

I’m under the weather today, well actually or the past couple of weeks (give or take). So what better time to catch a chance to blog. Apologies for any bad grammar or miss-spellings in advance.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the act of surrendering, letting go, forgiving, creating space, you get my drift. If you’re anything like me you can relate to letting things kind of build up until the “pot overflows” and not in a good way like coins shooting out of a slot machine into your bucket…  I think as humans we do this a lot to avoid conflict or accepting that something is WRONG. Whether it be letting something slide over and over, putting the blame on someone else to make them “wrong” and you “right”, or simply dealing with feeling a certain way (for instance being sick) because you don’t have the time to be sick or rest.  Whatever it may be we are really good at this act of holding back to make life, for the moment, less complicated, less dramatic, to create less friction between ourselves and what ever is giving us trouble.  We like quick fixes and ignoring something is one of them for sure!

Some times we stick in relationships far longer than we should knowing deep down it’s doomed from the start or far before we cut ties. We might let people take advantage of us because we’re scared to speak up. We may even say “yes” too often, depleting ourselves completely leaving nothing left for the people matter most in our lives.

How can we take a little time out of our day to work on this act of surrendering fully? We can meditate, pray, journal, talk about it, etc. maybe even all of the above.  When I teach classes my biggest hope and goal for the practices are to create a space where this surrendering happens effortlessly and with grace (even though we may feel far from graceful).  This is a daily practice, and the only way to get better at it is to practice in a space that’s nourishing, quiet, and inviting.

Next time you’re feeling like dismissing something because you think “what’s the use”, boiling in your own anger or disappointment, or sadness, or simply putting yourself LAST to serve others all the time. STOP and do these 4 things on a daily basis.

  1. STOP and say “I’m going to stop and act on creating space so that I can have clarity.”*
  2. Breathe, Meditate, Pray, practice Yoga,  journal, go for a walk, or get some air  (all of the above is welcomed).
  3. Act on taking your new found energy, put it to use to solve the problem, talk about it with the involved, (IF it’s worth your time) or let it go, but really let it go, don’t fake it. 😉
  4. With the space you’ve created, invest in something better for yourself, your family, or friends.

*Repeat as needed

We will never be done with this work but the more we practice, the easier it is to get to step #4 on a regular basis.

I invite you to take the initiative to surrender some how daily. It can be as simple not getting mad at your significant other for not doing something right (or right away), as large as letting go of trying to control situations that are out of your control, or blaming yourself for other peoples problems. Only good can come from these acts.

Good luck and much love!

Being Selfless in a Selfish World


How do we find balance -selflessness and selfishness?

It’s good to take time out for ourselves… most people don’t do it enough.

Over the last few weeks I have been going back and forth between how I should approach some continuing education for my yoga teaching background. Unfortunately it’s been more difficult than expected. I have gone over each option and scenario and finally found something amazing that I would love to do, however it’s not something I can feel comfortable shelling out the big bucks for…  even on a payment plan (money is money).

I looked at all options, ALL of them! I thought maybe I could raise the money by making herb infused olive oils, sugar scrubs, cheese, etc. Then I immediately thought, who am I to work so hard (extra work on top of my other jobs) to do something for myself and why don’t I have that drive to raise money to do something for my family and home. Before having a home, a husband, a ton of bills- If I wanted something I would make it happen, and it always did…

I feel this intense feeling of selfishness for wanting to spend the money when it could be saved for my family, for a vacation, for a new backyard, for more gardens, etc. Then I feel this sadness that I “need” to do this to further my career (which by the way is not just teaching yoga).  Maybe if I did just teach yoga it would be more justifiable? Regardless I have yet to find a way to justify spending that kind of money purely on myself and it’s been a little hard to keep the emotions out of my throat, eyes, and mind- Feeling like a baby at times!

Part of me is resentful because we probably wont go on vacation, or do the backyard, or build more gardens any time soon but that shouldn’t matter and really it doesn’t.

After meditating on it, giving it some deep thought… I’ve realized, I need to let it go humbly and be happy with what I have right here and now, which is a lot and I am very thankful life is really really good right now on the path.  I need to be okay with not “getting my way” because life is different than it was 5 years ago. I need to save money for certain occasions in advance so I don’t feel this sense of overwhelming selfishness.  I’ve also realized… I probably really need a vacation 😉

I would love to hear your insights especially if you have dealt with this feeling before. Much Love.





