How Elevate was born…

Over two years ago,

I hosted the first Elevate Yoga community event.

37d3ee20-72cc-496f-ab14-653060ea4426

Photo credit: Astrid Images

My hope for this particular evening was to inspire open conversation about what was working for yoga teachers and also what was not; to hear the needs, desires, dreams of our peer group and to share mine.

953409e7-cbe8-4a56-932f-bd617f45df52

Photo credit: Astrid Images

Along with 40 incredible instructors, I invited author, fellow teacher and friend, Jay Fields to this event. Jay had recently published her first book, “Teaching People not Poses,” so she graciously shared a book reading, as well as, contributing honestly and openly to the group discussion with real, heartfelt stories.

16e953ee-23a2-4991-afab-19247b07bf6f   0e6dad13-440c-4b71-a4f8-238e27c771bf

  Also in attendance as a presenter was the beautiful and talented Bibi McGill. Bibi is a heart-centered yoga instructor, an uber-successful musician and an extremely inspiring human being. She shared with us stories of her victories + her challenges as both a teacher and a musician.

I’m so grateful to have had both Bibi and Jay with us that evening.

9c9f5737-8e0f-42e3-9faa-56c8a9963ae5

Photo credit: Astrid Images

It was an incredibly powerful night. And, the information that I collected from every teacher became the foundational building blocks for Elevate Yoga Trainings, a program I wish I had as I began my journey as a yoga teacher.

We have graduated three groups of teachers from the program since its launch in January of 2013 and here’s what alumni have to say about their experiences.

2097a8d2-5bab-40ff-9217-828e84332a94

Photo Credit: Kirsti Holley Photography

Over the years, I’ve invited local educators who are deeply passionate about their teachings to join Elevate Yoga Trainings. I’ve been blessed to include Casey Palmer of Near East Ashtanga Yoga School, Matt Nelson, Chris Calarco, Lisa Blood, Sweethome Teacup, Allison Duckworth, Chia Rafelson, Rocky Heron, Lara Gratsinopoulos, Kailash Chander, Johnny Nasello and Shanti Hodges. Not-so-local presenters included our friend David Romanelli- aka Yeah Dave!- from New York City, John Salisbury, who has come out multiple times from Phoenix, AZ and of course, Jay Fields, who now resides in Ojai, CA.

We’ve also been featured by Steve Rosenfield’s What I Be Project.

So, what is Elevate?

Support.

Community.

Mentorship.

Collaboration.

Knowledge.

Accountability.

Exposure.

Authenticity.

Confidence.

Connection.

Heart.

Soul.

…and SO much more.

It is a home where you are encouraged to cultivate your unique & powerful voice.

It is a means for connecting deeply with your purpose.

It is a place to immerse yourself in…

8bdac55a-56a9-4ba5-9d09-76783a98fd1d

Photo Credit: Cassie Goodluck-Johnson

– the sutras

– history + philosophy

– myths of the asanas

– business of yoga

– anatomy + physiology

– sanskrit

– kirtan

– asana sequencing

– hands-on assists

– subtle body anatomy

It is the next step.

There are currently 45 teachers on the interest list for the next Elevate Yoga Trainings. We will only be able to accept a maximum of 20 for the winter session which begins March 2015.

If you are a yoga teacher and are ready to dramatically up-level your teaching, opt-in here for more information. Please share with other yoga teachers you know who might be interested. In the next two weeks, I will be reaching out to those on the opt-in list and setting up one-on-one meetings to discuss the program, as well as, the application process in greater detail. I want you to have all of your questions answered!

One WORD. Elevate.

3b994f0d-d882-47cb-8ad8-26a648e16726

Not a yoga teacher? But, interested in deepening your personal practice?

Interested in learning more about these potent topics?

Just let us know!

Elevate Yoga for YOU is coming Spirng 2015

27a94cc7-5908-4837-870b-109cc4688421

love + deep gratitude- jill

Dropping my chains and choosing to dance…

Thank you for sharing this Taylor…Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with your readers and others. You are such a beautiful soul!

Check out Taylor’s blog here.

safe_image

Come-Unity…

community

We do it together…

Today you will find inspiring quotes, shout-outs to incredible local healers who have helped keep me whole over the years (make note of them!), class schedule changes and recaps from recent good-times-shared!

quotes

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; Together we can do great things.

