Jenn Rivera was a corporate executive with 10 years experience in publication, mainstream advertising and event coordination, when she one day decided to just call it all quits and go on a healing journey that would change her life.
She described her life as being "consistently busy", but at some point, she says, "the busy-ness and stress [became part of a] standard lifestyle". A lifestyle she described as having gotten trickier to manage each time. "I was committed [to work]", she said, but described herself as "a competitive and borderline workaholic". Jenn, like most of us who have been through corporate jobs, had dreams of moving up the ranks. Her highest intention as an employee was to grow the agency's DNA in order to "maintain the quality and efficiency of work, create standards and motivate others." But in 2015, after 10 long years of having gone the traditional route of corporate work, she began to feel a disconnect. She found herself in an unhealthy environment that started to take a toll on her body. Most of all, she no longer felt aligned with her personal values and standards, and that's where her journey into healing began. I asked Jenn to walk me through her journey and here is where our conversation took us:
So you were an achiever at work, and despite the crazy work load and as you said, “unethical practices” you still pulled through. So, how and when were you led into this whole world of healing?
June 2015, only a few weeks after all those changes and turning points. A friend who has for years been encouraging me to meet her friend who was a teacher and integrative health practitioner, knew of what was going on and set me up for a session.
What got you hooked? / What was the turning point for you that made you say “I’m convinced, this stuff works for me”?
As soon as I left the building, after that session. The knot on my heart center which has been there most of my life and aggravated by high levels of stress, disappeared. Then the next few weeks after that, my life changed so fast, I was amazed. And at that, all I was asked to do was love myself and focus on that.
We all go through our own journeys, and yours has been very exciting to observe. So you were at this point where you were basically called to heal, what was the process like after?
I felt my priorities shifting. I was getting more drawn to energy work, attending workshops and certification classes; I even stopped taking my French language course to make room for healing-related activities on weekends including spending time with newfound and like-minded friends. My heightened awareness opened me to the harsh realities of the nature of work and other people’s behaviors, which made me challenge the integrity of the business and question if it’s still worth it.
What was the most important lesson you had to learn through the process?
ALWAYS love, serve and take care of yourself first. Always. You first.
1. Listening to the guidance and calling of your purpose. And your purpose is not just ONE thing.
2. Listening to mentors who have been where you are and trusting that they mean well.
I had the best support system, which mostly came in the form of people and more importantly, belief in myself and trusting my intuition. Also, Kundalini Yoga practice.
I remember the day you told me you wanted to become a kundalini yoga teacher. I just knew right then and there that the practice had changed you. Can you tell me a little bit more about what Kundalini Yoga is about?
Kundalini Yoga is known to be the yoga of awareness. Yogi Bhajan, our teacher who spread this amazing practice to the Western world said, “ Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity..” Kundalini Yoga allows you to go beyond the illusionary limitations your mind creates. It is indeed a science, that brings to awareness or to the conscious level, what needs to be addressed, healed, released and enhanced. It connects us to our higher self, awakens us to our greater purpose in life.
What happens in a kundalini class?
No class is ever the same, as each set either addresses one specific theme or many different ones. But the structure of a Kundalini Yoga class begins with tuning in, wherein we chant two mantras three times.
1. Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo / Adi Mantra, to tap into the guru within, for both teacher and student
2. Aad Guray Nameh / Mangala Charan Mantra which is generally to call in protection into the space
Then there are warm up exercises to prepare you for the main Kriya set. In the Kriya, movements and poses are usually repetitive, timed and use specific angles (each with a purpose and benefit). After the Kriya is the meditation, which uses a mantra and a mudra, both tools that utilize the power of vibration, gaining focus and a harmony of body, mind and soul.
What is a "kundalini"?
Kundalini translates to “coiled snake”, which in terms of this practice and principle, is the energy that represents the divine, found in each of us, located at the base of the spine.
What kind of discipline does it give you?
Mind discipline, first and foremost. My mentor, Rosan, would always say the work we do in KY is like a bootcamp of the mind. I agree. And to me personally, it allows me a consistent practice I can no longer do without. It has brought strength and value to my yoga and meditation practice. Like I can’t not move or meditate, it’s essential, like the breath
What are the benefits of kundalini?
Kundalini Yoga gives you an integrated experience of body, mind and soul transformation. It brings you back to yourself; it allows you to look within. Its effects and processes are received differently by each individual but it definitely brings about the much needed change, enhancement and reminder of who you truly are - connecting you with your higher self, your guru within.
How can kundalini heal the wounds of the psyche?
Kundalini Yoga is so vast in terms of being a tool for healing. It works to clear and reprogram the subconscious, which is where our patterns live. It is a tool to grow out of cycles and begin new ones, to serve us for the better. The use of mantras in KY taps into our own vibration and that of higher frequencies.
I recently observed that you use the name “Daas Hari Kaur”, is this a name you receive from Kundalini? Can you tell us a little bit about this? What does it mean? How do you want to be addressed?
Dass Hari Kaur is my spiritual name. I have been gifted with this name which embodies celestial kindness, prosperity and creativity in the world by lovingly serving God in all. It is preferred that we are addressed by our spiritual name especially in classes and in the community; it was part of our training environment to internalize this, so we introduced and referred to ourselves using our spiritual names. I have high regard for this name as it reminds me of my true self and connection to the divine. There’s a sense of self-respect as well, saying and hearing it captures so much.
Your journey has really been so exciting! From corporate employee to full-fledged healer, you’ve certainly come a long way. What advice can you give to people who are on their journeys to manifesting their deepest desires?
My advice is to build a strong foundation of self, to never lose sight of true self, as you pursue your higher calling, your dreams, your deepest desires. For one, you will strip off layers of yourself and discover who you truly are along the way, and that in itself is already worth the trip. Whether it’s a project, a short-term goal, or your biggest dream, listen to the call when it presents itself to you. Listen to the whispers of your soul, the voice within, before it becomes a roar. Most of all, love yourself and always trust your intuition. Can’t go wrong with these two.
About 2 weeks after this interview was conducted, Jenn messaged me to say that she had decided to return to the corporate setting. While she had taken off from that "life" to grow in the art of healing, she learned now how she could begin to integrate both "worlds". After deciding to shift to a full-time spiritual endeavor, Jenn finished teacher training in Bali along with a few more courses on healing and energy. Kundalini Yoga remains in the front seat of her life, offering customized and private sessions, along with energetic space clearing and empowerment sessions with private clients. It is possible to be in the grounded, operational and functional world without having to give up a spiritual life. For Jenn it is not a choice that one is forced to make, it is a life path and a truth that you can integrate your 'magic' into reality.