I grew up in Minnesota and spent my young adult years crisscrossing the U.S.A. in search of more life. After leaving the corporate world in 2009, I began to receive intuitive messages about moving to another country. In 2012, I put fifteen years of NYC living into storage, packed two bags, and left for an indefinite stay in the small village of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, sight unseen, with the intention to fully sustain myself by growing my healing practice. My way of life changed 100%. Within a couple of years, I was invited to join the world-renowned yoga center, The Yoga Barn, as a residential healer. In Ubud for almost six years I sat privately with clients, led weekly meditation classes and hosted numerous workshops and retreats. I was drawn to Bali Hinduism, invited to sit regularly with Balinese Hindu priestesses, witnessed rituals, and visited sacred grounds. In my last years on the island, I also studied with a lama of the Tibetan Dzogchen Buddhist tradition. My gratitude for this time period is immense.
In 2016, after years of solo study and experimentation, I was led to my current teacher in India, ShriNandan, a Master of Swatantra. ShriNandanji has pushed me beyond what I thought was possible, fed my hunger for wisdom that I couldn't find in books and continually points me toward True Freedom. In June 2017, I decided to take another leap. I left Bali to explore yet more of life and reimagine how I wanted to show up for it. This decision has led me to now spend most of my time in India furthering my spiritual journey, writing and expanding my knowledge of traditional Ayurveda, Yoga and Tantra.
I'm often asked what Swatantra is. It is a question that is hard to answer because it isn't definable by words, only by experience. The word Swatantra can be translated as finding one’s own technique or practice. It weaves the ancient knowledge of the Vedic rishis with an individual’s own karma, genetics, and personality, guiding them towards their personal path to Freedom/self-realization. There is no dogma and no renunciation. Through self-discipline, commitment and the guidance of ShriNandanji, Swatantra has given me a container for all of my accumulated knowledge and experience, resulting in the focusing, purifying and strengthening of my inner wisdom, intelligence and life force energy.
Everything is energy in Tantric cosmology, and keeping the energy calm and balanced (sattvic) is how we ground and maintain clarity. This includes the physical body, the thinking mind, emotions, and the energetic body. Practices involve movement, pranayama (breath work), meditation, and self-inquiry. Pranayama is a key element to the transformation process as this helps to purify and energize the physical body and keeps the mind clear and calm. When your internal world is calm there is space for your own truth and life force energy to arise naturally. Harmony with nature is another key element; understanding that our existence is a gift of nature and following the flow of nature leads to a contented life. We look for the nectar of life - the nectar that helps us heal, discover, celebrate and go deeper into a state of love. All of this leads to a Freedom that can never be taken away - ungoverned by materialism, politics, conditioning or programming .
ShriNandanji has given me a Sanskrit name, something that is commonly done in the East: Jnana Janani. Jnana means wisdom and Janani means Mother: Mother of Wisdom. At 52 years old I am humbled by the magnificence of this existence. I stand in awe of Nature and Cosmic Intelligence, and live as harmoniously as I am capable of.