-Mother Teresa


Healing mind, body and soul…

they keep me happy, healthy and whole.

healthy

Doctor of Chiropractic

Dr. Terry YcasasSweetest Friend, Dedicated Yoga Student, Awesome Human, Healer

Elixia Wellness Group

Acupuncture + Chinese Herbs

Casey Aron, L.A.c. Gentle Soul, Brother-in Law, Amazing Poppa to my Nephew Eligh, Husband to me Sis, Friend, Healer

Golden Cabinet Herbal Pharmacy

Naturopathic Physician + Acupuncture

Dr. Rachel EppingaDear Friend + Soul Sister, Impassioned Yoga Student, Biggest Heart of All, Healer

Massage Therapy

Amanda BarpI’ve received nearly a decade of massages from this one. She’s just plain lovely. Healing hands, healing soul.

Autumn Peterson, Kind, Joyful, Healing-Handed Friend, Yoga Student.

Krista & AshleyHeart-Centered Friends, Devoted Yoga Students, Lovely People, Powerful Healers

And, when it comes to FOOD!

Skylor Powell, Happy human out sharing LOVE and good health.

Check out her delicious recipes and watch for her book!

discover

It takes a village, Portland!

Thank you for being part of mine!


In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.

-Marianne Williamson

quotes


The invite said “Inspired Table”

inspiredtable

And, It WAS.

Thank you, Lululemon, for having the vision and making the evening happen. It was a beautiful night of powerful community connection, live music, amazing food, delicious wine and LOADS OF INSPIRATION

at Stoller Family Estate with 50 truly incredible people.

IT2

Truly falling into the flow…

Truly falling into the flow…

feet

The ground feels as though it is pulsing, breathing, conversing.

We just returned from a couple of days at the beach and as I stood barefoot in the sand, I could feel a surge of energy through my feet into my body, as if the earth were communicating something truly profound. Oh the insights, if only I could trust my intuition, my interpretation of what Mother Earth might be saying- to ME!

Even the scattered sand dollars seemed to be sharing in their brokenness on the beach,

“Oh, to be whole again!”

seashell

And, that determined red slug that wouldn’t leave me alone while I was trying to practice. I attempted to move him off into the bushes only to find him working his way diligently back toward and then ONTO my yoga mat with me.

snail1  snail2

What does it all mean?

I felt, for a moment, like that double rainbow guy. But, only for a moment!

Like a dense and humid day when the air can not only be seen, but also felt, as it moves in and overly expands the lungs. I’m breathing transition in and out. Not just mine. Change fills the air like a heavy marine layer.

Do you feel it too?

And, contrary to what I’ve read and talked about recently in my classes- the idea that autumn and even the recent new moon is associated with solid Earth and Muladhara or the root chakra, all grounding, centering, balancing forces- honestly, the ground feels wobbly, new, and even turbulent beneath me.

The image of a child taking her first steps comes to mind. As soon as I see this image, it becomes a little clearer.

My interpretation is that nature is constantly sending beautiful reminders…

-of time

-of impermanence

-of the power of the present moment when we pay attention, and

-of always having the precious opportunity to create great shifts in our lives simply by choosing to do so.

We watch.

We see.

We listen.

We hear.

We try.

We learn.

We let go.

We transform.

Personally, I’m doing my best to let go and to welcome new beginnings.

As challenging as it is to create new, more powerful patterns, I’m working to develop healthier ways of seeing myself, others, and life. I’m choosing to let go of old behaviors and beliefs, even relationships, that no longer serve me.

Gaining this new footing, I step…or more accurately…I STOMP on the earth to ground and to feel her support me.

I know her properties to be true.

I trust them.

I move forward wobbly, new, and changed.

Onward, simply continuing my journey to being whole again.

sanddollar

Autumnal Equinox…

The sun sits lower in the sky now…

sunset

The days recede and the nights expand.

Green leaves are taking on a tinge of gold and hints of burnt orange. Some, plucked from limb, begin their dance with the wind, chasing each other this way, that way, catching an updraft and finally succumbing to gravity and gracefully descending to the earth below.

