Jenny Ravikumar is a devoted yoga practitioner, yoga teacher, reiki master, certified crystal healer through Hibiscus Moon and owner of the Barefoot Yoga Shala studio based in Massachusetts. Most recently, she started a successful non-profit, Yoga for Families of Addiction. As the name implies, this non-profit provides healing for friends, families, and spouses of addicts. Through Jenny's own experience she found that there are many yoga platforms to help addicts themselves get through their struggles but there was nothing out there to help the people who love the addicts. With Yoga for Families of Addiction, Jenny creates holds space and creates sacred sessions to help friends, families and spouses of addicts get through the tough stuff like shame, co-dependency, anger and forgiveness. We cover a lot of interesting topics in this episode including a short pit stop on how it's possible to fuse together religion and yoga, but the main topic here is how to stand in our truth and show up authentically even in times of great struggle.
Jenny's own story is that she was married to somebody with an alcohol addiction and went through a traumatic divorce.....all the while completing her 500 YTT, opening up a yoga studio and taking care of her new baby boy. How did she continue to teach from her heart and show up authentically for the community even while all this struggle was happening? Listen in to find out! :)
- One torrentially important message I picked up in this conversation is that your YOGA exists at all times. Even through the tough times. Actually, even especially in the tough times. Regular practitioners or yoga teachers may feel like they "should" be the perfect zen image but that's so not true. As Brene Brown says:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
- When you're going through something traumatic, it's natural to hold onto what feels good. Sometimes what you hold onto is good, sometimes it's something not so good. For Jenny, that's when she discovered the world of essential oils, energy healing and crystals.
- What emotions do families of addiction go through?
- Shame – a lot of ppl don’t share what’s going on their world because they want to keep their friend/spouse/family safe and on a pedestal
- How did Jenny continue to teach from a place of authenticity during her traumatic divorce? She would never teach on something that she wasn't feeling. For example, if she cried her eyes out that day, she wouldn't teach about joy because the material just wasn't there at that moment. But instead, the focus would be on something like forgiveness. That's a yoga teacher's example but even if you're not a yoga teacher, you can apply this and find authenticity in your day to day interactions. For example, answering authentically to "how are you?". Doesn't mean you need to divulge everything that's wrong but rather than saying "great!" when you're not, it could simply be "I'm happy to be here".
- What helped and continues to help Jenny through her struggles is her toolbelt. When times get tough, she comes back to:
- Essential oils
- Tools like the ones listed above and our yoga practice (of course) are the modalities that can get you through healing. What's in your toolbelt?
One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:
In Jenny's words....
The two biggest lessons I've learned as a teacher is that (1.) I'm CONSTANTLY learning from my students and my son, they are always my best teachers. And (2.) as I continued to run my studio AND create a new non-profit, I was finalizing a traumatic divorce and am raising my son as a single mom every day. The journey isn't always easy, the lessons will continue to pop up over and over.... but with resilience, LOVE & compassion, we can dig deep to find strength we never knew we had.
What is one nugget of wisdom that you would share with fellow seekers who are on this journey of growth and transformation?
BREATHE. A transformation isn't meant to be beautiful. It's meant to bring up the ugly, rip open your heart and be a messy battle. If were easy, everyone would do it. Continue to breathe into love. Stay in the present. Have faith. Know you're supported. Because I promise, if you can hold on for a few more breaths, it will be beautiful on the other side.
If you have any questions for Jenny or want to learn more, connect with her through:
FB: @jennyravikumar @barefootyogashala @yogaforfamiliesofaddiction