Quiet Strength: More from Amy Jirsa, Yoga Instructor, Herbalist + Author - In Her Words

Part II

Part II of a two-part interview with Amy Jirsa from Quiet Earth Yoga, in her own words.  Part I can be found here

Amy on Bliss

Early morning, pre-sunrise.  This is the inhale that takes place before the action of the day begins; in this moment everything, and anything, is possible.  That’s the greatest gift a day on this earth can offer.

Amy on Yoga

Self-discovery is yoga.  Without it, we suffer needlessly.

Yoga is freedom at its core.  It’s work, but ultimately it’s freedom and contentment.  Patañjali, the sage responsible for penning the Yoga Sutra, says it best: The primary cause of suffering is that we think that our conscious understanding of the world and our primary awareness of it are the same thing.  They are not.

Amy on Herbs

Herbs give us back our power.  Nature gives us everything we need – food, water, sun, raw materials for clothing and for building shelter – and all the materials we need for our own health.  When we tap into these natural resources we intuitively become our own healers.

My favorite herbs are Elder and Nettles, because they’re the only herbs you really need. Elder has all kinds of vitamins that help with hacking down illness.  As herbalist David Hoffman says, “When in doubt, give nettles.”  They’re the multivitamin of the herbal world, plus they grow no matter what you try to do to prevent them.  I love that kind of tenacity.

Amy on Routine + Rituals

  •  4:30 AM – Wake and practice yoga (except on Saturdays and days of the new/full moon

  • 7 AM – Breakfast, tea

  • 8 AM – 9 PM – Teach yoga and write, which are my full-time occupations and their schedules vary daily.

  • 8-9 PM – Bed

Weekends are sacred, and except for a 7 AM yoga class on Saturdays, I try to do nothing but read, visit farmers’ markets, travel, go to gardens, hike, and just be out in the world, most often on my own.  Weekend rules are no email and very limited social media time - except what’s necessary for work.

My personality tends to be attracted by and to ritual.  I love routine and when I stray from it, I tend toward imbalance. The entire practice I do – Ashtanga yoga – is the same practice every single day, with the exception of days off.  I love the kind of assurance that, no matter what else is happening, that will remain the same.

Amy on Personal Inspirations

I’m still primarily inspired by poets which was my focus in grad school.  I’m not much of a music person, being more visual than auditory.  But I always find inspiration in Mary Oliver, Jane Kenyon, Ted Kooser, Marie Howe, and good friend and fellow UMainer, Sarah Gaffney. 

As for artists, I’m easily inspired.  I love the Quebecois artist Clarence Gagnon, Andrew Wyeth, Marc Chagall.  Visiting galleries and museums is one of my favorite things ever.

Oh, and Martha Stewart.  I love her with a love that will last a lifetime!

Amy on Yoga + Relationships

Here’s what yoga does: it reveals painful truths, illusions you’ve been projecting for yourself for years.  Usually what happens is we fall into denial, ignoring these truths and trying to get on with life.  [With respect to my marriage], I realized I’d been deluding myself all these years.  I was mistaking love - absolute full-hearted, unconditional love - for something else. Something else I don’t really have a word for, but what I thought equaled marriage.  But not only was I deluding myself, I was trying to be for Sean (my ex) something that I just wasn’t.

Sean, being a yogi and philosopher himself, understood this struggle.  It  was this revealing process, this stripping away, that left huge, gaping raw skin.  But we were able to care for each other, and now I think that [wound has] healed.

Sean will have a permanent place in my life and my heart.  I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for that, how lucky I am to have him in my life, and how it’s inexpressible to replay how much I’ve learned from him.  His compassion is boundless and I’m the luckiest creature on earth to get to experience that.

Read Part I of the interview with Amy Jirsa from Quiet Earth Yoga here.