All signs of time.

All signs of transition.

Natures’s rhythm is relaxing and reassuring. The seasons will always change and that is a powerful reminder that change is inevitable. There is great beauty and power in change and in surrendering to the call. I believe that our deep connection with nature helps us feel more aligned with our truest selves, more integrated with our deepest strengths if we can let go and fall into the flow.

“As summer exhales her last warm breath, the faint cool breeze of autumn arrives on the inhale. It appears on the edges of the day during the portals of dawn and dusk, the coolness like bookends on an otherwise hot day, a gentle intimation that one season is ending and another is beginning. The exuberance of summer begins to bow out as the introspection of autumn takes center stage.

Seen through the lens of transitions, each season can guide us into deeper layers of ourselves. Where winter signals a slow silence, spring awakens an inner rebirth, and summer celebrates the fullness of our joy, autumn invites us to turn inward and shed what no longer serves us.

Everything about autumn invites introspection and letting go.” by Sheryl Paul, MA

Ask yourself the foremost question of the season…

What is it time to let go of?

bubbles

National Yoga Month…

Did you know?

September is National Yoga Month!

YRP1

What is National Yoga Month you ask?

It is a national observance and awareness campaign held during the month of September to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. The awareness campaign consists of yoga classes, concerts and other special events during September to celebrate and inspire people to practice and create a more balanced lifestyle.

Six years ago, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga Month, one of a select number of national health observances. That same year, thousands of yoga and health enthusiasts participated in a 10 City Yoga Health Festival Tour featuring yoga classes, lectures, music, entertainment and exhibits. Since then, the initiative has taken root as a global awareness campaign, educating, inspiring and motivating people to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

elevate1

I will take any opportunity to support a worldwide campaign geared toward inspiring a more healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Yoga has been my powerful access point to transformation for nearly a decade. It has gifted me tools to manifest health, overall well-being, greater peace of mind, inner strength, self-empowerment, self-love…an endless list of benefits could continue here. Ten years has revealed to me the tremendous impact of a consistent yoga practice.

In honor of National Yoga Month, I’ll share a beautiful article by Seane Corn. It moves me. And, I truly hope you resonate with these words, as well.

A changemaker, Seane was one of my very first yoga teachers and continues to be an inspirational mentor. Her words speak to my soul. tether to my heart, motivate and help me to continue showing up authentically, honestly and with compassion. Having just read Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, I especially love what Seane writes about vulnerability.

jandseane

~ What Yoga Means to Me ~
– Seane Corn

Yoga means to unite. Its translation is “to come together and make whole.” It asserts that everything and everyone is connected and that there is no separation between heaven and earth, matter and consciousness, mind and body, male and female or you and I. Yoga recognizes that we are all one, all divine. If it is understood that there is no separation between between the mind and body, then everything you think, feel or experience will have an affect on your cellular tissue. Your body remembers everything, and your health is often a reflection of your attitudes and perspectives. Negative or shadow emotions like rage, fear, unresolved grief and jealousy manifest as tension when repressed. Tension, stress and anxiety affect the immune, hormonal and neurological systems and can leave you vulnerable to disease, illness and even depression. When you don’t feel well, body or mind, you can more easily withdraw, get reactive and judgmental; all qualities that separate you from yourself and from each other. It is through yoga, spiritual practice and emotional processing skills that you are provided tools to help you understand and embrace your circumstances, emotions and life in a more holistic way.

Understanding your life’s journey, its spiritual significance, and shifting your perceptions can move the physical and emotional tension and allow healing, insight and transcendence to occur. Every time you practice yoga, moving your body and synchronizing those movements with your breath, tension releases. Releasing the tension begins the process that allows you to feel and connect to your vulnerability. Vulnerability is what opens you to surrender, and it is only through this level of availability that you can truly know one other and God.

