Feature Teacher: Jenny Nichols

Have you ever met anyone with a real appetite for life? You know, those people with the glow of eagerness in their eyes, eagerness to love, eagerness to learn, an eagerness to go, see, do, experience. These people are essential to a strong community. The people that are passionate about living and loving, they are the ones that serve to evolve the community and help it to continue to grow. The bright flame burning in their bellies that makes them hungry for knowledge is what inspires the spark in those they come into contact with driving them to do the same.

We are fortunate at Bristol Yoga to have another of our more recent members of the teaching community be this kind of person, the kind with the bright fire in her belly driving her to go, do, see, and learn all things. However, what makes this particular individual so special is more the fire burning in heart that inspires her not only to share all of her wisdom with the community, but to also love each individual so strongly.


This beautiful, bright spirit is Jenny Nichols! Here are a few questions we asked Jenny to help you see why you need to know her!


1. What brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
- I have been practicing consistently since January 2011. I came to yoga to recover from my ultra-marathon trail races (distances over 26.2 miles). I was a member at the Bristol YMCA and utilized the Y to cross train, and noticed yoga was on the schedule. I came to Chelia Hopkins power yoga class and was immediately hooked. I started to venture to Asheville and Boone to several of the yoga studios there to experience all different styles of yoga and learn all I could.  Adriel and Victoria were also two of my first teachers during that time. 


2. Why do you continue to practice yoga?
- First and foremost, I'm always a student. Yoga is SO HUGE. That was the awesome gift of my teacher training, having the realization I was just now starting my journey and there is SO much to learn. I'm so excited about that! Also my personal practice is incredibly important to me - I feel it keeps me grounded and anchored. I feel taking classes for myself and practicing yoga at home daily is the "Windex" for my perception, it keeps my thinking clear and unclouded. 


3. What inspires you to teach yoga?  
- I love how happy doing yoga makes me feel, and I derive much fulfillment and happiness sharing that gift with others. 


4. When you are not teaching, what are you doing?  
- Raising two boys, I own a handmade jewelry and accessories business http//:www.mountainprimadonna.com, race direct a couple of charity road races in the tri-cities, and I love to trail run in the mountains. I have a blog about my running adventures http://jendenichols.blogspot.com


5. What inspired mountain Primadonna and what continues to inspire your artwork?  
- Mountain Primadonna is inspired by that duality that I feel every woman possesses: strong, adventurous, and tough as nails; whether it's taking care of a family (which is not for the faint of heart and an endurance event in its own rite), getting dirty/muddy running trails, sleeping under the stars while camping or finding fulfillment working in the dirt growing a garden, while also embodying the softer, divine feminine side. I feel every girl possesses that dualism.
I gain inspiration for my art from my yoga practice, spending time in nature, the kind people I meet every day, and the lessons I learn. I think many times my art is reflective of where I am in life and what is in my head that particular day I make jewelry.


6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
- I would go to Nepal and trek amongst the 8000m peaks in the area. I am just drawn to them, and would love to experience the culture, visit some temples and have great adventures on top of the world. 


7. What are 5 things you cannot live without?
- 1. Coconut oil ( hey, i'm a yoga teacher! I have to say that! But seriously it has so many awesome uses) 2. My Manduka Eko-lite mat, 3. My running shoes 4. Ways to creatively express myself 5. Books


8. What is your spirit animal?
- The bear.  They are such beautiful strong and LOVING creatures. (Think BEAR HUG! :)) My brother Todd passed away in 2007 in a mining accident and he loved bears. When I run in the mountains near Damascus, spring, summer, and fall I see black bears and have never had a negative experience (they always run away). I'm never fearful at all because I feel it’s my sign that my brother's spirit watches over me and protects me. Honestly, when I see a bear my heart swells and I feel happy because it reminds me of Todd. He was an amazing person. 


9. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your practice?
- Gratitude for impermanence. Life is constantly in flux. I used to really HATE that life would up and change on me, and it caused me so much suffering. Now, I'm thankful for getting to ride the ride, thankful for ALL it's experiences, lessons and teachers. This journey of life is such an amazing gift. I find myself now excited to wake up and see what each day brings, even if it's hard times. You can always choose to find the good and keep moving forward because things are constantly changing, THAT’S SUCH A WONDERFUL GIFT.  


10. What do you want your students to know?
- 1. Love yourself 2. "It's yoga PRACTICE, not yoga perfect." Just showing up – wow, THAT’S DOING THE WORK! That's all we need to do, just the best we can each day with what we have to give that particular day 3. Take your yoga off the mat, and share it with others.


This momma is just the bear hug you need anytime the weight of life starts to get a little heavy. If you find yourself lacking the spark you need to finish out your week, come see Jenny in the classroom on Thursday nights for Power Vinyasa at 5:45 PM and get your fire blazing!


Feature Teacher presented by Marcy Hullander