Mantra, Movement, and Mudra

Jeanie Manchester is the “Priestess of Mantra”

Article by Amelia Broughton

Photography by Alex Beal

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Undoubtedly our world has seen unprecedented changes this year. These times have brought humanity into a single conversation during this global pandemic. What is the best next step forward during a time where everything we thought we had control over has illuminated itself as a false safety created by the mind? How do we navigate the intensity of these times? Few could have predicted the magnitude of these drastic changes, and luckily many people are out there doing their part to support their community through the unpredictability. 

Meet Jeanie Manchester, a “Priestess of Mantra” and meditation, yoga instructor, and founder of Anjaneya Yoga Shala in Boulder. Using mantra, movement, and mudra, Manchester guides her students to the true teacher inside. She is a masterful practitioner and passionate instructor of meditation, and is “here to help people wake up to the vibrancy of who they are meant to be in this lifetime.” These teachings and practices are more than just the physical benefits of yoga, they’re about inner transformation and healing, confronting the most challenging aspects of ourselves to reclaim our power to find more stability, less reactivity, and compassion for self and others. 

Before the sobering onset of the pandemic, Manchester was taking people all over the world to mystical, enriching environments such as Nepal, India, and Italy. Most recently, she’d been in South India with her Shakti Tour & Retreat imbibing in the temple lore, traditions, and powerful Ayurvedic ritual. Quickly, everything changed, and the deeply rooted teachings of her meditation practice became an even more potent source of her service to the world. 

“Meditation is deep absorption inside of yourself,” Manchester shares passionately, “meditation is not someone talking to you, it’s you going into the innermost recesses of yourself, the deepest layers inside.” Just as meditation asks us to turn inward, Manchester sees how these times have also asked us to slow down and quite literally go home. 

How often have we disregarded the profundity of the only homes we have, this Earth and our bodies? 

Meditation invites you to create an intimate relationship with the vibration that exists within and around you. It’s the beat of your heart, your blood pumping, eyes blinking - the constant pulse of life. To know this practice is to be actively self-reflecting and tending to the activity of the mind. The mind wants to know; it wants to figure life out, it wants to react, and ultimately, it wants to control. When you choose to turn inward, Manchester shares, “meditation is going to hold you, stabilize you and give you energy, and certainly make you confront your ego.” This profound relationship allows us to access our creative potential, birthing solutions for a world that is in desperate need of our awareness and depth. 

These times of great upheaval were predicted and spoken of in countless ancient yogic texts. Now, perhaps more than ever, Manchester recommends, “start with practice, and let your life and your day unfold from that inner nourishment.” The world needs more reflection, love, and compassion to awaken the latency within each of us.

6 Radical Rituals to Awaken the Power Within 

Meditate Daily - Take up a meditation practice and watch your life transform for the better. 

Pause for Self-Reflection - Try journaling, meditating, pausing to take a deep breath during a busy day. Give yourself space to notice what is happening within and around you. 

Practice Deep Listening - Choose to hold space to receive each word you hear in conversation. Receive, breathe, choose not to react. 

Look at the Stars, Notice the Moon - Register the cycles of the moon and stars. Discover if the moon is waxing or waning. Find out when the full or new moon is each month. 

Engage in Breathwork - Set aside a few minutes each day to breathe deeply into your lungs, down into your belly. Learn some breathing exercises to support your body and release stress. 

Cold Water Therapy - Turn the shower on cold. Go for a dip in the creek. Take a hike and plunge into an alpine lake. 

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