Long-Form Wellness Interview Series with Yoga Instructor Jen Mons.
Actionable insights and practical advice for your life, health, and business.
In this interview:
- Holistic health is more than just the food we eat
- The power of breath work and breathing techniques
- Subconscious ego patterns—what they are and how can sabotage your life
- Harnessing our intuition and understanding different energy sources
- Fear as a catalyst. Understanding it and leaning into fear to affect positive life change
- Shadow work and the obstacle as the way
- 2020 business challenges
Jen Mons, ACC, CHHC, RYT is an Intuitive Healer, Holistic Health & Life Coach, Licensed Spiritual Healer, Teacher, Coach Trainer, and Mentor. A former Professional Mechanical Engineer, Federal Service Academy Graduate, USN reservist, and USCG licensed merchant marine officer, Jen uses her varied life experiences and her own health story to help others down a path towards holistic healing. She combines training in holistic wellness, detoxification, spiritual healing, personal growth coaching, somatic breath work, fitness, yoga, and meditation to serve her clients’ needs.
Jen also coaches, mentors, and educates executive teams, healers, coaches, leaders, and consciously driven entrepreneurs seeking natural balanced health, more energy, self-confidence, and fulfillment in their life. She blends functional medicine health coaching, spiritual life coaching, meditation, mindfulness, and somatic breath to reprogram subconscious limiting beliefs and ego patterns that keep us stuck in fear or in disease.
Jen resides in Southeast Florida. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, dance, travel, and spending time on the ocean with her husband and two daughters surfing, windsurfing, sailing and boating.
Jen’s wellness journey: How a life-threatening health crisis led to a thriving nutrition and coaching business.
Anthony Mandela (AM): Welcome, Jen! It’s very exciting to have you join me virtually today to share your story. Let’s start off with how you got your start in the wellness space.
Jen Mons (JM): Certainly. My former career was in the corporate world; I have an engineering degree and worked in an office for about 8 years until I became a mother and had a near death experience with the birth of my first daughter. My life radically changed. I experienced something called pregnancy induced liver failure and was in the hospital for over a month. I took a year off work which gave me a chance to really think about whether or not I was really living the life I wanted to live.
As a result of this health crisis, my daughter and I struggled with significant health challenges for an entire year. I was at a breaking point where nothing traditional was working for her or me. At this turning point, I decided to focus 100% of my efforts on eating well and taking care of myself instead of just taking more and more medications and seeing more doctors. During this time, my three-year-old daughter was on six different prescription drugs. Once we made the shift to nutrition and herbal medicine, amazingly, within the first six weeks (and validated by testing), we were able to begin weaning her off all the medications. Miracles started to happen. Because of the transformational results we experienced, I thought other people needed to know about this, so I decided to study integrative nutrition and became a health coach.
“Health is more than just the food we eat: it’s our thoughts; it’s our connection to grace; it’s our relationships. It is how we take care of our bodies in many different ways…”
Throughout my practice I have specialized in detoxification, cleansing the body through healthy eating and functional medicine. I had a health coaching practice for about eight years and at the peak of eating clean, I had a second health crisis. At the time, all my belief system was in the power of food and this second crisis showed me health is more than just the food we eat: it’s our thoughts; it’s our connection to grace; it’s our relationships. This was the crisis that led me to yoga and meditation. I began to understand true holistic health is how we take care of our bodies in many different ways. I have been my own teacher through experience, and along the way I’ve had many mentors and healers and people support me through my own personal healing journey. This eventually morphed into the thing I began to teach.
AM: For people who may not know, what is integrative nutrition? Could you talk a little bit more about what that looks like, what it means?
JM: I love that question because people often think of nutrition information coming from a nutritionist or dietician. Although I have had support from both, it did not give me everything I needed. There are so many different aspects to nutrition—no single diet works for everybody. There is an energy to nutrition more in line with the principles of Ayurveda; we each have a unique constitution that responds to energy in different ways and there are epigenetics and gene expression that come into play as well. It’s also important to understand that it is our relationship to our self, our body, and food that helps us to create the healthy habits we need.
