Get Active with Jess Root of Bodhisattva Yoga May 09, 2012 13:59

Jess Root got rocked in 2006 when she began to study under NYC’s authentic and hardcore yogi and Bodhisattva Yoga’s founder, Vivekan. In her Bodhisattva Yoga classes, workshops and retreats, inspiration is drawn from her personal practice, her teachers and the Dharma. She is known for her warmth, encouragement and her ability to communicate her personal tips, tricks and hacks to make life off — and on the mat — a little more laid back and rock star.

Jess has been featured on Discovery Communications’ and, in Budget Travel, MSN, USA Today and E, the Environmental Magazine. She has also presented talks at The Tibet Center and the Rubin Museum of Art, among others.

Describe your life &/or career?
In 2009 I took a leap of faith and made the scariest/best decision I've ever made. I put my high profile eco-journalism career on pause to jump on my dreams; getting certified to instruct yoga and joining up with my then boyfriend to help run his yoga studio. The whole world questioned my big life change but the universe conspired with me to make it happen. I'm now Co-Director of Bodhisattva Yoga in Park Slope, Brooklyn. A typical 'day in the life' looks something like this: meditation, yoga asanas (postures), a ton of studio administration, instructing classes and housekeeping. I'm lucky enough to get to do all of this alongside my yogi-life-partner-in (virtuous)-crime so there's a healthy balance of laughing, loud music, snuggling and fun mixed in when the work gets less than glamorous. Everyday I try to remember how it all could just disappear in a moment's notice. I have so much gratitude, I could pop!

What is your philosophy about your life & lifestyle?
Life's short. Why dream small? We don't know when, how, or why this precious life might be taken. I know reflections on death can sound morbid but for the aspiring yogin, it's quite the opposite. It's a potent way to empower every moment, every breath and make decisions that lend to our happiness. I've wrangled my lifestyle in such a way to increase happiness. There are some things I can't avoid like dishes, paying bills, etc. but if at the end of my day I didn't fit in the things that bring me joy like yogic practices or time outside or fitting in a phone chat with someone I love, I didn't manage my time well. I re-set my plan for the next day.

Describe your style?
I'm pretty intense when it comes to running a tight ship at my yoga studio, great yoga instruction and looking for ways to rock our practitioners' experience at Bodhisattva Yoga-- but other than that I'm pretty laid-back. I've been asked if I'm from California or Portland even though I grew up in Connecticut, I've been criticized for smiling and laughing too much (!), and if didn't run shop in Brooklyn, you'd find me on a beach. I guess I'd describe my style as bohemian-chic. I'm most comfortable barefoot, in a Maxi dress and a cold beer in hand. :)

What are your favorite skin care treatments or beauty products?
I'm low-maintenance when it comes to skin care and have to credit my regular yoga practice. It's become my natural 'blush' as it aids circulation below the skin's surface-- cleansing out impurities and preventing wrinkles. I splash water on my face every morning/night and once a week give my face an exfoliation with a clay powder my best friend gave me for Christmas. The clay is from the US and you just mix in some water or milk to create a cleansing mineral paste. I follow that with an application of Vitamin A & E-infused safflower oil. I mostly go make-up-less but love getting glam once in a while with red lipstick and black eye-liner. I love finding cruelty-free, chemical-free makeup from health food stores.

What are your own skin concerns and what has helped you?
I'm a total sun goddess so I guess I've been concerned about what damage I might have. I'm 28 so fine lines and sun spots haven't shown up (yet). I've been more careful in my twenties to limit sun exposure (sunscreen-free). On beach days, I boost my diet with plenty of Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies, and everyday I take a multi-vitamin.

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed and the first thing you do when you wake up?
Before bed I meditate, drink herbal tea and read Dharma. Once a week I give myself an evening treat of catching up with the latest Grey's Anatomy episode. I'm a total sucker for sexy TV dramas! Upon waking, I drink a large glass of room-temperature water and meditate.

Who or what influenced you to become a yoga practitioner?
A job commute that was wreaking havoc on my lower back -- and the quality of my life -- at the tender age of 22. I wanted to feel young and have fun. When I was introduced to Bodhisattva Yoga before stepping into the Co-Director role,Vivekan got me hooked on practicing and showed me that the yogic path could take me as far as Enlightenment to bring all beings to unparalleled, lasting happiness. That's when I got serious about it.

Do you have any favorite yoga clothing brands?
Nothing particular comes to mind but I think my favorite practice essentials are supportive, comfy sports bras and vintage rock concert t-shirts that I found raiding my mom's closet. They help bring out my inner rock goddess when practicing! Going vintage or thrift is always better for the planet too.

Are you vegetarian or what kind of diet do you follow?
Just to clarify for anyone who might be wondering... no, you don't need to be vegetarian or vegan to practice yoga! This false info has somehow managed to circulate through the yoga world. My diet has evolved -- and continues to evolve -- around what I find helps keep my body feeling best. This is a mostly plant-based diet rich with veggies, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains, olive and avocado oils, planet-healthy lean meats (like organic chicken, turkey, wild-caught sardines and salmon), and organic eggs. Things I love but aren't good for regulating my blood sugar and healthy weight-- like pasta, pizza, breads and sweets have become a once-a-month splurge, in moderation. To satisfy my sweet tooth on a day-to-day basis, my mug of morning coffee with agave and grass-fed milk, and an evening glass of red wine and a square of 70% dark chocolate do the trick. Many days my diet isn't perfect but I never give up and if I stick to this general plan, I no doubt feel and look my best. I also sidestep a lot of headaches, bathroom irregularity and dry skin with regular consumption of room temperature water. 

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