Jessa Buchalter, RYT 200

Background:  My yoga practice began in the womb.  Born on St. John to a dedicated yoga mom, much of my early practice involved climbing trees, playing at the beach and floating in the Caribbean Sea.  Always active, I dabbled in dance, tumbling, sailing, martial arts, horseback riding and soccer.
I rediscovered my passion for yoga in college, enjoying the challenge of Ashtanga Yoga.  My quest for a teacher took me to the Shoshoni Ashram in Colorado where I completed my 200 hour teacher training in the Shambhava School of Hatha Yoga in 2007, and a Yoga for Healing training in 2011.  While teaching in Vail, Colorado, I was blessed to discover the heart centered practice of Anusara Yoga and Universal Principles of Alignment.
When I began teaching, I discovered that my best teachers were my students.  I love the flexibility of yoga and how, after a brief conversation, I can create a class that is tailored to the individual by challenging their weaknesses, playing to their strengths and providing tools that help bring the body, mind and breath into balance.
My first pregnancy in 2009 turned my focus away from the physical challenges of yoga toward an inward breath centered practice.  My experience of empowerment during pregnancy and the birth of my daughter inspired me to study and teach prenatal/postnatal yoga in order to help women stay balanced and connected to their inner strength.  
In 2010, I returned home to St. John with my husband to raise my family and get back in the water.  I teach at Caneel Bay's M'Ocean Studio, and my mother and I share a yoga business, Crystal Blue Yoga, offering classes, workshops and retreats.  My most recent challenge is teaching Radiant Child Yoga with my children and in the schools.

Fitness Focus:  I am a part time yoga instructor and a full time mother of two very active yogis.  My focus for myself and my students is on attaining balance: balance between strength and flexibility, effort and ease, focus and playfulness. In yoga you stretch the muscles while building strength, so the primary effort involves balancing opposing forces.  In order to find freedom, you must define your boundaries.  In order to open to vulnerability, you must access your inner strength. These are physical qualities as well as mental ones.  Our bodies are, in many ways, a reflection of our minds.  Going upside down in a yoga pose, for example, requires not only strength in the shoulders, arms and core, but also trust in your body's ability to hold you up and catch you if you fall.  Mindful movement (asana), mindful breath (pranayama) and a mindful mind (meditation or mantra) are qualities that define a balanced yoga session.  When you are able to bring these qualities into your daily life is when you truly begin to find balance.

Interests and Goals:  Whether I am on my mat or off it, I am always trying to explore my world and learn something new.  I love to sail and spend time on the ocean, cook yummy, nutritious and creative meals for my family, and hike to the beach, enjoying the natural world with my children.  Professionally, I am studying anatomy and therapeutic applications of yoga to better address the individual needs of my students.  I believe that yoga is more than fitness; when practiced mindfully and with a great teacher, it can bring physical and emotional healing.

Lifestyle Philosophy:  Live.  Love.  Laugh.  Your perspective creates your thoughts and your thoughts create everything.  I am open to new ideas, new adventures and new people.  I continue to learn every day from my children, my husband and my students.  I will always be a student of yoga and life itself, excited to share my experiences with those I encounter on this extraordinary journey.

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