Jordyn Bartenstein is a yoga therapist, plant lover, dog mom, and mentor with the Kaivalya Yoga Method Online Yoga Teacher Training. Jordyn uses her extensive background in yoga and related modalities to give others the tools that they need to remove the obstacles from their healing power. Whether you know her as the person who gives you feedback on your assignments as a current student, or you’re a potential student in the teacher training (wink wink), take a moment to get to know Jordyn outside of the mentor role. I’m excited to share this interview with you, as Jordyn was so generous in her answers–some of which challenged my thinking, and I love that!
There are loads of gems here, and I’ve highlighted some…Let’s get into it.
EM: Before we talk about the official mentor business, can you share a little bit more about yourself? Spill the tea! Where are you from? What does home mean to you? What would we be surprised to know about you/ who are you outside of your mentor role?
Jordyn: I would love to! I am originally from a small mountain town in California called Lake Arrowhead. I feel very fortunate to have been raised there because it is truly a hidden gem! Growing up in a small town had its various perks as well as drawbacks. Anyone from a small town knows exactly what I’m referring to. Nature has always been very very important to me because of where and how I grew up. Put me in me the trees or by the sea and I am a happy gal! I was always outside as much as possible – hiking trails, swimming in the lake, and skiing in the winter was all very normal. I always felt a strong sense of community because it seemed like everyone knew everyone. It is the type of town where still to this day, I am almost guaranteed to see someone I know at the local grocery store when I visit. This is of course “home” however, to me home isn’t necessarily based on the physical location or house itself but it has always been within the connections and surroundings. Home is my loving family and dear friends. Home is the feeling I get when I am in nature and filled with a sense of ease. I never quite connected the dots until I found yoga, but I feel this idea of “home” is truly one and the same. Yoga, to me, is all about more profound, more intimate connections and navigating my surroundings in a meaningful way.
Outside of my mentor role, I am a dedicated dog mom and plant lover (no surprise there!). I think I have at least 20 plants in my apartment. I love camping during the warm months and taking ski trips in the winter. My favorite place to camp is in Big Sur and one of my favorite places to ski is in Lake Tahoe. Nothing like outdoor adventures!
EM: Can you tell us about your wellness journey? How did you get to this moment? What is your yoga thing/ “zone of genius?”
I have always had an interest in all things wellness but became more passionate when I discovered the power it can have on not only my own life but also the lives of others around me. I first found yoga in high school when I needed it most. I was fairly dedicated to playing soccer competitively at the time, and over the years, I started feeling undervalued with the constant pressure of competition. I was always getting injured or feeling energetically drained trying to please others with a more, more, more mentality. I didn’t know it at the time, but an internal shift was happening, and I was being called to find something with more purpose or meaning. My cousin was a yoga teacher at the time and invited me to her class. After a few classes, I was hooked! I felt like I found the missing piece that connected challenge, dedication, and value of self. I felt more myself practicing yoga than ever before, and it has led me to unveil so much more about myself. It was no longer about the expectations of others but instead the ongoing expectation of myself to live within my own power. I have been on the path of self-discovery ever since. Today, I always remind my students and self to recognize when to pull back and when to push forward both in life and on your mat. Now, my best today may look different than my best tomorrow. That is okay. My practice has become the gateway into true self-love and an endless journey of deeper understanding in life. I have found that yoga starts with honoring yourself with where you are in life because there are no bounds or time frames to discovering more of your true self. I believe my “yoga thing” is helping others connect more deeply to parts of themselves that may have been forgotten.
“It was no longer about the expectations of others but instead the ongoing expectation of myself to live within my own power. I have been on the path of self-discovery ever since.”
EM: Tell us about your personal practice on and off of the mat–the real nitty-gritty. In what ways does it support you? Do you have any moments of frustration or obstacles that you experience? Do you practice every day? Are there routines or rituals that you are willing to share?
Jordyn: Again, I truly try to listen to my body. If I am feeling tired or depleted, I choose a practice that is more in alignment with that feeling. That being said, I am aware of the differences between when my mind is tired and when my body is tired. If my emotions are drained, my go-to is always pranayama first. I will often sit or lay down (depending on how my physical body feels) and simply focus on the breath. The more I have studied, the more everything comes back to the power of the breath itself. If my emotions are all over the place, I like to do a 20-30 minute vinyasa practice and move, move, move with a shorter pranayama practice. It is a constant balance of knowing what the mind needs and what the body craves.
