Blog Posts

Charity in December

Happy December, Happy New Moon in Sagittarius, and Happy last month of 2018!

I’ve done a lot this year.  I’m finding myself reflecting on that, but also being pulled to the present in completing this year with optimism and encouragement for what I can achieve in 2019.

I have goals in my mind. One thing I’m going to spend time doing is to lay them out visually for me to see every day.  I will achieve these goals.  Mindset, right? Plus the visual representation of them will be there for me to unconsciously and/or consciously achieve each day.

I’m sitting in my awesome apartment in Boise, Idaho right now. I would have never thought I’d be live here, but ya I’m so happy I do.  I’ve lived here just over 3 months now and there is snow on the ground.  Mendel, my gray and white domestic long-haired cat, is sleeping soundly behind me in my old, wooden, hospital chair (that I WILL reupholster in 2019).

In not writing for anyone in particular, so I’m going to let the words just come freely and effortlessly, in hopes that I am able to capture my passing thoughts as I stroke these keys that have letters on them.

I grew up stroking keys – piano keys.  Now I have a really nice electric piano that travels with me from place to place and I play,… sometimes.  I was taking lesson’s again in San Francisco by one of the most powerful and beautiful woman I know, Charity.  She is the meditation teacher at my old home studio, Ocean Beach Yoga in San Francisco, she is an awesome creator and musician, an amazing mother to two lucky boys and an incredible kid’s yoga, meditation and mindfulness teacher mostly through the power of music (created by her).
I am so grateful to have been brought together with her one evening at a mutual friends house (also connected through Ocean Beach Yoga SF), chatting about life and somehow music popped up and boom, we decided on lessons.  They were much more than piano lessons.  They were therapy sessions.  They were friend sessions. They were needed, I think, for both of us.
It was only a short time that I took lessons from her, each Thursday morning after the yoga class I’d teach (again at OBYSF), but man what an important time in both of our lives for us to be connected on a weekly basis to practice music, to talk, to discuss, to ponder, to cry, to laugh, SO MUCH!
Charity, you may never read this, that’s fine, no expectations, right? but just so you know, I am undeniably grateful for our forever connection.  We were able to share a lot of personal things to each other, really naturally, and I find that with that much ease in sharing and listening, the connection is not only for now, but through eternity and potentially our multiple lives.
Ever hear the phrase ‘Soul Connection’? Well, thats Charity and I.
She taught me a completely different way of playing and approaching to play the piano where now I feel more confident ‘jamming’ with my honey and friends.  Not feeling like I can’t keep up and then just giving up ultimately, but feeling confident that I can approach any song, in any key and throw down some cords, notes, riffs, appropriately.  Not perfect (what is perfect, anyway?) but good enough and for me, that’s all I’m looking for when jamming. Good enough, in the moment, creating bliss through sound.
So, Charity, thank you.  Thank you for being exactly who you are and for being my friend and for being my piano teacher.  You are amazing.


Blue & Gray in the Skies Today

Sitting here looking out my window, I have the gray skies of rain and fog in the distance to my right and the sun shining in blue skies to my left. There is no visible line of separation as to when the blue ends and the gray begins, or the gray ends and the blue begins for that matter.

I can’t help but think about the balance in life when observing this interesting clash. Warmth, light, happiness is presented on my left and cool, dark, solemnness is presented to my right. Isn’t this life – our every day?

Everything is a balancing act – walking, thinking, doing, speaking, wishing, hoping, dreaming. To think about the positive and the negative, but hopefully end up leaning more to the positive – the light and happy side of things.

I’ve been teaching yoga for 22 and 1/2 months now. How flipping awesome is that. I’ve made it work – my dream just keeps unfolding. I guess this is the life I’m choosing to live. Goodness it puts a smile on my face.

I have the honor of teaching 4-6 year old children at a Montessori School this afternoon, followed by, most likely taking an asana class at Ocean Beach Yoga and then I’m speaking to the teachers in training at the studio about the business side of yoga in San Francisco. I am so grateful for the owner of this studio, my friend. She is just amazing, supportive and encouraging. How could I not feel encouraged when I am a new teacher, she takes me on as a new teacher at her studio not even a year into my teaching experience and within 6 months, I have 3 of my own classes each week at her studio!

As I am preparing for what to say and touch on at this evenings ‘class(!)’, I’m reminiscing about being in India. About deciding I wanted to go to India and take a teacher training there. I know I did that and I think its pretty flipping awesome, but sometimes its hard to realize that I did do that. That I just did it!