Integrative nutrition takes a whole body approach and is an invitation to practice listening to the body. It’s eating in a way that fuels your body and understanding which foods take energy away. For example, if you are eating a sandwich for lunch every day and you notice you get sleepy afterwards, maybe there is a reaction to gluten in the bread or nitrates in the meat going on. This is different for everybody. The trick is most people do not know what it means to feel good until they do. It is easy to get used to a baseline feeling of tiredness, or believe you have arthritis or seasonal allergies, when it may be the body fighting an internal battle because of over consumption of foods that cause inflammation. If you are already inflamed, you will be more sensitive to seasonal allergies or skin disorders.
Integrative wellness looks at nutrition based on a person’s bio individuality—their specific body makeup and genetics. This is what I studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition over 10 years ago. It is critical to look at the emotional relationship with food in tandem with the functional aspect of food. A much broader awareness of our connection to food can help us to feel energized and thrive for our specific body type and lifestyle.
AM: You mentioned “listening to your body.” Are there any practical first steps—maybe for someone who has never done this before—to be aware of so we can get better at listening to our bodies?
Everything begins with breath work. When we fully drop into the body through the present moment, through the breath, we can learn so much.
JM: Everything begins with breath work, and it only takes a matter of seconds to begin. Close your eyes and allow yourself to take a deep breath from the belly—many of us breathe shallow from the chest—and fully receive as you breathe in. Then drop fully into the body as you exhale. In that process you might notice thoughts that come up and then it becomes the practice of observing the thoughts. When we fully drop into the body through the present moment, through the breath, we can learn so much. I love the four-count breath: inhale for four seconds, hold for four, exhale for four seconds, and hold for four more. Nutrition and yoga are both gateways to help people drop more into their bodies and be less caught up in their thoughts.
AM: You spoke briefly about teachers/mentors you have had along the way that have impacted your life and journey. Is there a mentor you look to for inspiration in your life?
JM: I’ve had many mentors and healers on my journey who have helped me get to where I am today. One of my most amazing mentors was Britta Eskey who, along with her husband, are the founders of an organization called COR. I stumbled upon one of their transformational workshops in 2016 when I was struggling after our house was hit by a hurricane and my brother-in-law had just passed away. It was a very difficult year, and I was looking for an escape—a retreat to help get me out of the funk I was in.
Britta’s organization offers a variety of COR Workshops and I attended one for women. I thought it would be a yoga retreat, but it turned out to be a transformational retreat that cracked my heart wide open. After the retreat, I invested in their leadership facilitation program for a whole year and spent the year with her by my side as a mentor. It was one of the greatest transformations I have ever experienced, and I love the work she does. Deep, transformational healing. Her guidance allowed me to heal my relationship with my fears and my body. I can’t recommend her highly enough!
Divine healing; leaning in to discomfort; fear as a catalyst for change; layers of wellness; ego-patterns
AM: Let’s dive a little deeper into your yoga background and training. Could you tell us more about that? Perhaps you could also talk about your favorite types of classes to teach.
JM: I did my yoga teacher training in Nicaragua through Radiant Life Yoga—it was a beautiful, divine synchronicity in my life. I had already decided to home school my children and travel that year and the opportunity came up in 2015 to completely immerse ourselves into the culture of Nicaragua. I’m a big fan of yoga teacher training (YTT) as a full immersion because it allows me to be fully present. When I went through the YTT there were 3 things I knew I already loved and wanted to focus on: alignment (so I could have a sustainable yoga practice); energy (chakras); and “bliss” style yoga. For my personality, allowing myself to come into the moment, feel the pose, and not worry about external validation or what the pose might look like to others was where I had my most joyful moments of connecting with my body.
“Our yoga practice reflects what is happening in our daily life; this is another beautiful gift we receive from yoga—if we lean into the parts of our body that are feeling tight, we can notice if we are holding in emotion in those areas. Or perhaps a judgement or something else may come to the surface…”
Typically, my favorite classes to teach are with people who are unsure about yoga. I invite students into a space where they can let go of expectations of what a pose is “supposed” to look like and focus more on feeling and acknowledging what their body needs today. Our yoga practice reflects what is happening in our daily life; this is another beautiful gift we receive from yoga—if we lean into the parts of our body that are feeling tight, we can notice if we are holding in emotion in those areas. Or perhaps a judgement or something else may come to the surface.