I have an extremely active mind, which can be quite frustrating, especially when it comes to sleep or to focus on a particular task at hand. Two big things help me the most: routine and getting outside. I realized that routine is essential for my mind, and getting fresh air is just something I have to do. My mornings are fairly consistent – I always automatically wake up super early, whether I want to or not. I used to get quite annoyed by this, but I have learned to cherish this about myself and use these early mornings for my own personal quiet time. I allow a little freedom to either read, meditate, move through gentle asana or journal, but I try to refrain from technology until it is necessary or essential. Fortunately, I live in a place where the weather is nice most of the year, so I always get outside at least once a day – even if it is to walk around the block. I find this to be a form of meditation. Yoga is all around us, and if we pay attention, we can live in yoga within every moment.
“Yoga is all around us, and if we pay attention, we can live in yoga within every moment.”
EM: Do you have any “aha moments” that resonate with you that you think might help a current student in the program? Anything really pivotal that either reshaped your views of yourself or the world that you accessed through the practice?
Jordyn: The biggest “aha moments” have come to be through studying yoga and practicing what I have learned. One of the biggest to me is how incredibly and intimately connected we all are. This has greatly impacted how I view various situations and interact with people. There tends to be a lot of separation and judgment today. It is powerful to take a moment to remove our biases or judgments and look at someone as if they were the same as you. Deep down, we all are.
When it comes to this program, I strongly encourage everyone to keep these simple but powerful things in mind. Give yourself grace when learning all of the material and have grace with others who are there to support you. We are all doing our best in this spiritual journey and by recognizing each other as one, we can begin to redefine what it means to truly “live yoga”.
EM: What advice would you give to someone looking to begin their own practice but feels that they don’t fit the “yoga profile.”
Jordyn: The first thing I would recommend is rather than leading with the intellect or mind, tap into how you feel. Instead of thinking about what yoga might or should look like based on what you have seen or heard, imagine what you would like to feel. Oftentimes it is a stronger sense of peace, greater focus, strength, or a deeper, more meaningful connection to oneself. There is no such thing as a “yoga profile” because when you take away the physical elements, everything is the same inside. It is important to keep in mind that your yoga practice is yours and nobody else. A yoga practice can come in all kinds of forms, methods, routines, and rituals. What matters most is what and how you feel once you begin your practice.
EM: Final question, with the recent political and cultural shifts in the world and in wellness have you found yourself analyzing your practice or making adjustments to your teaching style?
Jordyn: In a society that encompasses constant movement, ever-changing stimulation, and dependence on resources outside of our control, we are truly facing the harsh realities of unveiling ourselves in ways we haven’t in a long time. We begin to reassess what it means to exercise our freedoms, live within our liberties, and whether our pursuits of happiness still withstand the tests of global crisis. It is times like these where I turn back to the ancient wisdom of yoga and realize how relevant it all is. Isn’t it true that in a state of chaos, our human instincts cause us to act defensively, and we become hyper-aware of our current environments or situations more than ever? With these eye-opening realizations and perspectives, I have been working to check in with my foundation. My beliefs, methods, and ideas I’ve learned along my path in yoga and who I surround myself with. I believe it is so important to be aware of how you are aligning yourself not only in a physical sense in yoga but with the change happening in the world. My physical practices are much slower lately, and I try to reflect that in my teaching. It is through a strong, unwavering foundation that we can continue to build upon even stronger truths together. As the analysis of our lives and surroundings unfold, our perceptions can shift from illusionary to extraordinary if we truly embrace living in change the way we were always meant to.
Those last two sentences are so resonant with me and also provide such deep challenge and reflection. “It is through a strong, unwavering foundation that we can continue to build upon even stronger truths together. As the analysis of our lives and surroundings unfold, our perceptions can shift from illusionary to extraordinary if we truly embrace living in change the way we were always meant to.” I think that those two sentences are so aspirational and feel like what yoga can and should be. Also, when I think of the collective consciousness, even within the yoga community (specifically when it comes to issues of race, politics, and cultural happenings), I know that foundation(s) are often faulty at best. Those two lines, however, can and should be the goal for our individual practices so that we might all be extraordinary.
Jordyn, thank you for your time and your generosity!