I hope this feeling of really being proud of myself and believing in myself always remains. Even as I recover from being a total B to my honey, my love. I want to be proud of myself that I worked through whatever emotions were arising when my reactions got the best of me and I did say or act in hurtful way. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be proud of the woman I am every day, for the impact I am making on my community as small or big as it may be!

Life is happening fast and, as my elders have always said, it will keep going faster. I wish I had more conversations with my friends and my family and was more up to date on achievements, successes, hard times, easy times, all of it. I wish some of them were more up to date on my stuff, too. But that’s life. Letting it happen and making the effort to make those things we want to happen, happen.

Its time for me to just keep on keeping on. Achieving, accomplishing and living my dreams.

Cheers to that!

Body, Mind, Spirit

This is a post I drafted on March 12, 2016.  At that time, I was in Ramjhula, Rishikesh in India.   Read on…

Its currently raining with thunder and lightening in Rishikesh! Its so nice to hear the sound of rain and the thunder. Very cooling and really settles the constant dust that is flying around everywhere.

Today is Saturday and the day began with the normal routine – waking up at 6am, clear the bowels (ha, but seriously), cold shower (yep, cold), then hot herbal tea with some natural honey, followed by nasal cleansing with the netty pot and then a shot of water with Neem Leaf power and Tumeric Powder. Life’s good, eh? Oh the healing powers of the nature.

After that, on o Yoga Hall 1, which is where I have Asana practice for 4 hours each day, plus meditation.  Within 2 minutes, one of the teachers came in a said no Asana today, we are going on a nature walk. What a pleasant and welcoming surprise. My knee was feeling a bit sensitive due to falling last night while it was raining – I swear I actually have good balance.  Trying to avoid the rain (aka water), I jumped to the floor from the third step in an unforeseen puddle and down I went. Got soaking wet, laughed a lot and came out alive. Swollen knee, whatever. Nothing broke and I’m good to go.

On to the nature walk we went –  2 hour walk up the mountain behind our ashram.  We were instructed to keep it as a silent walk and so we did – although this proved to be tough for some.  Naturally.

… This is where my attempted blog post stopped.  I can’t recall what interrupted me or if it was time for bed.  To keep it short and summarize the story from memory, I remember walking alone for a while on that walk.  Admiring Rishikesh and the small villages from afar.  I remember feeling submerged in nature, but surprised that I could still see garbage debris around us, on the sides of the trail… which the trail ended up turning into a concrete paved road.

Ultimately, we lost the leaders, our teachers’, as some of the group trailed behind.   At one point three cows started climbing the hill that lead down to the River Ganges.  They didn’t care – numb to human’s.  Then a group of us decided to walk down towards Laxman Jhula – a small village a 20 minute walk north of Ram Jhula on the main road.  To much of our surprise, there was a pack a monkey’s awaiting us to walk through.  Or perhaps anticipating us walking through their territory.  They are definitely not nice monkeys, although they look sweet.  One smaller one actually ran up to my legs and started to grab – I freaked – naturally.   Luckily, one of our teachers, Deepa’s, cousin Ravi was around (used to the little devils) and shoo’ed them away for us by banging sticks together.  One of the elder monkey’s tried to resist running away, but in the end, did and we were all just fine.

We stopped for breakfast at a nice little cafe nearby, had some real peanut butter, which was a savory treat and then the group of us headed back to the ashram.

Our classes had begun, we missed the breakfast that was served for us and we were late for what turned out to be a movie day.  We got comfy, sat and watch the yoga movie and took notes, as good students do.  The movies ended and we had our usual 2 hour break in the day before more asana and meditation, followed by dinner and me writing a snippet of a blog I wouldn’t know I’d only post a year and a half later in October 2017.

Here we are.  Its nice to reminisce about my time in India.  Especially these early days in my training when my journey just began.

More to come… now its time for me to close my computer and head to a medical corporate company to teach them yoga in their office!  Dreams do come true, you just have to put forth effort and be OK with taking risks.

What are your zendencies?
~ Namaste


Well Tempered

The song I am listening to is called this. ‘Well Tempered’ by NYM. Its on my Spotify Discovery Weekly playlist and its fantastic. Majority of the songs on this weeks playlist, actually, have been quite fabulous.

This morning Jeff and I woke up ‘early’ – 6:45am PST. We did it. We got out of bed and were in the car by 7:10, coffee in hand. On we went, to Tank Hill in Cole Valley, SF. Leah & Matt’s friend Zack lives over there. He’s an entrepreneur and its pretty cool to hear what he does.