 Twenty-four years of practicing yoga has taught me that God is truth and love and exists in every moment, both dark and light. This essence is in each experience and in all beings equally. Yoga has taught me that that you are in a conscious body to learn what love is, not romantic love, although that may be a part of your leaning, but God-love, which is inclusive and infinite. In order to truly understand what this “love” is, part of the challenge of being human is that you will also have to experience and explore its opposite; what love is not.This process could take lifetimes. To truly understand the light, you must also understand the power and mystery of the shadow. It has taught me to embrace the shadow parts of myself-the ugly, shameful, scary and often repressed aspects-because without the wisdom the shadow provides, I cannot truly understand the power of your light, the depths of your beauty, nor your capacity for empathy. I cannot know, love or honor all parts of you unless I know, love and honor all parts of me.

Yoga teaches you that everything that happens to you in this life happens perfectly and synergistically in order for the soul to transform and understand this level of God-love. Everyone has karma to burn, lessons to learn, and each one of you will walk some challenging and funky paths at times, but these moments will also be the divine catalysts providing great insight, healing and wisdom.

It taught me that adopting a spiritual life doesn’t mean I will be exempt from pain or loss. You will all get hurt, your hearts will get broken, and people you love will die. That’s life. All your experiences can provide invaluable opportunities for growth if you stay open to seeing them from a new perspective. For each of you, there will be certain lessons that must be learned in order to open your heart to love and empathy. Some of the lessons will be elegant; some will bring you to your knees in devastation. They will all be necessary.

To learn these lessons and confront the different aspects of who you truly are, unique teachers will show up along the way to hold a mirror up to expose your shadow, or wounds. With them, you will be given the opportunity to witness your limited beliefs and your fears. Through them, you will also be provided the opportunity for empowerment and take responsibility for all the perceptions that keep you from your truest nature…and heal. This healing cannot occur without their inclusion in your life.

 They are your angels. They will not look like it, but make no mistake, they are spiritual guides meant to illuminate your disconnection from source and guide your souls on its path toward awakening. You will do the same for them. Not one of us is exempt from the challenges of this life. You will all attempt, persevere, struggle, fail, arise, crawl, doubt and ultimately awaken. You will do the best you can, with what little you know, and work toward wholeness. You are all here to learn what love is. Not often in your time, but certainly in God’s, and you will always draw to you what you need that can awaken you to your highest divinity. Through these beings, you will learn patience, acceptance and compassion. You will learn to embrace your disowned selves and reclaim your strength and power. Through these beings, you can remember that everyone is connected, everyone is here to learn about love, and everyone is here to heal. Through them, you will be given the opportunity to forgive and be forgiven. Through them, you can remember that the God that is within all.

One of the most important things I have learned from this practice is that the horrific dysfunction that exists within our global family today-war, violence, terrorism, poverty, etc.-is happening because there is a perpetuation of this sense of separation on a global level. A sense of “other-ness”. An “us” against “them”. All of our planetary problems are a manifestation of our individual actions and collective thoughts. Because most beings don’t have the proper tools or skills to deal with our shadow self, we often put fear above love and righteousness over understanding. We do this out of habit and familiarity. Then, also out of habit, we repress our feelings. We get addicted to our tension and need for control. We make someone else wrong in order to be right. We assign blame and feel victimized. We shut down and stop caring. All of this leads to apathy. Apathy is the true evil, perpetuating this sense of separation and leaving devastation in its wake, because apathy means we just don’t care.

Yoga teaches us that if any one of us buys into the myth of separation or disconnection, then we are part of the problem. If we want to change what is happening within out planet and create an environment for peace, we must first transform ourselves. The first course of true action is to explore where in our own personal lives we are still living in separation. Where do you perceive a “you” and a “them”? Who do you still blame for your hurt? Who are you still holding responsible for your pain 10 years later, 40 years later? Where are you acting as if you are a victim? Where are you still addicted to the “story”? Who are your teachers? How have the events in your life conspired to open your heart to love? What perceptions do you need to transform and heal? If we can have the grace to shift our own limited beliefs and thinking, and if more of us were committed to honoring all aspects of life as unified, perhaps we can begin to transform our relationships, global and individual, from fear and exclusion into love and inclusion. This is how peace can prevail.

So, yoga teaches that we are all one, all connected, all here to guide, teach and support each other in the process of being. We will all have to struggle through the myriad of challenges that will occur in the uncovering of our light and this process can take lifetimes. The first step of true healing is to see our lives beyond reason, embrace the mystery, stay present and breathe and have the strength every day in all moments to forgive ourselves and each other for the impossible vulnerable task of being in these bodies at this time.

