🎧 Listen to Jess on the Mountain podcast

What's a Chakra?

After teaching yoga for 18 years and chakra yoga for much of that time, there is still one question that people ask me that gets me a little stymied:

What's a chakra?


You'd think I'd have a stock response by now, but I really don't. I might be so entrenched in the depth of that question that the simplicity evades me.  I know the beauty and the complexity of the chakra system.  But complexity is not useful to anyone who hasn't experienced this work or studied it in their own life. 


Simply put, chakra (pronounced chaa - kruh) is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or disc.  These wheels or discs are vortexes of energy in your body. In the modern context, there are seven of them.


How's that for a clear and concise answer? 


If you're like me, it leads to more questions, so if you'll allow me, I'll continue...


Chakras are part of your subtle body system, which is what controls your physical body. Your subtle body is what senses the...

Continue Reading...

Let the Tinsel Settle

How long do we get to wish each other happy new year? I know there are some strong opinions out there about this (just ask Seinfeld).  Personally, I think we get to say it all month.  If we can't think of the year as new for four weeks, I think we have a problem trying to move on too quickly! 


And speaking of moving too quickly...a conversation I had recently made me think about New Year's Resolutions/Intentions/Words in a new and interesting way.  I now believe there is an argument to be made for holding off on big New Years intentions and themes for a little longer than we even wish each other happy new year.


I wonder if we need to let the tinsel and confetti settle down before our grand ideas emerge.


Don't get me wrong--I'm a HUGE fan of yearly intentions and themes. I have already chosen a word that will be a guide for me this year, and I usually prompt my classes to do the same.  You might recall I typically ponder them here in my...

Continue Reading...

Happy Holidays! A Year In Review

I hope you are well, snuggled up warm and cozy. This is an auspicious week for sure!  We are in the middle of Hannukah, the Winter Solstice is Wednesday, and Christmas arrives on Sunday. (It's also Crossoword Puzzle Day and Humbug Day, so if none of the others suit you there's still something to celebrate!) 

As I write here in my comfy overstuffed chair, I am feeling the brightness of these holidays a little extra this year.  I took a few minutes to turn back the pages of my calendar to remember where 2022 began and what yoga we have done since it’s beginning. 

Ya'll--we did a lot. 

  • We kicked off the New Year with a Reboot workshop, getting our energy flowing and chakras spinning with plans for 2022.
  • A second cohort of Chakra Savvy: Reset Your Life Game Plan yogis dove into their mind-body connection, changed patterns, and healed old wounds. 
  • We had fun with our Gal/Pal/Valentines at a Partner Yoga Workshop at Castle Hill Fitness.
  • Two ...
Continue Reading...

What's in a name, anyway?

Something unexpected happened in this week's Monday Morning Yoga class, and it still has me thinking. Because we are an intimate group, we have time to share our name at the start of every class. I also usually ask a question, like favorite color or vacation place. Inevitably the answers weave themselves into the theme of our class, so it really is a custom made, one-of-a-kind experience. This week I suggested we share first names and whatever else you like! Our first yogini set us up for a great share and others quickly followed.


Her name is Rebecca, but her whole life, until age 38, everyone called her Becky. At 38 she decided she liked the name Rebecca much better, and made the switch. From there, we heard so many stories about names! Stephanie legally changed her middle name when she was 13. Sara still has problems traveling because a pesky "h" made it onto her birth certificate, but nowhere else. Agness as a middle name was the dismay of childhood but perfect in...

Continue Reading...

Trouble in the sleep department

As I lay awake last night from 3am-6am I thought of you. (Is that weird?)  I'm normally pretty blessed with decent sleep, but every now and then it just doesn't happen. So as I sat with my mug of warm milk at 5am, I thought of a couple things that that might help us all.

Let's talk about vata.


In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, there are three main energies at play within us and in our surroundings.  Like the humors, they are related to the elements and explain the experience and behavior of our body and mind. We are all made up of various amounts of these substances: wind and ether, fire, earth and water.  You might have come across the terms

 pitta (fire and water),

 kapha (water and earth),

 vata (wind and ether).


Now there is A LOT to learn about all this, and I can't go into everything right now.  For our purposes, we're going to focus on the wind element and time.


Vata blows through our...