How will you distribute your energy? How will you break the cycle?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole fitness industry (yoga very much included). Like any industry there are pro’s and con’s that we could list for days. Having been in the fitness industry for almost 13 years I’ve been seeing some patterns which make me pretty upset…

I decided to write this post so that some that may have experienced this kind of behavior may find comfort and maybe to those that have been on the other end to gain a new perspective, regardless it’s time to break the cycle…

Before I start here’s a little background. In college I opened a local gym every morning during the week at 4:30am (ugh), I’d work until 10am and then go to school come home for a nap and then work as a bartender at night until 12am most nights. Once my common sense kicked in I decided the bar at night was a bad idea and decided I wanted to teach classes at the gym for extra money instead. I started with what I knew. I always took spin class,  so I became certified to teach “spin” class, then things led to teaching group fitness classes, then to be a certified personal trainer, and eventually to teaching yoga, my passion.

Throughout this 12 year journey I have mentored/helped several people looking to do the same kinds of work.  I’ve never hesitated to take time out of my day to talk and share experiences and hope that some little bit will help them have confidence to do what they love.  It’s about encouraging others and inspiring people to be authentic in their lives. Yes not everyone is cut out for certain lines of work and that will become evident throughout the process and the journey if it needs to naturally.

Yesterday I was talking with a good friend from out of town and she mentioned to me she was auditioning casually to teach a fitness class at the gym she goes to (she’s got a great full time job NOT in the fitness industry), they had approached her so she decided to give it a shot. The audition went well and she was feeling good about it. She then shared with me some of the things that happened with another instructor after her audition that had nothing to do with her audition… To make a long story short and for privacy, she was very rude and unprofessional to my friend. One could speculate on why and what it means but that’s just wasted energy.

This stirred up quite a bit of emotion for me because I see this all the time, this catty behavior of belittling, condemning, and disrespecting so blatantly or sadly un- blatantly for that matter to one another in this field. Yes, I know it’s life and it’s like this everywhere in some shape, form, or fashion but come on let’s make some changes!!!

I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot over the years in this particular field. From fellow teachers taking classes doing a whole different practice than what’s being instructed (awkward…), people bashing other people in public settings with students/clients around, straight up calling someone out in front of everyone when it should have been a private matter, and most often I see people being taken advantage of which, in a sense is their own fault if they don’t change anything. To put it simply all of these actions do the opposite of uplift and encourage individuals in any profession. It makes people question their self worth and their passion. With the time and energy spent on being this kind of negative person you could have helped someone become empowered and inspired in some way. It’s all spent energy, so why not make it positive.

All I do know is that you are in control of your own happiness so if you find this kind of repeat behavior happening it’s time to find something new no matter what you do for a living or hobby. Yes, every place whether it’s cubicle land or in the gym will have it’s issues, some more/less than others. So be somewhere where you feel excited and supported by others in what you do and you will flourish.

I’ve had so many wonderful “teachers” throughout the years that have helped me tremendously and for that I’m forever grateful, thank you for being that bright and shining star in a sky of darkness.


Much Love – Jen D.

Amazing Connections Along the Journey of Life

Travis Northwest-20140325-01398Hi Everyone, Sorry I missed last week, it’s been a bit crazy… in a good way.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the beauty of the connections we have with others.  From people we know very well all the way to people met in passing on a crowded street.  Everywhere around us we are constantly making connections, some deeper and more meaningful than others. Some last and some fade but one thing always remains, there was a moment where you and someone else for maybe only a moment understood what it means to be here on this earth on the same page at the very same time. It’s always happening around us, constant connections. We often miss them since we are too caught up in ourselves, in the drama of day to day life.

Recently I had the pleasure of experience a deep connection with a student, whom I don’t know all too well (personally), not much other than her name, what she looks like, and how she practices yoga.

 I taught a  Spring Cleaning Workshop (letting go of things that no longer serve us, making room for new space) in the beginning of March this year and I wanted to share the email I received from her.

She wrote :

“You had asked us to bring an offering that meant something to us. So I’ve been thinking, “what do I want to bring that’s meaningful”. Hmmm, well, I have these 3 rocks at home that I bought after my ovarian cancer illness. One says “health”, one says “happiness”, and one says “courage”. I emptied out the lavender from a small satchel bag I have and put inside it a rock from a friend, I also put in the bag the rock that says “health” and the rock that says “happiness”. For some unknown reason I didn’t grab the rock that said “courage”. I left it at home. You brought us through such a beautiful meditation. I loved the mantra “I am well. I am happy. I am free from suffering.” That brought me to a happy peaceful place. Then you rang the bells…. of course each of us will have random thoughts going through our minds. Well, my mind focused entirely on the 1 rock I didn’t bring with me that said “courage”. I left that rock at home. Why? Why would I leave “courage” at home and not bring it with me when we all need courage? In my mind all I could focus on was that rock that said courage that I left behind. So, that “courage” rock became my focus. Jen, you then asked us to come to our seated position and bring our hands to heart giving thanks. You then asked us to open our eyes. Well, you gave us all a beautiful gift. A rock. I looked at the rock in front of me and saw the word “courage”. I looked at the girl’s rock next to me (thinking they all said courage), and it said something different. Your gift to us could’ve been anything….a flower. Mine was a rock that said courage. Thank you Jen! Thank you for being part of my journey. “

When I read this email it made me overwhelmed with several different emotions.  I was so joyous she shared here experienced,  I was amazed by the connection we had, and also initially saddened to know more personally about her and illness that she had battled. I was honored to know the rest of the story with her “journey”.