AM: You offer a session called divine healing which appears to be a combination of coaching and healing. Could talk more about what this type of session looks like?
JM: I love to balance coaching with healing. I’ve had so many wonderful healers that helped me when I was in a health crisis. Teachers who helped me to learn and grow in my own personal journey. I noticed I would feel wonderful after the sessions, but I wanted more of a way to feel empowered in my own body. With my coaching, I teach people they are the expert of their own bodies.
There is a healer within our self we can tap into through our own intuition. Sometimes we need support, but it is also possible to easily give our power away by just having somebody else do all the healing work for us. I blend both approaches into a divine healing session. I was trained through the Center of Conscious Ascension in the United Kingdom and this education deepened my awareness around the energy body. Divine healing is a reprogramming of subconscious ego patterns.
There are many layers to health and wellness. Let’s start with the physical body—we can heal the physical body through movement, nutrition, and choosing things we love to do. Underneath that layer there is usually a relationship through emotional empowerment that we might be invited to lean into. In other words: you can eat as healthy as you want, but if you have unhealthy emotional relationships in your life, you might not feel well. After that, the next layer of healing is the energy body. This is stuff we can’t see; it’s not tangible, but it is an invitation to understand that we have subconscious programs that are running underneath the surface. These subconscious programs are called ego patterns.
Ego patterns are the deeper level things that merit exploring if we are eating healthy and have healthy relationships, but still feel unwell. There may be subconscious fears and/or negative beliefs or patterns that show up. My divine healing sessions are designed to give people an understanding of the things they are not consciously aware of. There is a great book called Waking the Tiger with Dr. Peter Levine that helped me to understand the subconscious cellular memory that we hold onto when we have had traumatic experiences. This session is an effective way to navigate the trauma we might be holding on to in our cellular/physical body and in the subconscious body that we are not aware of. The coaching aspect helps my clients come into awareness and put words to what they are noticing and feeling. It is a release with guidance on how to create aligned an action plan to move forward.
AM: It sounds like awareness, acknowledgement, and forward planning are key components of this type of session. I can see how something like this would be a very effective way to eliminate destructive behavior patterns from your life.
“Often the way our relationship is with one thing shows up again and again in our relationship with other things in our life…”
JM: Yes. Often the way our relationship is with one thing shows up again and again in our relationship with other things in our life. There is usually one place in our life that is speaking louder than the other places. You might have a breakdown in your health, or your marriage, or your career, or finances. Or maybe it’s not a breakdown but a feeling of unfulfillment. These feelings reflect our relationship with ourselves. For example, if I have a subconscious belief or fear of abandonment, or rejection, or unworthiness (the top three most common ones I see), then I might also self-sabotage in my eating behavior, or my relationships with partners, or my relationship with money. You can see how the patterns show up in different ways in our life depending on what our subconscious mind is working through.
The embodied healing self; intuition; energy sources; myth-busting
AM: This makes me think about the ideas and themes you explore on your website Jenmons.com. You are a podcast host and I’m wondering if you can tell us more about that project. What topics do you like to explore and who are some of the different guests you speak with?
JM: My podcast is called the Embodied Healing Self and it launched in 2019. The initial intention was to give people several offerings and pathways to the different avenues of healing. I first began talking about nutrition and well-being and the show morphed into more of a holistic self-help platform that encompasses all of the things we have talked about so far: nutrition in the body, the energy body, the emotional body, our relationship with fear, abundance, and shadow work. I teach people how to awaken their body wisdom and to listen and trust the body. The body is the soul’s reason to be here.
Another goal of the podcast is to deepen connection with our intuition. There are many types of intuition. Side note: A lot of people think of intuition as a nebulous thing that is kind of “woo-woo” but it is actually something that is backed up by a lot of research. I love to remind people to connect with the body and get out of their thoughts and beliefs. When we get rid of all the junk, we get clear on our life purpose. To be who we really are and, importantly, to choose what that looks from a place that is in alignment with our values. I like to call this the soul’s wisdom. There are many gateways to achieve this: yoga, nutrition, relationships, and your career are a few. Ask yourself: What is your purpose to do, share, and teach in the world?