Continue Reading...

3 Ways to Expand Your Capacity to Be Around Other Humans

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was delightful and fun, with a healthy dose of yum! Ours was lovely–a good balance of family, friends, and good conversation while eating the feast Nick prepared.  (I’m the prep cook and decorator/table setter, which suits me just fine.)  


Lucky for me I’m fairly extroverted, which gives me a broad bandwidth for chit chat and the high volume that comes with a room full of people. But I have to admit, my bandwidth has decreased post-Covid. I find myself daydreaming of my jammies way earlier than I did three years ago, and I know it’s not just a natural aging progression.  It’s a nervous system that’s out of shape for marathons of social engagement. 


Thankfully, we have tools for this.  I believe we can get back to pre-Covid party tolerance, if that is indeed what we want to do. Either way, I think these three things will help the most in navigating our way back to balance...

Continue Reading...

Gratitude through the lens of the chakras

Happy Thanksgiving week!  My favorite holiday of the year is finally here.  In Online Yoga Membership (OYM) we have been practicing gratitude all month in a way I wanted to share with you today.


What does gratitude look like through the lens of the chakras?  Maybe you can take a moment and consider these for yourself, or share them with someone you celebrate with.


Looking over the last year, what are you thankful for in regards to:


Abundance.  How have you been blessed in your material world?

Release.  What is something you let go of this year that has been a relief to you?

Power. Is there a power or strength within you that you woke up to this year?

Relationships. Who has come into your life that you are so happy to have? 

Voice.  What meaningful conversations did you have this year that you hope to remember for years to come?

Connection: What is a connection you made this year, with someone else or within...

Continue Reading...

Strong Butts = Happy Hip Flexors

glutes hip pain yoga poses Nov 15, 2022

Every now and then it seems like there is a trend of sorts. Not the fun kind that create an excuse to buy some new shoes, but one where several unrelated people have similar physical issues.  It's like when I used to bartend and everyone was ordering the same unusual drink on a Saturday night. There was no discernible reason, no commonality between the groups, no obvious connection across the bar, but every now and then it was Long Island Iced Teas for everyone! (And things often got messy on those nights!)


But I digress...


Lately I've been hearing a lot about hip flexors, psoas, and inner thigh pain.  Whether it comes and goes, is sharp or dull, often the culprit isn't the front body, but the back. Weak bums can make for tense hip flexors.  This naturally occurs with our sitting lifestyle, stress, and aging.  


So what can you do about it? 


Here are my 3 favorite antidotes to tired glutes:

1) On all fours, rear leg lifts.


Continue Reading...

On Eclipses and Elections

Today is so full, is it not? Not only are we starting off with a big, beautiful Full Moon Lunar Eclipse, but it’s Election Day as well! This is finishing up our current “eclipse season,” which included last month’s partial solar eclipse on October 25. You can think back over these last few weeks and take note of things that have left your life, or cycled off, and what new ideas or projects have started to take shape. Once we’re on the other side of today, things that left will stay gone and things that arrived or continue will remain.  It’ll be new.  For better or worse.


But to have a national election on such a day! Well, shiver me timbers, ya’ll! Can’t you just feel the importance? We are the fortunate ones, living here and now, who are shaping the future with our little checked boxes and I VOTED stickers.  I feel so many things about these times we’re living in, and mostly it’s awe. 



Continue Reading...

Deep Dive or Quick Hit?

We have arrived in November! And we’re ready to enter the month of gratitude.  In Online Yoga Membership we will start a journey through the chakras, giving gratitude for each aspect of ourselves as laid out by the energetic centers within us.  Enjoy this yourself by thanking your body, emotions, will, heart, voice, intuition, and spirit! You can go in order, or consider where you don’t feel very in touch or a little out of balance and start there. (If you’re not sure, simply start with this Chakra Check-In Self Assessment.)


What I like about spending a whole month on one topic is that it has a chance to really sink in and change us.  Gratitude is one of the best examples of this.  Daily gratitude is a free and easy antidote to habitual negative thinking, insecurity, sadness, and anxiety.  And it’s a practice. Pushing back against a culture that entices you to want more and fuels your desire for a life beyond your reach can be...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Sign up for my weekly newsletter and never miss a blog post, an event, a class, or special.