Anyway, so we’re on the top of Tank Hill at 7:30am and its 44 degrees out. Not sunny at all. Not like it was in our hood – Outer Sunset, ironically. SUNset! Why are we up here, you ask? To film, of course! And because its a flipping beautiful site, no doubt at sunrise (this was our first time).

The sun is shining (behind the fog), you can see it. So, as we say here in San Francisco,.. ‘Let the sun burn the fog and show the beauty’. (I don’t know if anyone has ever said that in San Francisco, let alone referencing San Francisco, but now I have).

Turns out, that is exactly what happened. The sun burned away the fog and, my goodness, the colors were plentiful. So, we set up. Any by we, I mean Jeff. I sat out my yoga blanket and patiently awaited his go-ahead to begin my lines… and movement.

“Hi There! It’s me, Jesse!…”

The beginning stages of the production of #Zendencies.

Let me ask you this one question… What are your Zendencies?

~JJ YOGA (aka Jesse, Juanita, J, Jams, JJ, whatever) ~ Be well & ❤ always.

We Ah Wi

We Ah Wi – by Javelin – The theme song to this post. Enjoy.

Where are we? Where are you? On this planet, we call Earth. Orbiting the Sun that keeps us all going every single day. If it wasn’t for the sun, we wouldn’t know light and we wouldn’t know warmth.  We wouldn’t be. Period.

Where you are? I am. I am floating about. Listening to my tunes that jazz me up. Typing on my self-earned computer. Managing my new life’s administrative needs. In a coffee shop. Eating a ‘Popeye Salad’ and of delicious things that are revitalizing my insides. Later, I will go to Ocean Beach Yoga to check in for the 6:30pm class, which I will then take. Then I will take the 8pm class, as well, because why not! I want to salute the sun and honor exactly where I am today and in the moments to follow.  Is there more to this question – heck ya, let’s dig deeper.

Its the beginning of our calendar year, yet again. Let’s asses the new year questions we tend to ask ourselves at the beginning of the course of each year..

Where are you? Where do you want to be? What are you doing? What do you want to be doing?


Are you happy? Could you be happier? What will make you happier?

We use this new year as the perfect excuse to reassess where we are in life – in the life we want to be living for ourselves and maybe for others, as well.   This self and life inquiry is such a fascinating thought process to only inquire in during the beginning of each year.  I think the practice is in asking this question throughout the changing year.  Because, for real, how much changes in one year – and this is not only meant to be in reference to the things around us that change, but also the things within ourselves that change throughout the course of one year.

I quit my successful career in the trade show industry to fulfill a life long dream of going to India to become a yoga instructor – just shy of 1 year ago now.  Now I am continuing to successfully live in the city that I imagined myself living in when I was younger and am teaching yoga, mainly, to corporate employees. Hello, dreams come true.

So, now what?
So, now its the beginning of 2017 and almost my one year anniversary of leaving the company and people who I worked with and for – who helped me, in large part, become who I am today.  These individuals helped me figure out that I was meant for more.  They helped me figure out that I love to help people find solutions; helped me learn that by being a listening ear and observer, I was developing skills that would be triggered as a yoga instructor.  Times were stressful, but if I didn’t know that stress, I wouldn’t have felt I was ready to search for more.

So now, I try to reflect on my blessings on a daily.  I reflect on how lucky I am in this moment and work to disregard any negative feelings of potential failure in the future.  The future is completely out of my control, so how can I prepare to make my future spectacular if it is out of my control?   I can practice self inquiry every day – I can look forward and think about what might happen and prepare for the best & worst.  I can have simple phrases to help me not get hung up on the outcome being good or bad.   ‘Universe willing.. ” I will get my taxes done with plenty of time to spare before the due date. (Seriously is a goal of mine – and with that, I love having goals, but I don’t want to feel a sense of disappointment in my Self if I don’t succeed).

Goals are meant to help push us towards something we want for ourselves or for others. But if we don’t reach the goal or we simply don’t reach it by our deadline, then we tend to be hard on ourselves.  I say this frequently in my yoga classes and that is to be kind to ourselves; to appreciate, enjoy and love ourselves, for we are the only one’s who have to live with ourselves until the end of our days, so why not be our own best friend rather than our own worst enemy?  Why not be someone I can count on, only to know that when I give my word to myself or to others, that I can count on me?