AM: Maybe there is no clear-cut answer to this, but how would you describe intuition to someone who does not have your professional background? Is it just a gut feeling that someone occasionally has? How can we recognize and better understand intuition?
“Intuition shows us how connected we all are. The more presence and stillness we have within ourselves, the more aware we become of the energy around us…”
JM: A lot of times we hear about intuition as a gut feeling or detective’s hunch or Deja-vu. Lots of different words are thrown around out there. Simply put, intuition shows us how connected we all are. The more presence and stillness we have within ourselves, the more aware we become of the energy around us. There are two types of energy—local and non-local—and intuition is receiving that energy and noticing patterns and synchronicities. Everybody has intuition, but the people who have really leaned into an awareness of how intuition shows up in their life, and practice stillness and presence through breath work, trust themselves more and are more open to receiving the energy that is coming in and guiding them.
I’d like to emphasize a couple things about energy and how energy manifests itself to us in a number of different ways. Clairsentient is when you hear someone say something and you get that tightness or tense feeling internally. Clairaudience is hearing the voice of someone else telling you something. Clairvoyance is similar to dreaming—closing your eyes and visualizing something in the future. And Claircognizance is when you just know the answer to something, but don’t know why. There are also other types of energy that can come up through your taste or smell that trigger memories, but these are a little less common than the other ways I mentioned. These are the types of intuition we all experience, and the important thing is learning how to become more aware of them.
AM: Thanks for breaking that down so precisely. Do you have a personal example of how you have been able to use intuition to make better decisions in your life and to feel more confident in those decisions?
JM: Last year I was planning to enter a business partnership with a good friend. I adored this friend; we were close and happened to be growing our businesses side by side. We both loved to teach intuition and we traveled and learned together frequently. One day she asked me to step into a business partnership with her. This was an exciting idea for me to consider; however, every time we would meet about the business, I would literally get a migraine. I returned home after our visits and wondered why I was getting these migraines, especially because I don’t get migraines often. This person was my friend, I was following my heart and really wanted to share in this opportunity with her, but my body wisdom was telling me something different.
Because of this awareness, I started digging deeper and realized that, because of a core wound I have around rejection from women, my friend and I were not in alignment and had different values in this instance. I did not want to acknowledge it initially because of my fear of rejection. But I understood that what I am here to teach is different from what she is here to teach. After this realization, things began to unravel and the business partnership broke up. This was a recent reminder for me—an example of how intuitively I knew something wasn’t feeling good for months and my body was trying to tell me.
AM: What a fantastic example. Before moving away from the topic of your podcast, are there any episodes or special guest speakers you would recommend for someone to start with?
JM: I’ve had a lot of amazing guests on. One of my favorites is with Kate Northrop who wrote an excellent book, Do Less. It is a book about inviting women to show up in the world more in alignment with themselves in a feminine, cyclical flow instead of the hustle, ultra-structured culture of pretty much the entire U.S. Another favorite is Josh Trent, the host of Wellness Force, which is my favorite podcast. The topic of our conversation was centered on how everything begins with breath. These are episodes 51 and 52, I believe, and are great ones for anyone new visiting my site to begin with.
AM: Are there any myths in the wellness, yoga, nutrition, or divine healing space that you would like to identify for the record and debunk?
JM: One that comes immediately to mind is that there are only two extremes: either something is purely physical and tangible—i.e. yoga is just a workout and it matters what your poses look like—or everything is super spiritual, intangible, and people can’t really relate to it. But I would say so many things in life, including yoga, are a combination of the physical and spiritual. It’s not a mutually exclusive only one thing or only the other. It can be all of the above. The important thing is learning how to live and thrive in the world today with the ancient teachings of the wisdom that has evolved over the last couple hundred years. This looks different for everyone based on what you are here to learn, embody, and express as a human.
AM: Is there anything specifically related to yoga—maybe something you’ve noticed when teaching your classes—that is worth a mention?
“Yoga is an incredibly inclusive practice that welcomes all people, no matter the background. It is an invitation for you to show up and be present, to focus on your breath, and to connect with your body.”
