Each month we're featuring our fantastic teachers, their incredible attributes as well as raising money for a non-profit that is near and dear to them.
April : Off the Mat Series
w. Founder Jessy Raspiller
Who is Jessy Raspiller:
Born and raised in small town Arizona with a few themes that have been intricately woven throughout her life:
Nature is nurture
I've heard in so many different words that the things you're meant to do in your life will always be present within you. That if you surrender to them, they will bring you the greatest fulfillment in life, but if you turn from them, they will follow you and can be the source of some of your deepest suffering.
From the day I could walk I was dancing around and exploring every nook and cranny of my desert surroundings. Very early on my energy was funneled into gymnastics and eventually formal dance classes. My thirst to share the things that bring me joy, landed me my first job as I was leaving middle school. As I entered high school I began my teaching career. I was coaching gymnastics with those that were younger than me and eventually got the invitation to partner with the Community Education at my district to begin a dance program. I loved sharing the freedom of movement with my students and assumed this would be woven into my adult life.
I went on to attend ASU and as a freshman I began envisioning the future as a Special Education teacher. Through life's ups and downs I lost my personal sense of movement. I stopped dancing, I stopped moving, and living in a city for the first time, without any awareness around it, was uprooting me from my curious nature. Inevitably these huge shifts in my equilibrium pushed me to lose my passion to teach. My campus years had many beautifully difficult and dark lessons for me to experience and for the first time I felt myself push away what came most naturally to me.
The harder I pushed, the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the harder I pushed away the things that could have brought me back to my joy. Inevitably the Universe got through to me. As a last ditch effort by an ex-boyfriend to help me find my feet on the ground, the suggestion was made to sign up for a semester of yoga. I was curious enough to say yes and also desperate enough to not say no. I was so disassociated with my body at that point that I suffered through most of those practices. Looking back now I'm grateful that, that yoga class was worthy of a course credit, so that the wisdom could begin to make a deep impression upon me. While it wasn't love at first practice, it planted a seed for years to come.
After college and a stint working in London, I would move back to Arizona, into what would become the deepest economic downturn of my life's history. Desperate to begin my career I took the first admin job I could find. As I look back I laugh, because while the job was less than what I had in mind for a college graduate with international working experience, the Universe knew what it was doing.
A few months into working at this job a new friend would sit me down in the lunch room and tell me about the Psoas Release experience she had at her Yoga Teacher Training over the weekend (you can read more about this deeper woven story here). My fascination with her story and my muscle memory of those college yoga classes inevitable landed me in a yoga studio a regular weekly practice. Eventually this job would be my golden ticket to the Gold Coast of Southern California. As chance (or the universe conspiring in my favor) would have it this job was driven by technology products for K-12 + Higher Education classrooms. My new role would have me educating educators... suddenly its like my equilibrium righted itself again. I was teaching again and moving body regularly.
Moving to California was one of the greatest leaps I've taken in my life. It wasn't easy for the first few years, but I always trusted it would be worth being here. I knew that I would end up finding my people in yoga classes. When that didn't happen and I couldn't convince the few friends that I had met to join me at a yoga studio... well as many of you know I went off and decided to get my own teaching credentials and would end up teaching my friends yoga in the park.
Here I am 6 years into this Wild adventure known as Ventura Pop Up Yoga: Teaching Movement in Nature.
My inner child intuitively knew what brought her joy; movement, nature, and teaching. Whenever I feel like my equilibrium has tipped I come back to her. As a business owner it can be so easy to loose sight of the innocence and freedom of why I began and why I continue to create in this platform. But if I can pause long enough to recognize myself in my work and breathe into my teaching, movement or the natural elements, I drop right back into that deeper sense of doing life on purpose.
While I don't think that life is pre-determined, I think that we each have these golden themes running throughout our energetic veins of life. Some of my deeper passions in teaching are helping others dive in and begin to extract these elements and explore how they can find their own greater sense of fulfillment through them. You can find more about my private and semi-private work at our sister company Venture Well Yoga
Or I invite you Into the Wild with me on one of two opportunities to explore a deeper sense of Self surrounded by Nature. See our flyers below.
Jessy's Featured Event:
Surf + Yoga
1/2 Day Retreat
April 18th 8:30-12:30pm
Spend a morning deepening and enriching your yoga practice while learning to apply it to a new challenge through surfing. When we can learn to practically apply the wisdom we learn and FEEL on a yoga mat, we begin to embody this practice and the thousands of years of knowledge it has to support us in our everyday lives.
Jessy is passionate about connecting individuals to nature. Inviting them to step out of their comfort zones just enough that they may discover something they never knew was there. Since moving to Ventura 10 years ago the surrounding hillsides have become Jessy's playground for her own Self Discovery. This month she will be raising funds for Ventura Land Trust.
The mission of Ventura Land Trust is to permanently protect the land, water, wildlife and scenic beauty of the Ventura region for current and future generations.
Ventura Land Trust (VLT), a community-based nonprofit organization, believes that preserving open space and providing public access enhances the economy, quality of life, and public well-being of Ventura and surrounding communities. With local partners, VLT works to protect the natural beauty of our area. VLT builds trails, restores habitat, plants trees, and cleans up our rivers.
Ventura Land Trust envisions a Ventura with more trails, more hiking, more biking, and more opportunity to enjoy natural areas. VLT envisions more preserved open space that balances the protection of wildlife and the environment. Working with willing landowners, land is either protected via acquisition or through a land conservation agreement.
Get Involved: https://www.venturalandtrust.org/other_ways_to_support
Why I chose Ventura Land Trust?
Nature or as I refer to it, the Wild, has nurtured my spiritual journey. These hillsides have become my playground. I'm grateful to live in a place that places value on the open land and spaces to preserve it for generations to come. I believe the closer we can all become with the natural elements of the earth, the closer they bring us each to a deeper sense of our own Self. We can't live without the nature, and nature needs our dedication for its preservation.
Two ways to support Ventura Land Trust this month:
Donate to our overall fundraising efforts; below via Paypal or Venmo @YogaintheWild with a description of the funds your sending
Join us on April 17th. Proceeds from registration at Jessy's 8:30am weekly practice will go towards our greater fundraising efforts.