Jenny Ravikumar

April 29th, 2015

Yoga Reaches Out 2015

This past Sunday I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Yoga Reaches Out for the third year. I have fundraised for this event for four years and attended three of the last five yogathons. What a complete joy to be a part of this organization for almost its entire conception (their five year anniversary was this event!)

Each year we come together to raise as much money as we possibly can in order to serve children’s charities. Children’s Hospital Boston is always on the list and alongside it, another organization gets to benefit from our fundraising as well. This year that additional charity was Ben Speaks Louder Than Words.

As Carolyn and I watched, Bens mom gave a speech on her organization. Her son Ben had committed suicide a few years back after years of struggling with mental illness. She began the organization the day he passed in order to help with teen suicide prevention and bullying. It was such an honor to listen to her words and learn more about this special organization.

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As as a team of two, Carolyn and I raised $890 from our little studio, Barefoot Yoga Shala. To say I am proud is an understatement. I am so honored to be the owner of this space and am glowing from the inside out knowing that our community came together to raise money for these amazing children’s organizations. Every few months, I ask my students to come together in the name of community, charity and commitment in order to better serve our community through seva, the Sanskrit word for service. This past month, they pulled together as a community and raised more money than I could’ve imagined for the children in our community.

Not it only have they served this month, but in the past few months alone, we have raised money for the Middleton Food Pantry and donated four boxes (or one gigantic car load) of toys for Toys for Tots. My goal as a studio owner is to create not only a divine space to practice and play, but also to serve. My only goal upon opening was to create a community and having not taught here in 3 years and knowing only a few people when we opened, I am amazed day by day at how our community is growing and so full of love. I am giving a deep, loving bow to each of you in this community and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of Yoga Reaches Out.

Carolyn and I, alongside 1,000 yogis raised $300,000 this year for children’s charities. Thank you for helping us to serve, to love and to grow.

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Lots of love,

Namaste

Jenny

*Photography done by Tracy Rodriguez Photography*

April 23rd, 2015

The Art of a Deep Breath

I work, live and breathe yoga, but I have a confession to make: sometimes it becomes a routine. It’s my entire life to write, teach and preach the practice of yoga. As someone who is always at the front of the room it is a blessing beyond words to be a student and step entirely outside of what I know.

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This week my pregnancy has been taking a beating on my mind, body and spirit. I spent much of this week crying, yelling and confused (hello hormones). On Monday night, I hadn’t slept well. I decided to wake up on Tuesday and adventure on a fun trip out with my beloved cousin. While we were shopping, we found a hideous maternity bathing suit that made me dread my favorite season and I experienced another emotional breakdown. I wasn’t feeling sexy or beautiful in any way. It was just one of those days when I felt like a fat, confused frog.

 

That evening, I was resisting going to yoga. I didn’t feel like seeing family and my mom & I had a standing Tuesday date. After my off day I wanted to lie in my pajamas and cry and sulk instead of opening my heart. Somehow after a lot of procrastinating I managed to get myself in the car at the very last moment possible and drive to my studio for kundalini.

 

As many of you know, kundalini and I have a special relationship. I love it so desperately as its one of the only styles of yoga that fully takes me out of myself. Part of the reason is that it isn’t predictable for me. I don’t know all the kriyas and as a complete student of the practice I am able to step into that roll. The chants and kriyas fill my heart with mystery and joy.

 

As I walked into my own studio with tears in my eyes and a tight heart, I was surrounded by not one, but two of my teachers as well as my mom. Something about their banter and laughter made me come a little bit alive as I settled into the mat.

 

Lizzie sat in front with her beautiful turban and started to lead us in practice, as my other teacher  Jacalynn and my mom sat on either side to physically and emotionally hold me up during practice. Once I began I started to feel myself melt. My shoulders dropped as the release sank in and the mediation began. As always, it was exactly what I needed: a set for paranoia and stress relief (hello again, pregnancy hormones).
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Melting into the mat and allowing each chant to vibrate throughout my body helped me to settle into the divine. As a woman business owner it is so difficult to walk the line between masculine and feminine. I am constantly making decisions about what is best for my business and my personal life and the balance is a beautiful tight rope dance. I have spent much of the past few months making sure Barefoot Yoga Shala will be okay while I’m on maternity leave and have left little time for pampering and sitting into the divinity of being pregnant.

 

My word for 2015 is Warrior Princess and these last few weeks I have found myself quite far from this realm. On Tuesday evening, as we chanted our mantras and moved into each kriya, I felt the Goddess returning. I was reminded of my inner goddess, my inner heart fire and the idea of the warrior princess. In the coming weeks I am vowing to make my way back to the mat as a student. I vow to honor my inner heart fire and stoke the goddess within by indulging in self-care and self-love. More bubble baths, cute clothes that fit my growing belly, getting my nails done and doing make-up on the weekends in my {maternity} jeans in order to step outside of my role as the teacher.

 

The yoga mat and the practice of a deep breath will always bring you back to yourself. It will bring you back to be exactly where you need to be. Today, take a deep breath and a moment to observe the world around you. Let it all sink in and then move forward towards your goals, your dreams and whatever piece of balance you need for THIS moment.

 

And always remember to honor yourself.

 

This week as I felt like a fat and confused frog, I honored that feeling. I allowed myself a few hours to wallow in sorrow and then I put one foot in front of the other and stepped into the only space that I knew would make me feel whole again: my yoga studio. When I awoke the next day, I honored feeling like a warrior princess by putting on make-up before teaching and reading a few chapters of Tending the Heart Fire to ignite my soul before class.

 

Honor how you feel in this moment. Live in the present. Breathe. And remember that the mat will allow you to travel back to yourself within the first few movements of breathe.

 

In the comments below, I would love to hear from you. Have you been honoring your feelings and living in the present? 

 

Sending you infinite love!
Namaste
Jenny