Breathe and all will be revealed, love and all will be healed. This is yoga.

Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression and inspirational style of teaching that incorporates both the physical and mystical aspects of the practice of yoga. For more on Seane Corn, visit SeaneCorn.com.

Article from Oprah.com/spirit.

The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time…

“The time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.”

-Bertrand Russell

dandelion

Time…

To think.

jbeach

To feel.

To play.

mag

To indulge.

smores

To be still.

shoes

To take pictures.

lighthouse

To spread ashes.

To grieve.

To remember.

sunset

To linger.

To reflect,

To imagine.

jillmag

To walk.

To run.

beach2

To ride.

horse

To cook.

To break bread with family and dear friends.

To connect.

family

To create a home.

To live there.

shorty

To wonder why.

To wonder how.

To wonder if.

To wonder when.

To wonder what.

To stop and really smell the roses.

rose

To dance.

To laugh.

To snuggle.

cuddle

To explore.

adventure

To appreciate nature.

coastline

birds

To discover.

To find.

To lose.

pebbles

To write.

To read.

read

To color.

To blow bubbles.

bubbles

To share.

To meditate.

To sleep.

To dream.

To drive.

road

To break down and appreciate that it’s all part of the ride!

To love.

maglove

To be afraid.

To be courageous.

To adventure.

To be alive…

jandm

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.”

-Albert Einstein

To travel is to take a journey into yourself…

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

-Danny Kay

craterlake

This past Saturday morning, I taught my last yoga class for three whole weeks.

I’ve been talking about this adventure, in great anticipation, for a while now. If you’ve been to my classes, read the last few newsletters of followed me on social media, you’re likely bored by the topic (and I apologize) but I was just unable to temper my excitement.

You could say this trip has been forty-five years in the making.

And, we finally set sail!

jillsfeet

My husband and I very intentionally carved out this time to unplug, recharge, simplify, immerse ourselves in nature and disconnect from our day-to-day routines.

We’re just a handful of days into our travels and I already have to stop to think about what day it is. It is Friday, isn’t it?!

Honestly, it has taken a bit to surrender and let go.

But with each day, I feel us melting into the experience just a bit more. We’re rising with sun and falling into bed as the darkness pours over the campgrounds. We’re loving the mindfulness that comes with limits and simplicity: limited or no cell service, wi-fi, power, ever showers.

jillandmkcamping

We work a little when we can and play when we can’t,
which happens to be MOST Of THE TIME!We are in complete heaven.Take a journey into yourself. 

Getting quiet, stepping away from the normal patterns and rhythms of our busy lives, connecting instead with the normal patterns and rhythms of nature has quickly highlighted the incredible blessings in my life.  

So today, my newsletter is my own personal Gratitude Project!

Here goes…

I’m deeply grateful for this man who makes all of my experiences profoundly BETTER!
MK
I’m grateful for Maggie Mae. I have had very few adventures in the last twelve years without her right by my side!
jillandmag
I’m grateful to have known and loved Dexter aka Degdah.
This awesome creature was only with us for a brief four and a half years.
He came in with a bang and went out the same way.
He is forever imprinted on our hearts.
And, we got to celebrate him again this week by spreading more of his ashes at one of his favorite places to romp.
We love you buddy. Always.
dexter
I’m grateful for our 1984 Cheiftain Winnebago, more commonly referred to as, Shorty.
Our trusted home-on-wheels. Giant thanks to my Dad and Chris for turning her over
to us at such a bargain price!
shorty
I’m so grateful for our morning run that was guided by the river’s edge, while osprey flew overhead patrolling the waterways.  Straying from the river we climbed a hill to find a meadow with – my absolute favorite – red-glowing Ponderosa Pine trees as far as the eye could see in one direction and a vista with a perfectly tree-framed view of Mt Jefferson in the other.  The sound of the Metolius echoing up from the canyon below.
river:run    river
I’m grateful for the dark lines under our toe and finger nails,
a clear reminder of good times in the dirt camping in Crater
Lake National Park.
I’m grateful for our campground centerpieces that also led to and epic game of pinecone baseball.
pinecone
I’m grateful to have time to blow bubbles, play solitaire and color with crayons.
bubbles2bubbles
I’m grateful for our bike ride in the rain and thunder after deciding we wanted to let someone else do the cooking last night.
I’m grateful for big trees and the ability to meander beneath them.
tree
I’m so grateful for dandelions.
dandelions
I’m grateful that tomorrow I will see my Momma.
jkmom
I’m grateful that after just a handful of days of travel, we’re actually starting to exhale.
trailrunning
Don’t wait.
Step outside, get quiet and listen to the trees breathe.
Then ponder all that you’re grateful for.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Feels so damn good.

