Rediscover. Rejuvenate. Replenish.
Meet Jai, the founder of Replenish Yoga & Meditation studio located in Bowie, Maryland.
Grab a cup of tea and enjoy this inspiring chat with Jai about self discovery and self-love.
Lukafit: Good evening Jai! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us. Your yoga studio gives us all the feels that empower us as women to connect with ourselves, replenish, and rejuvenate daily.
Let’s start off with getting to know more about your self-love journey. What are some of the defining things that keep you motivated and give you the courage to continue on the journey of self love?
Jai: I experienced the impact of self-awareness and the power of my choice. Somewhere along the way I lost that awareness and felt helpless to change how I was experiencing life. Remembering how I felt when I was in despair and remembering how empowered I felt after months (maybe a solid year) of hard, uncomfortable self work, self accountability, self acceptance, forgiveness and self-love, keeps me motivated to continue to grow and continue to do the things that pour into me. It also keeps me motivated to say no to the things that don't.
My children, Evan (girl) and Ean (boy). They're 5 years old. I don't want to pass my emotional wounds and trauma down to them. I don't want them to experience me as less than whole. They deserve the best me, the healthiest me. Self healing is one of the biggest acts of love I can do for myself, my children, my wife and all of those I love.
Me. I want to live the fullest life, the happiest life, the most authentic life. I want to experience the fullest love, honest love, nurturing love. I want that. So, I work hard to make sure I'm showing up as my full, authentic self. Sometimes, the experience isn't always great or happy but I am comforted in knowing I showed up fully.
Lukafit: Yaaasss, showing up is always the first step. Can you define self-love in your own words. What ways do you show yourself love?
Jai: My self love is exploration. It's an attention I give to myself. Noticing how I feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Identifying triggers and remedies. It's doing the work (of healing) even when I don't want to because I'm unmotivated or because it doesn't feel good.
The ways I show myself love are growing! I love that. Journaling, running, yoga, meditation, time alone, time with friends, extending myself grace and forgiveness, honoring every experience all help me move through life with more love and understanding for myself first then others.
Lukafit: Many times our journey of self-love and discovery isn’t flattering. What are hard lessons and personality traits that you’ve learned about yourself that took awhile for you to accept? How do you deal?
Jai: Whew...After the birth of my children, I had a hard time adjusting. Prior to giving birth I was a busy physician with both clinical and administrative responsibilities. I was used to handling many things at once and being pretty good at it.
As a new mom, breastfeeding twins was coming along actually pretty good (looking back at it now) but I was so critical of myself. I felt I wasn't doing enough even though I was doing everything possible. Then, I went back to work, back to my busy schedule, back to my hour commute, sleep deprived and trying to pump in between patients.
I would try to race home to make their 5/5:30 PM feeding and was so devastated when I missed it. It was totally unreasonable. I was a zombie trying to still do everything I had done before. It got to a point where my marriage was struggling and I was miserable. I felt like I was unraveling. I knew I had to do something to get back on track so I got a life coach. I did an assessment (The Energy Leadership Index) which revealed I spent most of my energy angry and feeling like a victim. I was astonished and embarrassed.
I never saw myself in that way but the spotlight turned on and there I was feeling angry and helpless. At that moment, I decided this wasn't the person I wanted to be. So I had to face myself. Explore with curiosity, compassion, love and eventually forgiveness this person who I didn't recognize as me and how I got there.
Lesson # 1 - I cannot do it all. I should not feel like I have to do it all. I don't.
Lesson #2 - Be mindful of my self-speak. I was so critical of myself for not meeting this imaginary mark in my head. I was doing the best I could and my best is enough.
Lesson #3- Remember my choice. I have the power to curate my life experience through my choices. I am never helpless. I am never the victim. Even if my choice leads to a bad experience, it was my choice. I remind myself of my power often.
Personality trait #1 I can have the tendency to be very self critical so I have to practice lesson #2 often. I speak joy, abundance, health, love, adventure, stability and peace over my life.
Trait #2 I can have the tendency to feel responsible for things that are not my responsibility. I'm learning to accept what is mine to heal or address is mine. I will not rob you of your healing, your process and your growth by taking responsibility for your stuff.
Trait #3 I can have the tendency to avoid voicing my needs, wants, desires because I've judged them as insignificant, too picky or too demanding or I have imagined another person negatively judging them. It's fear. Fear of being rejected or having voiced needs remain unmet. I'm actively doing root, heart and throat chakra work to move beyond this. I'm better than I was but there is still so much growth in this area for me.
Lukafit: WOW, Jai! Thank you for sharing those lessons and courageously pointing out those personality traits. Often we want to skip over what is causing our lives to feel out of our hands or unnecessarily chaotic, but you took control and changed everything when you discovered more about yourself through The Energy Leadership Index, what a powerful assessment!
After going through all this and discovering the good, bad and ugly, when would you say you fell in love with yourself and stepped into your confidence?
Jai: Probably 2 years ago, I continued my self work and discovered my love for yoga and meditation. I had the desire to share what was so impactful in my life with others. I signed up and completed 500 hours of yoga training. Before my training was over, I opened my very own yoga studio, Replenish Yoga and Meditation. I started to grow in and accept my spiritual gifts. I started to come into alignment with my purpose - which is to connect people with yoga, reiki and other forms of energetic and spiritual healing. It is my purpose to teach others. I am still a physician in a busy practice that I enjoy but this dimension of healing is where I feel most alive.
Lukafit: Feeling alive always begins with connecting with what you love and inspiring others. As a yoga studio owner you have the ability to naturally embrace and cultivate the power of sisterhood. Who are some of your biggest supporters, influencers, and fitness friends?
Jai: Big. My best friend is super active and she inspires me. I have a healthy number of like minded fit friends who are slightly competitive. We try to keep up with each other.
I'm also really inspired by the writer and poet Nariyyah Waheed. Her way with words moves me. I feel seen in a lot of her poems.
Lukafit: “You are a sea of light. Open your eyes. See yourself.” Yes...Ms. Waheed, inspires us as well. Would you say that community plays a big role in your self-love journey?
Jai: That's tricky. I think in general your family and friends want to see you well and thriving but if the process to get there and the outcome look a way that is hard for them to digest or understand that might be where the support and engagement ends.
I'm very blessed to be a part of a yoga and spiritual healing sisterhood. I found them through yoga teacher training. I offer space in my studio for instructors to bring their full selves to the mat. I offer my story. I offer my ideas. I offer my friendship.
Lukafit: And that’s everything Jai. On behalf of all the sister’s you’ve touched, thank you. To wrap things up will you please leave us with a quote that you live by?
Jai: "I am my own home."
It reminds me that everything I need is within me. When I'm seeking validation, acceptance, peace, love, acknowledgement, stability, gratitude, reciprocity, permission - I first need to go within and give those things to myself.
Lukafit: Beautiful Jai, thank you so much for this inspiring sit down! We can’t wait for your studio to open up again soon. To stay connected with Jai follow her on the Gram @replenish_yoga_meditation or visit www.replenishym.com.