Love Helps The One Who Loves

Over Ten Years.

That’s how long I’ve been studying, practicing and teaching yoga and meditation in Philadelphia.  Full-Time.  It’s been my passion, my profession and my life.  I’ve had many wonderful teachers – most notably Dr. Vijayendra Pratap who I sat with weekly for much of those ten years.  I’ve taught hours upon hours of group classes, private clients and meditation series and designed and co-taught three 200-hr Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Truth be told,

I was not planning or intending to be a meditation and yoga teacher.  Not at all.  In a way, I fell into these practices.

Ten years ago I was very miserable.

After attending Columbia, graduating from Brown and beginning post-graduate studies at UPenn, I was disillusioned with academia and completely uninspired by the future I imagined awaited me if I continued down that path.  Beyond that, I was emotionally very heavy-hearted – carrying the weight and the pain of old wounds that had never properly healed.

 

Then I took my first yoga class.

And while I would be lying if I said it was an immediate cure-all, it was inspiring – physically, mentally and emotionally.  And I left feeling lighter, more open and more energized than I had felt in a very long time.  And so of course I went back. Again and again and again.

Within a few months I left academia to pursue the study of yoga and meditation.

Looking back, I had absolutely no idea what that even meant.  I was just following good feelings.  The practices made me feel alive again and the teachings intrigued me immensely – they sparked a vitality and an awareness within me that were beyond what I had perviously experienced.

Now, ten years later,

I have a sort of unspeakable reverence for these practices and teachings.  They have changed and continue to change me and my life in ways that I was never expecting and they have given and continue to give me everything I didn’t know I needed and everything that I secretly wanted in this life.

And so I teach these practices to share them,

Not to preach them nor to prove myself through them.  I teach them because they inspire me and because I believe they hold an inherent potential to inspire.  My teacher is fond of pointing out that everything in nature gives.  Trees give their fruit, birds give their songs, he says.  I teach because it’s one of the things that I can give in this life.

On a more logistical note,

I fell in love with the island of Kauai over 10 years ago – right before I moved to Philadelphia for grad school.  In January of this year I followed my heart and re-located there (here).  I’m now happily in the process of settling in, getting to know the landscape and the communities and finding new places to teach.

I took a yoga teacher training with Jess and her yoga class is my favorite to attend. When she moved away, I had to remind myself that the practice lies in me, not with a single teacher, a truth that she has helped me learned. She has helped me learn to be compassionate toward myself and open to all the different selves that I can be. She is curious and smart. I love learning philosophy from her and the bits of neuroscience that she works into her teaching. Her yoga classes are like a shortcut to finding out about the best parts of yoga.  She has helped me to grow as a student, as a teacher and as a friend – take a class with her! stay and chat! go on a walk! you guys will have so much fun together and learn so much.

Lori Vogt


YOGA


For me, the physical practice of yoga has always been a form of meditation – a means to cultivate sensitivity and awareness and orient myself inside my experience.

When I first started practicing I knew these postures made me feel a way that few things had ever made me feel.  Though I couldn’t have put words to it at the time, I now realize that these postures helped me access a meditative state – an experience of being more at ease within myself.  My friend and I joke that Yoga Asana is a gateway drug because it opens the door to a whole new world – a whole new way of being with ourselves.

And of course, what I love informs why and how I teach.

And so, as a teacher my intention is to lead class, cue poses and hold space so that students can potentially feel themselves and be with themselves in a way that is not easily accessible otherwise.  While my classes are physically challenging they are not particularly sweaty or particularly fast.  Their primary focus is on breath, attention and on our relationship to time, space and to ourselves.

 

The yoga classes I’ve taken with Jess all left me feeling a deeper connection to the beautiful fruit of the practice. During each class, Jess’s instructions provided for me an anchoring into the body which unlocked the chattering of the mind.  The cues she used brought me home to the true experience of the present moment. With her extensive knowledge and experience of yoga, not only does she feed your body with movement, but she feeds your spirit with the love and care it truly needs.

Kim Luig


MEDITATION


My teacher doesn’t talk too much about meditation.  His primary instruction is “sit on your ass and figure it out” – most often said with a slightly mischievous glint in his eyes.

I was taught to commit and to follow the truth and the unfolding of my own practice.  For the past 10 years that’s what I’ve been doing.  And it turned into a very sweet and fulfilling ride that has awakened me in ways that I could never have imagined – even had someone tried to explain it to me.

The most common question I gets asked is “what style of meditation do you teach?”  The truth is, I don’t teach a style of meditation – I teach the practice of meditation.  If that sounds confusing, think of it like this: imagine you wanted to learn how to sew vintage looking clothing.  You went to a seamstress and asked “could you teach me how to make vintage clothing?” and her reply was, “I can teach you how to make clothing.”  In other words, she’ll teach you how to follow a pattern and sew and then you choose what you want to do with it.

Every meditation technique is pointing towards the same “thing.”  And it’s that “thing” that I teach about.  It’s that “thing” that I will point to, again and again.

You only understand meditation by practicing it.  That is literally the truest thing I could tell you.  As my teacher says, “the path opens only when you walk it.”  There is no amount of talking about meditation that could give you the experience of meditation.  Yet I talk about it.  Because for as true as it is that understanding only comes through practice, for many of us, the conversation about the practice is an undeniably supportive element of the process.

Meditation is helpful in more ways than you can probably imagine.  It’s worth it to put some time and energy into exploring how it can be helpful to you.


There is no one I could more highly recommend as a meditation teacher.  Jess is masterful in her style of teaching. She leaves room for inquiry and always points students back to their own experience.  Her teaching consistently invites you into your own practice.  What really sets Jess apart is her ability to speak to modern-day human conditions- compulsivity, anxiety, mental spinning, discontent, etc- in relatable ways.  There is a freshness to her approach that makes it easily accessible to real life.  

Jessica Radovich

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