Hurricane Iniki, the calm after the storm…

The Calm after the Storm 

hurricane

I survived a category five hurricane.

Hurricane Iniki slammed ashore on the island of Kauai September 11, 1992 and I road it out at the Kapaa High School gymnasium.

It began as a peaceful, sunny day and then, for about 8 hours, all hell broke loose.

Right smack dab in the middle of the fury – the eye of the storm – there was a sweet and gentle reprieve.  I even recall hearing birds chirping.

Then, BOOM!
The tail end of the storm hit.  It blew the roof off the gymnasium that was doing its best to serve as our shelter.

Eventually the storm passed and it became eerily still.
A sense of ‘what will come next?’ washed over.

Funny.  My July has felt just a bit like Iniki, minus all the destruction, of course.

There have been BIG, exciting and scary moments!  A flurry of powerful energy and activity.

As I mentioned last week, I got to kick off Yoga Rocks the Park with a bang.
Hot on the heels of that event was The Great Namaste where, with WDS and my pal Jen, I lead 808 people to break a yoga world record. I’ve never guided nearly 1,000 people in my life.  Well, I can’t say that anymore!
The very next day I was blessed to teach in the Portland park blocks to the beats of one of my favs, DJ Drez.
A whirlwind of goodness.

Then, a couple days of stillness…aaaah, it was the sweet and gentle reprieve.

It was the eye of the storm!

The tail-end of the excitement was our adventures at Wanderlust Tahoe.

BOOM! 

Five classes in four days and so much excitement that several times I thought I would pass out!

And now, we’re home, it’s eerily still
and there’s a sense of ‘what will come next?’  

To be honest, it’s been like this for two years as I’ve worked to further establish my yoga business, to serve, to nurture and grow my community; to create new, exciting ways of sharing what I love SO MUCH.  I’ve pushed myself well outside of my comfort zone, saying “yes” to things before I was quite sure how I would accomplish them.  And, THEN finding a way.  I’ve learned so much, grown tremendously, been scared, confused, excited, full of joy and gratitude.

Among other things in the last two years…

My Elevate Yoga Trainings has graduated THREE amazing groups of teachers…

elevate2

We’ve been on retreat in Mexico to both Prana del Mar and Xinalani…

pranadelmar

I’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating with so many of my favorite yoga teachers and musicians…

6d1514b8-8a38-4ee0-aa16-ef57b3d51d49

I’ve enjoyed lots of karma yoga events with Living Yoga, Stretch for Survivors, Kick Cancer’s Asana and others.

wds

I SOOOOOOO LOVE MY “JOB”. I LOVE MY LIFE.

Still wondering what will come next?

REST.

Finding balance is incredibly important.
I talk about it in almost every yoga class.

It’s time to practice what I preach.

So, we are unplugging.

Last year, we bought a 1984 Cheiftain Winnebago form my dad down in Santa Barbara. We had the most amazing time traveling up the coast through areas of sand dunes, beautiful beach towns, through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge, we camped under the redwoods, and finally brought “Shorty” home to PTown. She’s been out a couple times since to Cannon Beach, Pacific City and out to Timothy Lake.

But, on August 10th we’ll get a REAL taste of the RV life.

shorty

We will be gone for THREE WEEKS visiting places like the metolious river, Crater Lake, Ashland and we’ll spend the last two weeks traveling up the Oregon coast.

I can’t wait.

My awesome little unit of a family can’t wait!

mk

It’s the calm after the PERFECT STORM and we can’t WAIT to soak it up!

