My hope is that in sharing my story, I inspire you on yours!
My Grief and journey to yoga
why I teach
I remember the day I decided that becoming a yoga teacher was not just a dream, but a goal that I was determined to accomplish. I was lying in savasana while the instructor read a beautiful poem that brought tears to my eyes. I think back to how just an hour class and a few simple words at the end could bring me to that state, but I now know it wasn’t the practice that made me feel safe, grounded, and comfortable with my emotions, but the yoga teacher herself. I thanked her after and told her I was going to fully pursue a career in yoga because of her. I wanted to be like this for other people. I strive to provide a space in all my yoga classes where the students feel loved, worthy, and comfortable. Thank you Shurayah- I owe this chapter of my life to you.
how I found yoga
My journey to discovering yoga began with the sudden death of my high school/ university sweetheart (Trey). The overwhelming amount of sadness that interrupted my life was almost too much to bear. I have lost quite a few distant and close family members at a young age, but this specific loss felt… unfamiliar. Growing up I saw my family and some friends grieve in a negative light. Many of them turned to alcohol, drugs, food, etc. to mask the pain as they ventured into their lifetime of grief. I decided this would not be me. I began to go to yoga regularly even when I felt too low to go. Each class I attended I left with an abundance of peace and relief that I never found from drinking, smoking, or hermiting. 8 months later another dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly (Alex), this time the grief was different. I was able to process emotions and sit with them because I discovered healthier habits from yoga. 3 months later another important friend in my life left this earth unexpectedly too (Caleb). At this point, I was completely shocked and confused as to why these 3 beautiful loving men at the age of 20 left us so soon. These 3 losses sort of “woke” me up. I soon realized that each day is not promised. That this life we think we own is precious and I could no longer just let each day pass me by wallowing in my grief.
my yoga teaching journey
In November of 2017 a year after Trey’s passing, I applied to Yoga Alliance’s aspiring teacher scholarship. At this stage of my life, I was planning on moving to Australia in 2 months to become a nanny, really just for a change in scenery and to figure out my life. I have always had a heart for traveling, but the death of Trey, Alex, and Caleb was what really provided me with the courage to just, GO. In December I was awarded the scholarship that allowed me to travel anywhere in the world to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training. At that moment I knew that I was going to be a teacher just like mine.
I completed my 200-hour YTT in Koh Phangan, Thailand with Johnny Nasello at Ananda Yoga and Detox Center in May of 2018. After this, I continued my travels through Australia and volunteered at a yoga retreat in Sydney called Happy Buddha. I then moved back to my hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma where I refined my yoga teaching abilities and worked at 3 different studios. Jump ahead to July 2019 I was given the opportunity to move back to Thailand and help assist my teacher in a 200-hour course and then deepen my practice by completing my 300 hour advanced yoga teacher training.
what I am doing now
I currently reside in Auckland, New Zealand teaching classes at Soul Centre- for the Body and Mind and Yoga West. I facilitate grief yoga workshops around the city and provide 1 on 1 private yoga sessions. I also specialize in Reiki healing to help one gain clarity, reduce stress, and relax.
I am truly grateful for the time you have invested to read my story on how I have reached this point in my life. I hope that my story can offer you some hope in the midst of challenges in yours. Please message me with any questions or more information about my journey. I whole-heartedly believe that this life we live should be about connection and community. I would love for you to be a part of mine. I look forward to talking, meeting, and hugging. With SO much love and gratitude,
What People Are Saying
“During my initial meeting with Jess, she made me feel very comfortable and at ease. I had never had Reiki before, however I felt deeply peaceful and supported in the space that Jess had created for our session. During the healing I experienced a profound shift and clearing which I was able to discuss with Jess afterwards and gain clarity and understanding as to what had taken place on an energetic level. I am very grateful for the overall experience and I highly recommend Jess to others who are seeking a Reiki practitioner who is knowledgeable, as well as extremely intuitive, passionate and kind.”
“I had the opportunity to take Jess’s yoga class as well as experience my first ever reiki healing from her- both truly incredible experiences. As a yoga instructor myself, I was impressed by the attention to detail in Jess’s yoga class. Her cues are detailed and it is evident that she is well educated in proper alignment. I always really appreciate it when teachers place extra effort in theming a class, which she did very well. As for her reiki, I truly believe that Jess has a special ability to connect energies. She has an openness about her that creates a comfortable and healing environment. Overall I would highly recommend Jess’s services.”
“Jess is such a well-rounded and extremely talented teacher! I would highly recommend her classes and her healing services! She is wholeheartedly passionate about what she does and cares deeply about everyone she comes in contact with. She is one of those rare people who radiates genuine love and positivity – you can’t help but feel uplifted in her presence. If you get a chance to take her class or reiki, don’t hesitate. Just do it!“