BIOL 349 Physiology Research Project at WWU

9 Sep


In my Human Physiology course at Western Washington University, we were asked to conduct a research study on a topic of our choice.   My Physiology Lab partners and I studied the impact of Pranayama and Viparita Karani on mean arterial pressure (MAP is a measure of blood pressure) in college-age women.  Above you can see our poster and below a figure from our paper.


Figure 3. Average percent change in mean arterial pressure (MAP) for the treatment and control groups during three time intervals: Posture/Breathing shows the difference between Stages 1 and 2, Recovery is between Stages 2 and 3, and Overall shows the difference between Stages 1 and 3. Error bars show standard error (Tierney et al 2015).

While we did not find a statistically signifiant difference in MAP resulting form the posture; however, we did find that a simple, 5-minute Pranayama practice reduces MAP.  I invite you to have a look at our paper and also take five minutes to practice breathing to the recording I prepared for the study.

Here is a link to the paper.

Here is a link to the breathing recording.

On a side note, our group’s project won Best Poster in our class.
Great work, ladies!



Children’s Yoga at Valley Kids Therapy

31 Jul

This fun class is open to all past and present patients at Valley Kids Therapy in Mount Vernon

Suggested $5 donation

RSVP required

KidsYogaSubscribe to Jessie’s Yoga e-mail list here.

In case you missed it …

22 Jul

The long-awaited Yoga Blanket Folding How-To Video … for your viewing and learning pleasure, from the comfort of your own home!

I have joked so many times about needing to teach an entire class dedicated to the art of yoga blanket folding.  Here’s to spending less time figuring out how to fold a blanket and more time in the juicy postures that we love so much!

Happy folding!


In Gratitude

7 Jul

If you haven’t tried a Hayloft Yoga class yet, don’t let Summer pass you by without treating yourself to this experience! Read on …

I am overwhelmed with gratitude tonight.  We broke a world record up in the Hayloft … fifteen of us lined out our mats and squeezed into the space between hay bales above horse stalls for practice.  I saw kind new faces and dear old friends, and was completely overcome by a sweet, nourishing sense of community.


Sometimes when a large group gets together, it feels scattered or rambunctious, but tonight’s practice was deeply quiet.  Even the swooping, singing barn swallows calmed and came to a landing as we listened to our breath, connected inside, and began to move with awareness.  The loft felt transformed into a kind of sanctuary, lulled by the horses methodically chewing their dinner, shrouded in a beautiful sense of peace.  It was magical to be a part of.

Barn_Aisle_chickens_horseThis type of feeling takes practice.  It is not something that comes so natural or easy for many of us, although as my…

View original post 282 more words

26 Jun

Don’t miss this intriguing story on NPR about why many indigenous cultures are free from back pain, and what we can learn from them.  You can listen online.


Primal posture: Ubong tribesmen in Borneo (right) display the perfect J-shaped spines. A woman in Burkina Faso (left) holds her baby so that his spine stays straight. The center image shows the S-shaped spine drawn in a modern anatomy book (Fig. I) and the J-shaped spine (Fig. II) drawn in the 1897 anatomy book Traite d’Anatomie Humaine.


5 Minute Pranayama

2 Jun

Today my physiology colleagues and I presented our poster at WWU, where we studied the impacts of Pranayama (breathing) and Viparita Karani (inverted pose or legs up the wall pose) on blood pressure in college-age women.

Our results showed that a 5-minute breathing practice significantly lowered blood pressure from a baseline measurement. The above recording was what we used for participants in all trials. The cool thing is it only takes 5 minutes to create a measurable change!

Breathe deep,


Adventure Yoga Retreat!

23 May

A Biking Yoga Beach Picnic!

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.27.21 PMHere’s the scoop:

Saturday, June 27th
10:00 am – 2:30ish (?) pm
Pack a lunch, wear your suit, and bring your bike!

Join us for a leisurely bike ride down the Cascade Trail, where we’ll end at the sandy banks of the Skagit River for a gentle yoga practice, followed by a packed lunch, a dip in the river (it’s going to be a scorcher on Saturday!) and soaking in the sun.  Hope you can come.  Invite a friend!.  Free, in celebration of summer and connecting with Nature!