JM: Well, I have had people tell me they can’t go to a yoga class because it is spiritual/mystical, and they are a different religion. Although yoga can be a spiritual experience for many, I would like to debunk the myth that yoga is a religion and emphasize that it is an incredibly inclusive practice that welcomes all people, no matter the background. Yoga is an invitation for you to show up and be present, to focus on your breath, and to connect with your body.
AM: What would you recommend as a practical tip or piece of advice for someone new to yoga?
JM: I have to bring it back to the breath. Whenever we are in our minds and are worried about what we look like or what others are thinking about us, remember the breath brings us back to the present moment. It is important to keep practicing breath work. I have been doing yoga for 14 years and teaching for 6 and I still must remind myself to come back to the breath. It is a wonderful gateway for practicing presence.
Connecting to the body; stepping into “flow”; living in cycles; inner work = outer results; shadow work
AM: What do you most enjoy about teaching?
JM: I love sharing the connection to the body and teaching how nourishment is a practice of self-love. When we love ourselves, we commit to movement and more easily nourish ourselves with healthy foods. Every class is an opportunity for me to teach life lessons through a yoga practice and to encourage people to just try. To attempt something new. To surrender to the present moment and lean into the body. This is one of the greatest gifts yoga gives us.
AM: If you had the opportunity to teach an upcoming class or workshop, is there anything you feel especially passionate about offering to the world right now? What topic or theme would you choose?
JM: The space I am in right now is teaching the wisdom of the divine feminine; there is an energy and flow to the feminine and it is something that is present and applicable to both female and male. It is like the yin and the yang, the expansion and contraction. Everything lives in balance and I especially love teaching the wisdom of the feminine as it relates to any relationship—to step into flow and out of the structure, the hustle. It is a form of energy management and connection with the body: noticing the times when you feel the most creative and aligned and the times when you are feeling exhausted or just doing busywork to distract yourself.
“When we open ourselves physically through the practice of yoga it allows us to open emotionally as well…”
In my workshop, I would combine teaching on balance with a learning session on the energy systems and chakras. How to understand the energy body (physical, spiritual, emotional) and how the energies in the chakras relate to the decisions we make in our life. When we open ourselves physically through the practice of yoga it allows us to open emotionally as well.
AM: You mentioned “stepping into flow.” If someone is looking to step into their flow more often, is there anything you could identify as especially important to consider or acknowledge?
JM: I’ve said this in a variety of ways during our conversation, but I want to say it again because I believe it is so important: Lean into the body wisdom and breath. It is critical to slow down enough to notice if you are resisting something; if you are resisting something, does it mean it is not right, or is it an invitation to lean in and heal something?
Energy management and living in cycles is something else I want to mention. Personally, I run my life and business in sync with the moon cycles which are in alignment with the feminine energy. But the most important principle is learning to be present and live within your natural cycles. Understand that life is a balance—there is a time for rest and a time for work. If you have a deadline and you are not meeting it because the only time you have creative flow is in the evening, then you need to change something. What I am talking about here is noticing our energy levels and shifting our schedules around in order to live in alignment with our natural state of energy.
AM: Do you have an example of how you tie in the productivity of your life (or business) with the moon cycle or with other cycles found in nature?
JM: I color coordinate my annual calendar based on the seasons—the things I offer throughout the year are in alignment with the seasons. For example, I do an intuitive cleanse/detox once a year, and I do it in March. I don’t think it is healthy to do a cleanse in the winter because winter is very much a time of revitalizing and nourishing. December is a very quiet month for me, in fact I do not even go on social media because the end of November through December is my “creative download” time. This is when I am creating new programs, new content, because this is my hibernation phase.
March is the season of new beginning, so I typically share new things starting from the end of January, slowly becoming more active and open. I sync my professional and personal calendar with the seasons to give myself permission to rest. I’ve had a lot of success with this approach; I’m more abundant, financially and with clients, when I work fewer but more efficient hours.
AM: Since we are on the topic of your business, what are some of the things you most enjoy about running your own business?