We Ah Wi – Where are we? Where are you? Where do you want to be?

Be Happy. Be Kind. Be Grateful for all that you are and all that you’re going to be in every moment to come.  Happy New Year to you.  Cheers to learning about your true self and being the kindest person you can be, to your self now, today and always.

With love and thought
~ JJ.


Ask and you shall receive

Life is a never ending evolution of happenings. Evolution of life and life’s happenings. Evolution of humans – physically and mentally.

Lets play with the ‘mental’ evolution for a minute. There are fads, right? Trends you could say. Its a cycle – they are cyclical in their evolution. Are our minds cyclical? Are our spirits cyclical?

They say we are on a journey in this life, in our past life, in the next life – but there is no ‘resurrection’. So what is ‘the next life’. What is life? Is life only defined by a living creature? What is living? Isn’t everything living? Does not everything have a spirit? If each thing we touch has a purpose, is that thing not alive; full of life?

I have been really thinking about what I want recently. Where do I want to go; What do I want to do? I am working on letting go of the stresses in life and letting be. Just letting be. Trusting in myself, believing in myself, loving myself, being kind to myself through my thoughts and actions. I have to. This is the only way I am going to get to where I want to be.

I think its important to have goals. I also think and am working on practicing the emotion I am tying to that goal. Allowing myself to approach this goal neutrally – letting the universe take over and believing in whatever outcome I arrive at. I want to find value in the experience and not rely on the outcome – just believe in the outcome. Believe that the outcome is exactly what is meant to happen. That I gained so much already and actually I did reach my goal – I am reaching my goal. Every day. I am working on myself. On my acceptance of myself and my life as it is in this moment.

I have known I’ve needed and wanted to put myself out there in the Yogic community in San Francisco, but something was holding me back. It was myself. I have been holding myself back. No one else. Just me. So I realized this right and I knew that, yeah this is a scary and uncomfortable feeling, putting myself out there, but you know what, go out there, believe in where you are. I repeat a couple intentions or mantras, if you will, to myself every single day. To help guide me, to help push me, to help me believe in myself. And you know what, it works! The universe is hearing me, is believing in ME, is paving the path I am meant to be walking.

I can’t actually explain how happy I am. How just letting go, letting be is allowing so much space for wonderful things to transpire in my life. If you open your heart and your mind to the possibilities and the opportunity of recognizing when the universe is answering and guiding, you will be amazed at what you find and the inspiration you find in yourself.

A quote from the book I’m reading (Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama), “Complete self-reliance and fearlessness were the foundation stones of Gandhi’s philosophy…Gandhi believed in the art of living without concern for the fruits of one’s actions. He practiced not worrying about success or failure, but paid attention to the work at hand without feeling the slightest anxiety or fatigue”.

Believe in yourself and do what you’re supposed to.

With love and light ~ me, as I am.

Nature is beautiful

If you told me I would spend July Fourth 2016 in Boise, Idaho, I wouldn’t believe you. Well, here I am – in Idaho – continuing to explore the vast extent of this planet Earth  – of this land we call home.
Rather than a show of man-made fireworks on the 4th, we watched of show of nature-works. As the sun set and indescribable colors filled the sky over the Shoshone Falls and Snake River, there we stood, sipping our champagne and feeling peaceful among nature.

Not often do we take time to admire the beauty around us. Idaho has been a state I’ve seen from above for a few years now with all of the traveling I’ve done with my past job. It has been a state of sparse farm land, canyons, mountains, deserts and random bodies of water from above.

Now that I have the opportunity to be up close and personal with Idaho – I’m pleasantly surprised by the beauty around me. The canyons, gorges, mountains and deserts I’ve seen from above are not so minuscule as seemingly expected from 35,000′ above land. In fact, how large nature can be seems to always amaze me and bring a smile to my face.

The beauty in nature is, I think, one of the most unique aspects of Earth. I am a lover of the sun and of the land. The two compliment each other quite nicely in this land of potatoes. Colors of the rainbow fill the sky as the sun sets around 9pm in the evening during the month of July – last light leaving the night sky around 10pm. Strange concept to get used to and surprising how the connection with light naturally energies our bodies, keeping us awake and active much later than in San Francisco.

As the saying goes ‘stop to smell the roses’. So stop and smell – never would you regret this moment as you start to naturally appreciate the beauty in the smell and in turn, the gratitude towards nature. Bring this sense of gratitude with you always. Be thankful, for nature is beautiful – and its our to enjoy.