For Jen Kluczkowski, happiness is about missing nothing.
The now 800-hour certified Jivamukti yoga teacher has always been a searcher. But when, as a result of a back injury, she first discovered yoga, she knew she had found her path.
Ultimately, she combined her unique experience in both corporate and startup environments with her passion for spirituality and co-created Mindfresh, a company that brings mindfulness practice to office environments to boost focus and productivity. Since then, she has shared her expertise with audiences at SXSW and Columbia University’s MBA program and has become a Lululemon Ambassador.
Here, she explains why patience is the root of contentment:
Live The Process: How did you find yoga, mindfulness and spirituality?
Jen Kluczkowski: I've always been seeking. I grew up in a very religious family, but, as far back as I can remember, the exclusive nature of religion never made sense to me. Spiritual connection has always felt like it should be inclusive—something that everyone can experience. I just didn't know where to find that. I also grew up practicing competitive gymnastics, so strengthening focus was everything and standing on my hands was normal. Gymnastics was my childhood yoga practice and helped me experience the power of presence early on.
When I developed chronic back pain about ten years ago while I was launching Pandora Radio’s NYC office and ad sales, a doctor suggested yoga. I found pain relief, but, really, I found the inclusive spiritual path I had been seeking my whole life. Jivamukti yoga was my door to understanding yoga as a spiritual experience, involving many practices. It provides tools for living a conscious life that extend way beyond moving your body into postures on a mat. When you live mindfully, you see and feel this spiritual connection everywhere, with everyone.
LTP: What is the function of Mindfresh?
JK: Mindfresh is raising consciousness by bringing the mindfulness movement to the business community. We exist to keep people feeling purpose-driven and connected to their work. Our approach is to use the body and breath as vehicles to cultivate deeper attention, so our time at the office can become more meaningful. As co-founder and CEO, one of my most important roles is teacher training and delivering a premium, results-based experience to our clients. Having worked for over ten years with a variety of corporate and startup companies, I’ve learned to directly connect with the challenges we face in these environments. From personal experience, I know that sitting for ten hours has a negative effect on creativity and productivity. I’ve also had the experience of studying and training with masters in both New York City and India, which has given me deeper insight into these teachings and practices. Having spent a lot of time in both worlds, I am uniquely positioned to contextualize their teachings for our modern lifestyle, which is constantly blended with our work.
LTP: Why is mindfulness so important?
JK: The alternative to mindfulness, living on autopilot, tends to leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. If we can start to completely experience even a few moments every day, we can begin to lose that nagging feeling that something is missing.
LTP: Are there other practices—besides yoga and mindfulness—that you use to keep yourself feeling balanced?
JK: I like to find inspiration, answers, comfort—whatever I need in that moment—by opening up a text. Often, I'll just read one verse from the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita, and it puts my head back in the right place.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
JK: Living in a state where “I am missing nothing.” My teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, use this as a way to describe the essence of yoga. It’s a life(times) long practice, so, for now, I just take frequent moments to appreciate how far I've come and to express gratitude for the teachers (especially Rima Rabbath) I've had who keep showing me the way.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
JK: It means being okay with where we are in the journey and not wishing to be at another point. It means letting go of arriving how and when we think we should—we can't control the process. If I start practicing a new asana and I feel so far away from being able to do it, I have to remember that, with enough patience, effort and grace, I'll get there. Pushing just delays the process. This applies to everything in life: Just keep practicing and we will arrive exactly where and when we are supposed to.