“If we can understand our fear and use that energy, it can become the catalyst for powerful change. While we may not be able to eliminate fear’s energy, we can transmute it and make it work for us…”
JM: My coaching practice primarily serves women and I love witnessing women in their vulnerability stepping into and owning their gifts. The thing so many fear most is the invitation to lean in to discomfort. Consider for a moment what fear keeps us from doing in our lives. If we can understand our fear and use that energy, it can become the catalyst for powerful change. While we may not be able to eliminate fear’s energy, we can transmute it and make it work for us.
As a teacher and coach, I love being able to hold a space for women to support one another and realize they are not alone—to allow themselves to be seen in the uncomfortable: the shame, the guilt, the unworthiness. These wounds run deep, and I love helping people break free and step into freedom. Freedom of judgement; freedom from expectation; freedom of choice; freedom with money. A feeling of liberation and trust of showing up in joy and authenticity. These are some of the aspects of my business I enjoy most.
AM: How about a challenge you have faced or are facing as an entrepreneur and small business owner? Could you also share any insights into how you overcame (or are overcoming) that challenge?
JM: The challenge I have at the moment is with social media. It is a bittersweet relationship. My business, up until recently, has been completely word of mouth. I work with women all over the world and somehow have never paid a dime in marketing. I’m working on seeing these social media platforms as a gateway to share my message with more people, instead of something that takes me out of the present moment.
I’m realizing social media is a platform for me to speak my truth and that it can be a powerful tool for me to spread the word about my services, especially for the online school I am launching soon. But it is also uncomfortable to share more openly on a public platform—so, that is the challenge I am dealing with right now; do I want to do this, and, if so, what will it look like.
AM: Is there any advice you would share with someone in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey?
“The most important thing to remember is that the inner work creates the outer results…”
JM: I think the most important thing to remember is that the inner work creates the outer results. In order for you to be clear about what you want to do and what you are here to do, you need to be willing to nourish and accept yourself. If you don’t do the inner work, you will very likely experience burnout or become overwhelmed. Fill up your cup first with nourishing food, movement, breath work, and healthy relationships. A lot of people want to skip these basics and go straight to the making money part. But it doesn’t work like that. Finally, you have to be in alignment with your truth and value system—alignment over hustle. You must honor your body and take care of yourself so that you can be sustainable.
AM: Are there any projects in the pipeline that you are especially excited about right now?
JM: Yes! Back In 2016 I had an idea to create a school for healers and coaches and, after a lot of slow and steady progress, I began training and certifying intuitive coaches last year. This year in June (on the summer solstice), I will be launching my first life coaching and energy healing certification course. As part of this certification, I created a business alchemy course through the seven chakras. The whole business course was created in alignment with the energy of the chakras. I invite people to sink into the root chakra, to create the structure and foundation, and then build all the way up through the chakras to help people learn and understand how to create a successful online business. I have been running an online business for a long time and have a lot of systems and structures in place that I’d like to share and help people.
One of the things I have learned is that there are a lot of business coaches out there who are not really coaches, they are influencers. They don’t have coaching skills, they don’t have core competency skills, and they don’t have ethical standards to know how to ask the right questions to help people grow. I think this is dangerous. While these “coaches” may share what worked for them, they don’t help you navigate your fears and blocks. You are the foundation for your successful, sustainable business and I first teach people how to do the inner work required to create the outer results and express your gifts through your business.
“We spend much of this lifetime trying to get back to the energy we came into this world with. To get there, we have to do a lot of undoing. We need to let go of unhealthy patterns and behaviors in order to come back to the truth, the energy frequency we were born into…”
Our soul came into this world with an energetic imprint, an energy signature. As we go through life, we have experiences or exposures to different things—trauma, nutrition deficiency, disease, exposure to toxins—that interfere with our natural, high-vibrating energy state. We spend much of this lifetime trying to get back to the energy we came into this world with. To get there, we have to do a lot of undoing. We need to let go of unhealthy patterns and behaviors in order to come back to the truth, the energy frequency we were born into. We want to become aware of our unique energy signature to harness it and live in alignment with it. This looks different for everybody. What you are here to share with people looks different from what I am here to share. Once we uncover this, we step into the energy of abundance and prosperity rather than scarcity and fear. We realize we are here to be of service by sharing what we came here to learn and teach.
