Peer into the past by just over thirteen years and life for me looked radically different. You’d find me running around San Francisco likely wearing a business suit and heels pretending to be “important.” Most of my days were spent in an office on the 28th floor of Four Embarcadero Center in the Financial District.
From the outside looking in, life appeared great and as though I had set myself up pretty well. I had a high-paying job, a nice car, lived in a great apartment just off of Union Street in Cow Hollow. I had a busy social life with long-time friends and there was plenty of trouble to get into in that amazing city. But, the truth was I was living so many lies. It started to become clear to me that I was living a life that was built for someone else. It was a life not at all aligned with my soul, my purpose, my needs, my heart and it left me deeply unhappy, feeling lonely, unhealthy and managing the anxiety created by an ill-aligned life with pharmaceuticals.
At thirty-four, after fourteen years in the financial services industry, things started to shift. I began to hear and really listen to a deeper calling. I began to trust my intuition. I began to make decisions that made no sense at all at the time. I adopted a dog despite living in a small San Francisco apartment and having an active travel schedule. Not ideal circumstances for bringing home a pup but I was determined to create a life I actually wanted to be a part of. I traded in my Mazda Miata for a more practical dog-hauling vehicle. Then, I bought a bungalow in Northeast Portland, Oregon and my pup Maggie and I headed north.
Honestly, I left The Bay Area having NO CLUE what the future would hold for me. I assumed I’d land back in the same industry because it’s what I knew…but The Universe had other plans. As I settled into Portland, righting the ship of my physical and mental health was a top priority and YOGA was at the forefront. At first, my teacher had me focusing on unwinding 14 years of accumulated stress through mindfulness practices, pranayama and restorative poses. The teachings were supporting me in finding balance, alignment, inner-strength, fortification, grounding, presence…well, it was profound. I quickly came to know that yoga would always be a huge part of my life AND it was something I felt deeply called to share with others. I completed my first yoga teacher training program in 2006 and subsequently went on to massage school, graduating in 2008. I’m now in my eleventh year of sharing yoga from my heart and from a place of deep purpose, of caring. Yoga connects me with what’s true. It has offered me a path and a means for becoming whole again, for remembering that I’m not broken, that it’s gonna be ok. I believe it has the potential to heal us on every level and I want to hold space for that healing and for wholehearted living.
In addition to teaching public yoga classes, I lead Elevate Yoga Teacher Training Programs, I offer private and corporate yoga sessions and lead multiple retreats a year around the world.
Jill Knouse, E-RYT, LMT #15715