Getting to connect and share with so many amazing women from around the world is such a joy in this day and age. Cultivating collaboration and honesty is something that brings people together and we are so blessed to get to do so every Wednesday as part of the Goddess Rising series, and this week, Jade Alectra joined our series to share with us!
Jade Alectra is 28 years old and was born on October 1st 1987 in the middle of the Whittier Earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 and has been making waves ever since. With a background of basketball and pole vaulting, Jade was taught by coaches to work the body until failure or she wasn't actually working. Jade carried this into her relationships and workouts after the sports stopped and was not able to listen to her body when her knee dislocated. A year of depression and overeating and 35 pounds later, forced her to find a way to save herself. Yoga found her right at the moment of giving up and she has continued down its beautiful path for the past 4 years, leading her accidentally to Teacher Training. She now teaches at Equinox, as well as privately and her passion lies in leading yoga retreats to Mexico and Kauai. She is excited for her next retreat this August 1-5th which she is co-teaching with Stephanie Birch.
Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?
Jade Alectra: When I give Savasana adjustments, I get 'messages' for some of the people that I work on. One lady I was drawn to give a adjustment to and her whole face tensed up and she seemed to be very uncomfortable and in pain. I kept going regardless. I left her while her face was still twisted and contorted in pain and finished the other students adjustments. After class I asked to speak to her and I asked what she felt while I was working on her. She said that she felt all of her pain building up into wherever my hands were, and when I finally left her, she said she "felt the smile come back over her face." We both cried. I was in Kauai on my last yoga retreat 7 months ago, and I was adjusting a beautiful girl whose mother had committed suicide 2 years before, and on this particular morning, it was cloudy at sunrise for the one and only time. The other mornings it was bright and sunny. At the moment that I pressed my hands onto her shoulders, the sun suddenly pierced through the clouds and fell across her face. I heard almost a whisper and repeated the line instantly to her "The sun is your mom." Its a very odd thing but when the words climb into my throat I have to give them to whoever they are for without letting my own judgements or thoughts get in the way. Just simply gifting them as they come. I don't quite understand it but I am beginning to trust it more and more and trust myself more and more and it magnifies in intensity.
PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.
Jade: It took me a very long time (sometimes I am still remembering) to understand that the heart was not meant to resemble this perfectly intact formation. It was meant to be broken into a thousand tiny cracks that represented the times that we felt the most. That we were most alive. If you focus too closely on each individual piece, it just looks like a shattered mess, but the further back you pull and gain perspective over sight, the more you realize what you are is this beautiful mosaic of loving and heartbreaking. I suffered a very devastating and surprising break up this past June, and I will never forget a moment when my belly and cheek was crumpled on the wooden floor of my room and I was sobbing. Someone commented on my post on instagram that "Pain brings you to the present moment like nothing else." And I realized right then and there that I had never felt more alive than that moment when I was completely broken wide open. This is the very basis of every yoga class I teach and every interaction I share with another, as well as and most importantly beginning with myself. I want people and myself firstly, to keep stripping down the layers we have pressed against our skins comprised of the words and opinions of others and our reactions to these thoughts. My mind also went through a crazy change through this break up because it was the first time I sobbed and didn't wipe the tears or hide them. I remember crying to the server at Coco's and just letting the tears gush down my face and never once wiped them. We are here to feel and breathe and love and leave and just experience it all. So I try to bring my most authentic self whether thats a Jade that is standing tall, or a Jade that keeps a hand pressed against her heart to keep it together, and allow people to see me grow though what I go through. To know that we are never alone no matter how much our minds try and convince us of it. To always seek the truth in every moment, no matter how it makes us feel. As Caroline Myss says, "We thrive in truth," and I have out this to the absolute test over the past 3 years and it is life changingly true.
PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?
Jade: My worst habit is the way I love what ever decides to notice me first. I am often times catching myself feeling so pathetically wanting love. This year of my life is the first time I am finally taking the hard path back to myself. It feels like I am unraveling 28 years of bad behaviors of loving men that were unavailable emotionally, or were not loving to me. I realized that I am craving a love that is in my very own palms, I just keep handing it out to others before taking care of myself. Its like holding water while you are trying to find people to drink yours all the while being severely dehydrated and legitimately feeling confusion of why you feel sick when you are giving out water. It has to start with you. I am getting a tattoo that says, 'I am mine. Before I am every anyone else's.' I want to feel those words get etched into my skin so that I may never forget myself again. It is a tough thing to correct a pattern that is decades old but it is the most romantic thing I've ever felt; falling in love with myself. For both the flaws and the perfect stitches that make up who and what I am. I also read a ton of amazing authors, and I carry a journal with me always. I speak the truth, even if my voice shakes. Even if it is silently admitted only in my journal. The words need to come out somehow.
PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?
Jade: The first step to recognizing your power is to lighten your load of all the bullshit that isn't who you are. That takes the form of people and family and things, possessions you've had for years, and sometimes 'best' friends. I have a simple rule that dictates if you are going to be and stay in my life or not: Does it shrink you or expand you? If your lover or best friend is in any way holding you back, you are not walking your authentic path. Because the soul of who you are knows truly what is real and what is not and this costs you dearly to keep up this facade from yourself when you know deep down the simple truth. They are no longer compatible with your path. Let go of any of the things you cling to if they are weighing you down. Start to step more surely into who you are and banish those that no longer understand you out from your present. One of my favorite pieces by Jeanette Leblanc says "And that, my dear, is bound to make some people crazy uncomfortable. It will make them pull back and push away. Because the way you dance with your shadows and your steadfast commitment to your light will push them into spaces that are fascinating and compelling and utterly terrifying." This piece is about the 'Too Much girl' and how we need the ones that feel 'too much'. I have felt like an alien for so many years because I love so intensely and it has been liberating to throw away the desire to be understood by everyone. I am not meant to be easy. To be understood at first glance. I am layers and waves and all kinds of colors and lights and darks. And I am taking my time to understand myself while I am single and at the most concentrated dose of myself, and I urge other goddess and babes and warriors to explore themselves alone. To know truly who they are through the beauty AND the pain but not to make it a hitching post. To feel the weather but not get stuck in it by choice and convince yourself its romantic to feel so broken. This is not your one story; your one identity. Do not concentrate on a piece and convince yourself it is the whole.
PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?
My spiritual practice actually starts with not answering text messages when I dont want to. It pisses quite a bit of people off but it keeps me feeling like I belong to myself, and that I run on my own time. I respect my energy. I voice memo my amazing sister and friend Stephanie Birch (@StephyNow) about all of the classes I teach and we discuss life and love and all of the darks and lights and whatever we are going through we share with the other and its such an empowering friendship like no other I have ever experienced. I feel like I am supposed to be a good 'yogi' and respond with meditation or breath work or even flowing alone, but at the moment that is not where I am focusing my inwardness. It happens in the food I choose to eat which includes pizza of course, and the drives I take late into the night where I drive a loop and sometimes through an intense canyon in the hills behind my house. It can be going to my favorite beach and just losing myself in being alone with the waves. I am at a very non-traditional place in my life at the moment.
PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?
Jade: This is the first time I am writing these words publicly and they are not easy to say. Even this sentence and the one before it are my stalling to not have to write them publicly but I am here to be real so here goes nothing. When I turned 25, I had a world of hope inside of me. I felt like I had finally 'found myself' and felt very strong for the first time in my entire life. This year ended up being the hardest of my life as I had the shit beat out of me one night while leaving a club because I was trying to leave and some guy started asking me in very lewd ways to hook up with him. I had never seen him in my life and he was being insanely aggressive. I tried to leave and it turned into a full on brawl in which I was ripped to the ground by my hair and soccer kicked as hard as they could as well as stepped on, on my head and back. I was down there for so long getting completely mauled that I had time to think about the fact that I was probably going to die this way because there was no one there to help me. No one to make it stop, and I could barely cover my face. I have nerve damage on my lower back and can't feel too much in that area, as if I need a physical reminder of that attack. Later that same year, I was raped. It was the year of my body being trespassed and invaded. I am still working to recover her. She is strong and soft but hurt and sometimes confused at the why. But as Caroline Myss says, to ask why me is to give up your power because that question has no real answer, and definitely none that will take the pain away just by hearing it. For a while I would flirt with the brief thought of not wanting to be here anymore. But I fought for myself and I am here today standing taller and running my fingers over my scars with fondness and love because I have been able to relate to so many more people because I had the courage to feel myself in such an honest way. I hope people see a little bit of themselves in both my darkness and lights and have the courage to pursue their own truths.
PYS: Who inspires you?
Jade: Stephanie Birch is my every day inspiration, and love but you have thankfully already interview her so I would say her teacher Diana Vitantonio, who is now my teacher as well. She's a woman who knows the true beauty of her soul and is so much love to be felt.