  • Meet at the small crushed gravel parking lot on Polte Road, just off Township.  We’ll take off at 10am, so arrive in time to unload your bike and pack your backpack.The_Route
  • Bike down the Cascade Trail about 6.8 miles (Google Maps estimates it takes 33 minutes, but we’ll take it easy and stop many times to really take in the scenic farmland & foothills views)
  • We’ll reach the Ann Wolfred River Edge Park, secure our bikes, and walk to the sandy banks of the Skagit River, where we will:
    • Practice yoga in the sand
    • Eat our packed lunches
    • Swim in the river
    • Lounge in the sun
    • Watch for birds and salmon
  • Then we’ll bike back home!


Above, one of the first glimpses of the Skagit River along the way, the perfect spot for a brief Sun Salutation and a few choice poses to help balance a biking-body (that may or may not be in the best biking shape!).

Donation-only for this fun festivity.  Bring your own water and lunch (and sunsrcreen!).

Please RSVP by replying below, joining on facebook or contacting Jessie

Blanket Folding 101

29 Apr

The long-awaited Yoga Blanket Folding How-To Video … for your viewing and learning pleasure, from the comfort of your own home!


I have joked so many times about needing to teach an entire class dedicated to the art of yoga blanket folding.  Here’s to spending less time figuring out how to fold a blanket and more time in the juicy postures that we love so much!

Happy folding!


I am now a doTERRA person, and Yoga Classes are going to smell AWESOME!

23 Apr

I am excited to announce that I have recently signed on with doTERRA and will be using more essential oils in yoga classes than ever before!  Also, stay tuned for essential oils-infused yoga & meditation workshops and classes, coming soon!

And if you like, you can order oils online through my Wellness Advocate page (retail prices).  If you’re interested in the oils and intend to use them frequently, you might consider joining doTERRA ($35 for the first year) to get all wholesale prices.  I would be so excited hook you up!

Jesie's doTERRA page

It’s been very fun to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and in my experience with doTERRA, the quality really does make a big difference.

My most profound experience so far has been with using the Balance oil blend: I rub it on my wrists every day before I head to school and have been impressed by the subtle yet steady reduction in my anxiety this quarter.  Nathan and I have been calming our seasonal allergies and his sinus troubles with the Breathe oil blend.  I just sent a bottle of doTERRA’s Deep Blue Muscle Rub to my parents and I can’t wait to hear what they think of it!

I have been struck by the quality difference in these oils versus oils I’v purchased in the past from the CoOp or Sup-Supp’s.  I never much cared for the smell of lavender oil because it felt sort of sharp and abrasive when I smelled it (definitely not what I was expecting when I thought it would calm me to sleep), but when I smelled the doTERRA lavender, it was sweet, soothing and just delightful.  Same with Tea Tree Oil: other brands typically need dilution and I’ve even burned my skin, whereas doTERRA’s Melaleuca is soothing, smells nicer, and can be applied topically without the burning sensations I’ve had with other oils.

I’m really getting into the healing properties of these wonderful oils, and I can’t wait to share more with my community!

New! Calendar of Yoga Classes!

25 Mar

I am excited to announce that I now have a go-to calendar for all Yoga classes, workshops, events and more, thanks to Google Calendar.  You’ll be able to find this calendar on my Yoga Classes page on the YogAscent site and on my home page on the Horseback Yoga site.  I hope you find this useful!



Just Breathe.

24 Mar

Ginger Garner, a Physical Therapist and Yoga Instructor, writes in The Amazing Diaphragm about the research on breath control and how breathing quality can be an indicator of other health concerns.  A great read!

Here is an excerpt:

As little as a few minutes of deep breathing can begin to change your stress response and improve your health.

Ginger Garner

Also, enjoy a sweet, related article by Rolf Sovik called Drawing the Diaphragm.

Breath awareness is a practice you can do at home, any time.  Notice your breath.  See if you can, without too much effort, lengthen and slow the duration of your in-breath.  You may choose to count.  As you exhale, can you allow the out-breath to last a few beats longer?  Continuing in this way for just 2-4 minutes can result in big impacts on your health and happiness!

Free Yoga Festival

4 Mar

FreeYogaFestival2015 Yoga instructors from across the Valley offer an entire day of free yoga classes in the upstairs of the Mount Vernon Food CoOp.  Come up to the third floor, kick off your shoes and explore a variety of yoga styles in celebration of the rich diversity of yoga offered in the Valley.  Each class starts on the hour every hour beginning at 11 am.  Classes are suitable for all levels (including beginners!).  Bring your own yoga mat if you have one–otherwise, supplies will be provided.  No RSVP needed ~ come as you are!