#goshorty

Life is good when you let it be…

Life is good when you let it be.

f1f8c34e-253e-43a7-a5c4-66bfd06d3306

Peering through a window to the past…

Nearly ten years ago I was living in an apartment just off of Union Street in San Francisco.  My business card read, “Jill R. Allen, Relationship Manager, Financial Intermediaries” and I was employed by RCM Capital Management. I worked for an asset manager and had an office overlooking the Bay Bridge at Four Embarcadero. I’d been working in various capacities in the financial services industry for over 13 years — since I was 22.  I held the Series 7, 63, 24 and all annuities and insurance licenses. I was making great money and on the surface it appeared that I had it all figured out.

The truth? I DID have a few things figured out. I had figured out that I despised my job, Idreaded going to work each day, I was desperately depressed and I had never felt more alone or lost in my life.

I’d spent nearly 15 years working very hard to build a life that I loathed.

I felt a powerful call to create change.

It was so powerful that it felt as though if I ignored it, I would die.

So what did I do?

Over the course of a year or so…

maggie

I rescued a puppy from the SPCA.
I traded in my sports car for a truck.
I bought a house in Portland, Oregon.
I quit my financial services job and relocated.
I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program.
I applied to massage school.
I converted my dilapidated garage into a private yoga and massage studio.

I created a life I wanted to LIVE.

I began choosing what made me feel happy, light and ALIVE.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi

Fast forward to now…I have been immensely blessed!

On July 5th, I was so happy and fortunate to get to kick off this season of Yoga Rocks the Park teaching close to 200 of my favorite yogis in Laurelhurst Park, all to the incredible music of my sweet friend, Rara Avis. Gratitude to Rara for sharing his artistry and also for his peaceful, loving presence. Thanks to all the volunteers who bring great organization and big ol’ smiles to every awesome event! Yoga Rocks the Park is such a powerful community builder and I am honored to be a part of it each year.

jillandrara

Less than a week later, after collaborating with Tyler Tervooren of WDS (andhttp://riskology.co/).  We strategized and planned how we were going to pull off breaking the world record for the longest yoga chain.

And, on July 11th, WE DID IT.  With amazing vision and brilliant team work we gathered over 1,000 awesome humans together in Pioneer Courthouse Square – 808 mats fit in the square (and on the stage!) to make up the sum total and official head count.  We blew the WORLD record for the longest yoga chain OUT OF THE WATER!  Once set with 696 people, we rocked it out with 808 people and 5 successive poses.  I got to lead the charge with one of my very best friends, Jen Johnson and a bunch of om-azing participants and rockin’ volunteers.  Here’s a cool 30 second video of the event created by Oliver Asis.

WDS

And, the WDS fun continued….

On July  12th, with WDS in full swing, we recreated Yoga Rocks the Park in the Portland park blocks and I had the great pleasure of teaching yoga to the rockin’ beats of DJ Drez.

jillanddrez

And there were more “firsts”…after nearly ten years living in Portland, my husband and I joined hundreds of other WDS’rs on the Portland Spirit!  We enjoyed food, wine, great conversation with new and old friends like Shawn Moddess, Ian Hyman aka DJ HyFi and Taya Smythe, Shelley Hawkins, Marli Williams and Sara Stibitz.
At the WDS closing party, we road in a hot air balloon with Beau Blackwell, had wine in the tiny house of Dee Williams, danced our hearts out to the Bollywood beats of Prashant while a festival of colors ensued!
It was EPIC!

jillandMK

Three days after the amazingness of WDS wound down, we were on a plane headed for Wanderlust Tahoe where I was teaching five classes.  I got to teach Balancing the Four Winds of Change, Talkin’ About a Revolution, High Voltage Vinyasa, Yo-Ma and Anahata Bliss.  All of these classes were collaborations with amazing artists including Kevin Paris, Philip Steir, DJ HyFi, Jeff Liffman & Friends and the incredibly talented Hannah Thiem.

wanderlust

Thank you for joining the adventures at Wanderlust!  I absolutely loved all of the new connections I made there.  And, there was a HUGE Portland contingency in Tahoe which made it feel like HOME!

wanderlust2

Photo cred: Kari Baker- Portland!