There is a gap in the coaching industry right now where people are chasing after the tangible, they hear the words, “create your six-figure business,” or something similar. The truth is you will never be able to do something like that until you do the inner work. If you don’t think you are worthy, then success is not going to happen. In order to achieve success, whatever that looks like for you, you must first get clear on what your values are, and then be willing to do the shadow work. At some point you will be confronted with your limiting beliefs, your core wounds, and you will need to understand how to navigate these things—to use them to help you on your journey rather than hold you back.
AM: You mentioned the term “shadow work” a couple times. What is that?
JM: A person’s “shadow” is the part of a person that we ignore, the part we don’t like. Shadow work requires the willingness to be vulnerable and acknowledge the parts we don’t like. Whatever low vibrating energy that may be. It can be guilt, shame, or other negative emotions that manifest in so many different ways, depending on our backgrounds and experiences.
“Shadow work requires the willingness to understand that the obstacle is the way, the willingness to lean into your fear. People who do this are the ones who create shifts in the world…”
For example, some may experience feelings of guilt or shame through prior experiences of addiction, or parenting, etc. The experiences may be different, but the feelings are usually the same. Shadow work requires the willingness to understand that the obstacle is the way, the willingness to lean into your fear. People who do this are the ones who create shifts in the world. There are many out there teaching and coaching who don’t embody what they are here to teach and coach because they would rather avoid the thing that makes them uncomfortable. I believe that when you are willing to fully and wholly own yourself, without judgement, you become empowered—no one else can illuminate this for you. It takes courage to do this. Shadow work teaches us to notice the negative patterns in our life, what we feel like when we show up from an unhealthy place.
AM: Reflecting back on your life and career, can you identify an investment of time, money, or effort, that you believe has been especially worthwhile or impactful?
JM: Absolutely. My health. This was the first major investment I ever chose because it gave me my quality of life. I was chronically ill for years and I never get sick anymore. Now I have my time and energy back. When you take care of yourself, you have more time and energy for the things that you love. The second most important investment I made years ago was paying for a mentor who helped me take a deep dive and deal with the core wounds I had. That year of working with a mentor and doing the shadow work led to tremendous emotional and spiritual growth in my life.
AM: Are there any books you especially love or have gifted frequently to other people? What are some of your favorites?
JM: So many. One I am reading right now (again) and highly recommend is the Letting Go by David Hawkins. Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine, which is about helping us understand the subconscious cellular memory we hold in our body, is another book that has been tremendously impactful in my life.
AM: As we near the end of our conversation, I’m wondering if you could tell me about the retreat you are planning to co-host this summer. Maybe you can also include some information on how you are planning to structure the event?
JM: Absolutely. Amanda Riker and I are partnering together, which is incredibly exciting. Our theme for this upcoming retreat is Align and Amplify. This means alignment in your yoga practice and alignment in your life. When you live in alignment with your values, your life from that point on begins to amplify. Amanda and I will be leading different types of classes and workshops—I will be guiding more of the restorative classes in the evening and she will be taking our group through a flow in the morning. We also have some specialty workshops planned based on what we are passionate about and what we want to offer our guests.
The other thread running through this retreat will be a focus on adventure and fun—I think we often take so many things in life too seriously, and, at the end of the day, what matters most is this: are you enjoying your life in the moment? We will be taking full advantage of the incredible mountainous location nestled against the beach to partake in local adventures and will facilitate creative ways for participants to invite more joy, celebration, and personal growth into their lives.
Amanda and I both love to teach from a place of bringing yoga back to its foundation, back to alignment. We teach in a way that helps people understand what the pose is supposed to feel like when we are in alignment. If someone reads this and is thinking about joining, I would say welcome! This retreat is for the person who wants to take their yoga practice to the next level, deepen connection with their own personal experience, and celebrate the beauty and culture of Costa Rica.
AM: Where is the best place for people to find you and learn more about your work?
– Intuitive nourishment program: https://jenmons.simplero.com/products/114288-Intuitive-Nourishment
– School for healers and coaches: https://www.embodiedsoulinstitute.com
AM: Thanks so much for sharing with me today, I really appreciate you taking the time and wish you the very best with your upcoming endeavors.
JM: Thanks Anthony, I enjoyed this too and look forward to speaking again soon!
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