Yogi of the Month July: Jessie Hrivnak

For several years I had been going to yoga classes. I had explored different teachers and different styles but it wasn’t until I found Tranquil Space in the spring of 2010 that I realized that I hadn’t been practicing yoga, I had simply been going to a fitness class that moved through some cool poses and provided some nice muscle definition and got me into my skinny jeans.

I found TS shortly after I moved to Washington, D.C. from Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a difficult transition for me, moving away from family and friends, working from home, not knowing many people or much about the city I now called home (notably how to get around traffic circles. That in and of itself was a life changing experience), I felt compelled to seek out a yoga studio so that I could begin a practice, find a community, and really just get myself out of my house on those days that the fabulousness of working from home is lost due to loneliness or when you finally realize that your sweatpants are your new staple wardrobe piece and conversations with your dog are happening way too often. A sweet friend of mine recommending TS and I joined her for a Saturday morning class and I knew, as the end of class lavender spray circled the room, that I would be back again and again.
My personal practice has changed my life in ways that only few other things have. You often hear from those who practice that yoga has been life changing. In a very transparent and honest way, I share with you just how much a dedicated practice can alter your very being. My hope is that this encourages my fellow yogi’s to reflect on how the journey from the mat and out into your daily life has changed you. For those who are tip toeing into the idea of starting a yoga practice, my hope is that this opens your heart to the idea that while your arms will strengthen and your booty will look good, the true transformation will be within and it will be amazing.
Yoga taught me to rip the cover off of books (metaphorically speaking of course). Judging a book by its cover became a waste of time. Where I once would create opinions and judgements on others based on superficial matters, I found myself seeking a deeper discovery into both current and new relationships. I wanted to better understand their uniqueness, passion, and energy. This has lead to beautiful integrity based relationships. Friendships become about giving, trusting and a selfless love that goes beyond a good Saturday night out (although those are still important!)
Dealing with conflict had always been a challenge for me. I grew up with 5 older brothers so from a very young age I worked hard to make sure my voice was heard and then heard again. And in the event that you didn’t hear it the first 18 times, I wrote it down for you! Reflecting on times of conflict that I’ve faced, I recognize that it was more about the win, the control, and the final say than it was about truth and understanding. Taking the advice of the musical genius John Lennon and being able to just “Let it be” is an amazing discovery. Know what is worth taking a stance for, spend your fight on things worth fighting for, and embrace that what makes all of us so amazing is that we have this freedom to be different from each other yet still share the same space and love each other for those very differences.
Yoga has provided the ability to recognize that sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need. When I was working on headstand earlier this year, I began to have cervical spine and neck issues. I was totally bummed and found myself pouting about it. Then the cake got iced with headstand being the asana of the month. The pose I so craved, was in front of me for 30 days and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even try to do it. In my frustration, Mary Catherine, a teacher at the Arlington studio, reminded me to look at the life lesson in front of me. Perhaps the journey wasn’t about the pose, but maybe it was about humility, self-care, and just being ok with not being able to do it all. It’s just a pose.
Finally, and what I feel has been the most amazing transformation of all, is the idea of self-compassion. Yoga has taught me the beautiful idea of recognizing that right now, just as I am, is enough. That with kind thoughts, words, and intentions to others, I can develop the same compassion towards my own self. It has taught me that there is no room on my mat or in a studio to try and be better than your fellow yogi; you’re practice is not the same therefor there is no way to compare the two. My practice has taught me that not only is falling ok, but that sometimes the fall is the most beautiful experience you can have. Fall. Feel the earth catch you. See the hand extend to help you up. Recognize your inner strength to dust yourself off and go right back into trying the same pose. Your fear of not being total perfection is gone. Yoga has taught me that the journey is often just that, a journey. The destination may not be known so don’t worry about where you are going and focus on where you are in the present moment. Eddie Vedder, says it so simply, “It makes much more sense to live in the present tense.”
I am truly grateful to Tranquil Space for being my home away from home. I have grateful for my teachers who have pushed me to my edge and pulled me back when they recognize I was pushing myself past it. I am so thankful for the friends that I have made on the mat for honoring the studios vision of love and compassion. To my recent TT1 classmates, I am grateful to have shared a great experience of knowledge, self discovery, and growth with all of you. I am thankful to Kimberly, for her creativity, friendship, and mentorship. I am so humbled that my own personal journey has stood out to the TS community. It’s my hope that I can continue to share my energy with each of you on and off the mat.
My t-shirt says it perfectly! I love Tranquil Space!
I honor the light in all of you, and thank you for honoring the light in me. Namaste.

2 thoughts on “Yogi of the Month July: Jessie Hrivnak

  1. handsome

    June 30, 2011 at 2:26pm

    Jessie, thanks for your post. It was thoughtful and great to read at the start my day. I too have to forgo headstand and I know that it is better to just let my neck be…

Comments are closed.