Saturday May 16th, 2015

11:00 – 11:45 am Structural Yoga Therapy with Kathleen Grimbly

12:00 – 12:45 pm Children’s Yoga with Jessica Azeez

1:00 – 1:45 pm Chair Yoga with Simme Bobrosky

2:00 – 2:45 pm Yin Yoga with Shelley Dorland

3:00 – 3:45 pm Power Flow  with Krista Squibb  

4:00 – 4:45 pm Yoga Pilates Infusion with Suzy Cornell

5:00 – 5:45 pm Gentle Back Care Yoga with Jessie Tierney

Classes & Instructors

Structural Yoga Therapy ~ 11:00 – 11:45 am


Kathleen Grimbly

In this Joint-Freeing Series, students will be guided through gentle work that can restore range of motion and reveal and heal muscular imbalance and joint pain.  This practice is an ideal warm up for all physical activities, with body-mind-spirit practices of union. Kathleen Grimbly has been a Kripalu Yoga Teacher since 1995,  Yoga Therapy practitioner and student since 2002 and is a Postural Analysis Specialist.  She leads and instructs sea kayak, x-c ski, bike and hike retreats and tours, incorporating sport specific yoga practices,  teaches at Holden Village and various symposiums.  Contact Kathleen here.

Children’s Yoga ~ 12:00 – 12:45 pm



Children will be immersed in a fun and child-friendly yoga class taught by Jessica with songs, movement, stories and play. Parents are welcomed to join. Ages 3-6

Jessica Azeez is a 500 RYT with a Bachelor’s degree in Yoga and a minor in Contemplative Education from Naropa University. Jessica also has a certification and training in Storytime Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. She completed her Level 1 and 2 ChildLight Yoga TeacherTraining and Yoga 4 Classrooms Trainer Intensive in August 2014. Jessica holds a CO and CA teachers license with an endorsement in Elementary Education. In addition, Jessica is a certified Waldorf teacher through the Rudolf Steiner College in CA.
She is currently weaving her love for yoga, children, songs and stories into her children’s yoga classes. Her children’s yoga business is entitled Story Blossom Yoga, LLC. She teaches at several locations and schools in the Skagit County of WA state. Jessica also teaches private and group yoga classes to adults. When she is not teaching yoga she is working part time at the Lululemon Athletica Outlet in Burlington, WA.
It is her hope that the yogic lifestyle and philosophy will inspire children and adults in schools and at home and that a shift towards greater peace and joy be felt throughout the nation and in every classroom.
You can find Jessica teaching yoga at Cresent Moon Yoga Studio in La Conner, Studio 1010 in Anacortes, The Children’s Museum of Skagit County in Burlington, The Anacortes School District (seasonal after school programs), & private homes.
For more information please visit

Chair Yoga ~ 1:00 – 1:45 pm

simme yoga day

Simme Bobrosky

Move through life in grace and ease in a conscious journey of self discovery. This Hatha Yoga class is presented in the holistic style of Akandha Yoga. Akhanda  means whole, complete, unbroken. This style of yoga, transmitted from Yogi Vishvketu, promotes flexibility, strength, healing, relaxation, inspiration, clarity of mind and inner peace. Fully realize the mind-heart-body connection in a class designed for YOU. Simme’s class will include chanting, breath work, asana and meditation. Her focus is with the senior population, adapting poses for those with chronic pain, orthopedic and dis-ease limitations. We will be using the chair for seated poses and standing balance poses.  Learn more about Akhanda yoga here. Simme Bobrosky, OTR/L, RYT of Yoga Heart Space has practiced yoga for 20 years and is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor who completed her 200 hour certification course in Rishikesh, India in 2008.  She is a Registered/Licensed Occupational Therapist and a certified Reiki Master.  She leads kirtan in Skagit Valley and sings at local retirement homes, farmers markets and churches.  Kirtan is devotional chanting in Sanskrit that allows us to “connect with and express the JOY within.”  Deeply resonant sacred words are chanted with musical accompaniment in the call/response model called kirtan. She offers yoga classes in group and private instruction.  Visit her website,

