January is a great time for new beginnings! We want you to focus on loving yourself while being grateful for what life has to offer. We are proud to feature Jennifer, this month's Woman in Control. She finds passion in life by learning and teaching through yoga to help others live a happier and healthier life.
Tell us a about yourself -
I’m an everywoman — a student, teacher, dancer, yogi, daughter, sister, friend, lover, artist, writer, speaker, consultant, mentor, facilitator, and coach. I’m always growing, learning, hunting, gathering, releasing, shedding, and awakening into an ever more brilliant version of myself. Professionally I’ve developed a program called ‘Upgrade Your Being’ that works with individuals and organizations who are passionately committed to achieving the next level of awesome by living the core principles of yoga.
What inspired you to choose your career? And what continues to drive you?
I’ve always loved learning, although as a child school wasn’t fun. I had some pretty rotten teachers. I was initially drawn to teaching elementary school because I knew I could do better — learning can be joyful! I incorporated yoga into the classroom, because it was obvious that healthy bodies, and a healthy environment, make for healthier, happier and more successful students. I now teach the core principles of yoga as a basis for personal and organizational transformation.
When did you realize that you wanted to make yoga your way of life and teach?
I first fell in love with the beauty of asana (yoga poses) in 1996. I took my first teacher’s training two years later and came to appreciate its breadth and depth as a system for wholehearted living. Today, by helping individuals and organizations to embody yoga’s core principles, I’m supporting the understanding that living yoga goes beyond the mat. I will be teaching these principles, and the new understandings I glean from yoga for the rest of my life.
How has yoga changed you?
At the age of 46 I feel fit, fast, and fierce — more so than I ever felt in my twenties. Living yoga has made me a better person, a better friend, and a better lover. Most importantly, yoga has deepened my sense of compassion and connection to others, and has helped me to be of service both on and off the mat.
"I THINK WE’RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH WHAT WE THINK IT LOOKS LIKE TO BE HEALTHY - SOME OF THE UNHAPPIEST PEOPLE I’VE EVER MET WERE HEALTH NUTS. IF YOU’RE JOYFUL, YOU HAVE EVERYTHING."
How would you encourage others to live not only a physically healthy life, but also mentally and socially?
Healthfulness begins with joyfulness. Fill your days with magic, dreams and good madness. Be creative! Dance, sing, play, make art. Wag more, bark less. Embrace kaizen (constant and never ending improvement). Put your house in order. Resource yourself with support to move through the things you're not great at and don't enjoy doing. Embrace your body as a multitude of miracles. Eat sensibly and drink plenty of water. Exercise daily. Live each day in gratitude.
What does being a woman in control mean to you?
Effective systems are a precondition of magic. It is significantly easier to exercise control when you limit the variables, so I live simply and plan for spontaneity by keeping my world neat and orderly. Happiness is a well packed bag. I move light and fast in the world because I value love, joy and freedom above all else. A woman in control can create more magic when she knows exactly where to find her wand!
If you could say one thing to a young girl encouraging her to be a woman in control, what would you say?
Forget Disney - you’re not a princess, and the world doesn’t owe you a living. Go out into the world. Explore. Dream. Discover. Take what’s yours. Consume consciously. Be your own person. Don’t wait on a (wo)man to make you complete. Work hard and roll with the punches. Enjoy your body. Nurture your mind. Be a woman who lifts other women. Argue compassionately. Don’t be a bitch.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the LIA LARREA brand?
The LIA LARREA brand supports my active lifestyle where work overlaps with play, travel and adventure. By being able to pack lightly, making multiple outfits with a few gorgeous, reversible, coordinating pieces, I can show up to a boardroom meeting, jump on a plane to a speaking engagement, or meet up for a casual lunch or a night out on the town, casually glamorous in comfort and in style. Phenomenal fabrics and brilliant design allow for freedom, flexibility, ease and grace.
Photography - Quincy Stamper