I have been thinking about these special connections for a long time and what they mean. I seem to have them a lot or at least on a regular basis with people, people I know, acquaintances, or random strangers. When my husband and I were in South Korea we managed to run into my old roommate’s ex-girlfriend Kay back in college (one of two Koreans I know) on the subway. I think there are better odds to win the lotto than that. Kay moved back to Korea after college, we never stayed in touch as we’d only known her for a short time.  Out of all the people in Korea, out of all the subways and lines. We found ourselves sitting across from her… Earlier that morning I had joked with Evan, “do you think Kay would recognize us if she saw us”?  Well we did and it blew our minds even to this day I’m still amazed.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is we are all here together on this Earth fighting many of the same battles just at different times and ways, I’ve been mentioning this a lot lately…  so it’s important to put your best energy out there. Along the way you will make some very meaningful and important connections so you must be present. These connections might even be life changers. So make it your duty to help others, to believe in something bigger than yourself, and ask for help when the going gets tough.  Don’t let life and stress weigh you down so much that these connections can’t happen, create the space you need to be available to others especially the ones you love the most.

It takes constant work, so be present so the work can be done!  Now get to work! 🙂


Ways to Be More Present

Goodmorning Everyone !

To preface : I’m not a fancy writer, I don’t use many big words, and I often have difficulty pronouncing them (I’m ok with that but I’m getting better)! I’m just here putting out what I’m feeling, so don’t mind the grammatical errors. 🙂 I have a bachelors degree in art, specifically sculpture and watercolor… so my talents are more of the “hands on” creative form and fashion.  I even made Dean’s List for 2 semesters…

Wondering how to become more present? The practice is simple, it’s the maintaining through the rough spots that’s the hard part. The truth is you will never be 100% happy all the time, 100% present and aware all the time, it’s just not going to happen so accept it and quit beating yourself up!  When we are doing well in life and things are smooth sailing we can often connect more to the present and are more aware of the beauty around us- we are tuned in and we like it!


When any little burden, obstacle, argument, bad look, whatever it may be, gets us fired up we start to lose all connections and completely lose sight, in essence we shut down (insert cranky baby tantrum here).  The mind is a powerful thing and we must accept that.  The great thing about these low points, these bouts of chaos, is that somewhere deep inside of this difficulty there is an important lesson to be learned.  It’s up to you to seek out the potential good in a bad situation because I can tell you this, it will not be obvious or delivered to you on a silver platter.

Here are ways to practice being more present ESPECIALLY when you are feeling low:

Screen shot 2014-03-13 at 9.26.49 AM

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Thursday Ramblings

never give up

This week has been a tough one for me. It’s the first week where I haven’t taught 9 classes, almost half of them being at one studio.  Recently I made a big shift in my life plans (more to come on that in a later post) and while I’m very excited for what the future holds I’m deeply missing my students.  They were truly my reason for teaching but also my reason for making the shift (in a good way of course).

I told my very last classes this and it will always remain true: “If I stood here before you and constantly told you to move from your comfort zone so you can grow, to never give up… What kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t listen to my own teachings and lead by example?” The truth is change is scary and there’s always that “fear of the unknown”.  My  intention for you all is to turn the fear of the unknown into excitement towards seeking out the unknown!  If we knew the end of the story for our lives, would we choose to still live it out?  Live with the best storyline in mind, strive for the best life for your body, mind, heart, and soul.  Yes there will be obstacles, sadness, fear, and maybe even tragedy… BUT we can only define what these things are by experiencing joy, happiness, love, and life.

With my newly found free time, I find myself thinking a lot about what it truly means to be a teacher, not just a yoga teacher but any kind of teacher.  Giving your WHOLE self to people time and time again.  Your thoughts, your opinions, your viewpoints in hopes that they will pull from the best pieces you’ve offered and create something even greater for themselves for their lives…  As teachers [most of us] we don’t get paid all that well and we aren’t perfect by any means but we have the power to change peoples lives, to inspire, to mentally nourish those around us for better (even if it’s only ONE person that’s hearing what you’re putting out there)!  We don’t do it for the money, we teach for that ONE person, hopefully it turns into 2,3,4 and so on but we do it humbly and with good intentions.  Giving out this energy is tough work and can be exhausting both physically and mentally.   It’s so important to take care of ourselves first so we can be somewhat grounded and put our best intentions out there.

We are all teachers of some sort- if you live on this earth you have something to give therefore something to teach to make the world a better place. Much Love my teachers.