Yin Yoga ~ 2:00 – 2:45 pm

Shelley Dorland

Shelley Dorland

As we age and/or become more sedentary, our bodies may experience chronic pain and stiffness. Yin Yoga is a quiet, personal practice to help the nadis, or energy channels of the body to open, becoming more alive and healthy. Yin postures are gentle floor poses held in a relaxed, meditative way designed to release tight muscles, joints and connective tissue, and to stimulate new cell growth. With long, relaxed, gentle traction we are able to heal and rebuild our bodies. Some experience in yoga is helpful, but not required. Yin yoga is gentle by nature, so that all may participate. If you can lie down or sit on the floor, you can do yin yoga. Shelley took her first yoga class in 1997 and it was love at first downward facing dog. She began taking yoga classes 5 days a week and was soon enrolled in a teacher training program. Since then she has been studying and teaching yoga nearly everyday for 14 years, studied in many styles of yoga with world class teachers including Naga, Hatha, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Anusara. She has also studied Yin Yoga and Anatomy of Yoga with Paul Grilley in 2006 and recently completed a 20 hour Yin training program at Twist Yoga Edmonds Wa in 2014. Shelley has deepened her practice and expanding her teaching skills by completing a 100hr Anusara Teacher Training Program and 100hr Anusara immersion in 2010. She also has extensive studies in Yoga as Therapy with Douglas Keller and Yoga Philosophy with Douglas Brooks. She currently owns and teaches at Riverwalk Yoga Studio in Mount Vernon.

Power Flow ~ 3:00 – 3:45 pm


Krista Squibb

Power Flow is a moving style of yoga where poses run together in a slow, fluid way connecting your breath almost like a dance.  Sometimes holding postures longer to really feel the heat and other times moving a bit quicker.  Working hard while learning to relax.  Strong emphasis on breath and an over all balance to your body. Creating strength, flexibility and endurance.  All levels are welcome.  Class is usually done in a 80 degree room. Krista discovered yoga while trying to heal wrist and back pain and never looked backed.  She brings 14 years of teaching experience.  She owned and operated Hot Yoga of Laurelhurst in Seattle for over 8 years before moving and settling in beautiful Skagit Valley with her family.  She has been through Bikram Chaurdry and Ana Forrest teacher trainings and has been lucky enough to have taken many workshops over the years with some of our best master teachers including, Shiva Rea, Bryan Kest, Baron Baptist and Shakta Kaur Khalsa.  She also holds a certificate of training in Pilates.   Krista’s style is an eclectic blend of her years of experience. Krista teaches in her studio, Bay View Yoga, in Bow, WA.

Yoga Pilates Infusion ~ 4:00 – 4:45 pm

Suzy Cornell

Suzy Cornell

Yoga Pilates Infusion for Beginners is a practice that uses breath and  movement to increase deep core strength & stability while also expanding range of motion in all the major joints of the body.  If you have never practiced yoga or pilates before, if you want to learn how to access those elusive deep core muscles, or if you wish to learn how to find balance in body and beyond, this is the class for you! Suzy Cornell was born and raised in Seattle, WA and received her BA in Physical Education from Western Washington University in 1985.  She has over 20 years experience in the field of Adult Fitness and has taught Yoga and Pilates for over 10 years.  She received her yoga certification from Pacific Yoga at The Yoga Tree in Seattle, and has continued her education through YogaFit, Inc, obtaining certifications in Levels 1-5, Prenatal Yoga and YogaFit for Seniors.  She was certified in Pilates through Balance Within in Redmond. Suzy teaches Yoga Therapy at the Center for Holistic Wellness in Sedro-Woolley and is a Licensed Massage Practitioner and Structural Medicine Specialist out of Body Free in Concrete.

Gentle Back Care Yoga ~ 5:00 – 5:45 pm


Jessie Tierney

Gentle Back Care Yoga introduces you to mindful breath work and focused, gentle movements that bring balance and stability to the deep core muscles of the spine.  As we gently learn to locate, activate, strengthen and stretch, we gain the tools we need to bring the body into balance and freedom. Jessie Tierney is a is a 320-Hour Yoga Alliance Certified & Registered graduate of the Shambhava School of Yoga.  She is en route to Physical Therapy school, where she intends to integrate the ancient science of yoga with modern western medicine for a holistic and lasting approach to healing. Jessie teaches weekly yoga classes and a variety of workshops at the Sedro Woolley Center for Holistic Wellness and Hayloft Yoga classes & Horseback Yoga Workhsops at Double S Quarter Horses in Bow, WA.


Spread the word!

You can find more details, RSVP (not required), spread the word and join the conversation on Facebook (just click here).


Download the 2015 Yoga Poster.

See you at the Festival!

Beautiful introduction to Mantra Meditation

23 Feb

Greetings Yoga Community!

Deva Premal & Mitten offer this beautiful free 21-day Manrta Meditation (we’re on day 10 but you can listen to any of the days until it’s over).  You can sign up with Facebook or create an account.

Each day they introduce the mantra, explaining its meaning.  It’s a very sweet way to incorporate a daily practice.

And it’s free!

I hope you enjoy it!


1 Hour Intermediate Yoga Practice for the Shoulders & Core

22 Jan

Core and Shoulder Strengthening & Preparation for Arm Balancing Postures

Enjoy this intermediate class from the comfort of your home!

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Moving Into Stillness …

11 Dec

Embodied Intention Setting for the New Year


Painting by artist Claudia Tremblay

Join Suzy, Sylvia and Jessie for a 2-hour workshop to help you connect with your body and set a deeply inspired intention for the new year.

Saturday, January 3, 2015
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Woolley Market (upstairs) in Downtown Sedro Woolley
$5-$15 sliding scale
100% of proceeds will be donated to Cascade Job Corps’ HEAL (healthy eating active lifestyles) Program, offering students yoga classes, reflexology, good foods, and healthy living educational opportunities in Skagit Valley.

The Workshop

Take the classical New Years Resolutions deeper inside for an experience that won’t fade as the year progresses.  When we connect with our physical bodies, we can open a gateway to a deeper truth.  As we listen inward, we can find surprising insights that, if we choose, can guide us through this new year.

This Workshop is open to beginners and all levels.  We will begin with a warm up, exploring gentle yoga and graceful ballet movements led by Sylvia, Yoga & Ballet Instructor.  Suzy, Yoga Instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist, will guide us through some Tai Chi, Yoga, and neuro-facilitation movements to really connect with flow.  Jessie, Yoga Instructor, will bring us into stillness with a gentle cool down and an Intention-Setting meditation.

Throughout this workshop, we will quiet the mind and connect within to find our highest intention from inside, then set it strongly and affirm it within a supportive community setting, establishing the foundation for a New Year guided by our embodied insights.

No previous yoga experience required.  Bring a mat if you have one, don’t worry if you don’t (yoga mats will be provided).  Bring your friends!  You may RSVP to reserve your spot, or just come join us the day of.


“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.”


All proceeds benefit Cascade Job Corps HEAL program.

The Instructors

Jessie-ProfileJessie Tierney is a 320-hour Yoga Alliance Certified & Registered Yoga Instructor through the Shambhava School of Yoga.  She is en route to Physical Therapy school, where she plans to integrate yoga, horses, and the outdoors with Physical Therapy for a complete, holistic approach to  healing that addresses the physical, emotional, and subtle body.  Yoga transformed Jessie’s life in profound ways, and she is deeply honored to offer this empowering practice to others.  She currently teaches at the Sedro Woolley Center for Holistic Wellness.  Learn more about Jessie at and; contact her via phone 312.857.3454 or Jessie Yoga at gmail dot com.

suzieSuzy Cornell was born and raised in Seattle, WA and received her BA in Physical Education from Western Washington University in 1985.  She has over 20 years experience in the field of Adult Fitness and has taught Yoga and Pilates for over 10 years.  She received her yoga certification from Pacific Yoga at The Yoga Tree in Seattle, and has continued her education through YogaFit, Inc, obtaining certifications in Levels 1-5, Prenatal Yoga and YogaFit for Seniors.  She was certified in Pilates through Balance Within in Redmond.  She currently teaches at the Sedro Woolley Center for Holistic Wellness.  Learn more about Suzy at, contact her via phone 206.669.0857 or email her from her site.

Sylvia_TraskSylvia Trask began practicing yoga at age 10, inspired by the quiet it brought her inside.  She studies her yoga bible, Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar.  Sylvia has shared her practice for four decades in many settings: on the trail with fellow backpackers and trail maintenance friends, in the classroom, in ballet and yoga studios, and naturally into whatever setting she finds herself in.  Yoga is a central element in Sylvia’s life and flows freely into everything else, including ballet, massage therapy and her gardens.  Sylvia currently teaches yoga at the Woolley Market three days per week.  Contact Sylvia for more information: 360-707-8321.

Help spread the word!


Like and share on Facebook.

Here is a pdf of the Moving into Stillness flier.