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Getting to Know Neesha Zollinger, Jackson’s Resident Yoga Master

Yoga, a practice that has helped spark the dawning of the age of health and wellness in Western societies. The United States is a country filled with people accomplishing great things at a rapid-fire pace, the cost of that culture is catching up with us, and the need for balance is critical. Yoga is a practice that guides its practitioners towards physical, mental, and emotional balance, driven, of course, by a knowledgeable and experienced master.

Yoga in Jackson Hole – Meet Neesha

Here in Jackson Hole, we have been experiencing a rise in yoga studios, classes, and instructors, and we are glad of it. Here at Snow King Resort, we are fully committed to inspiring and fostering health and wellness for all of our guests. On that note, we are pleased to introduce you all to our local master yoga instructor, Neesa Zollinger. Not only does she own the nearby Akasha Yoga Studio, but she’s also our resident yoga instructor primarily teaching yoga to private events. We sat down to chat with her about all things yoga.

Neesha, what initially brought you to yoga? Tell us a little bit about your yoga journey so far.
“I have always been curious about the body and how it feels, and have recollections of stretching on my own as a kid… but the formal beginning was when my modern dance teacher Terrie Lauterbach-Cotts, invited me to her yoga class. That journey began in 1990. Since that time, I have gone through many incarnations as a practitioner and a teacher. First, I offered yoga to dancers and then eventually branched out. I met Margot Snowdon in 1999, and after studying with her, I began a 7-year journey to become certified in Anusara Yoga. Shortly after certification, I began teaching yoga intensives, workshops, and teacher trainings. At times, I was traveling around the globe to teach. From eight teaching tours throughout Europe and the Caribbean to teaching here in my home studio in Jackson, I have discovered that Yoga is a beautiful commonality that crosses cultures and language.”

“For me, yoga was very healing in the sense that it gave me more strength in my joints. The philosophy and psychology of yoga that you get tidbits of during class are beacons of light in this often busy world.”

What are the top three benefits you notice your students receive from your yoga classes?

“1. Ease in the body, 2. ability to tolerate life’s daily stressors and cope with the big challenges with more resilience, 3. physical Strength.”

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If someone has never before tried yoga, what advice or guidance do you have for them before coming to your class?

“It depends, when I’m working with a group privately, I tailor the class to their specific needs and practice levels. In the studio, I recommend first learning the basics from an introductory series or a handful of private lessons.”

“But for all classes, come with a beginners mind (even if you’re not a beginner), curiosity, self-awareness, and accountability for your body and its’ limitations.”

What are the most popular yoga poses (in your observation), and why do you think that is?

“Standing poses utilizing both legs because they simultaneously strengthen and stretch. They also serve to empower; nearly everyone is able to do some version of all of these.”

What drew you to teaching yoga in partnership with Snow King Resort?

“Yoga is a great compliment to a vacation or a corporate retreat. Yoga is well known, and people are interested in either trying it or keeping up with their practice while away from home. I want to share in the joy of it!”

Which aspect of your yoga practice do you currently enjoy the most?

“The common understanding of yoga is its postures or poses. This is an incomplete understanding of yoga. Yoga is a practice of awareness, a way of tapping into one’s essence and interacting with the outside world from that place. Currently: I love moving and exploring in my body. I love to practice being consciously skillful and aware; doing for others as much of the time as I can. This all brings me into the practice of living my yoga.”

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If one of the resort guests enjoys your yoga class immensely, how might they continue to participate?

“We offer a full range of classes a few blocks away at Akasha Yoga 150 East Hansen Ave.”

What have been your biggest hurdles in running and operating your own yoga business?

“I believe that the biggest hurdle is similar to what most small business owners experience: we got into the business because we are passionate about something – not actually knowing much about business. It has been a stretch to develop skills in management and marketing while having enough time to teach and continue to evolve as a yogi and teacher.”

neesha2 - yoga in jackson hole

When you are dealing with said hurdles, which aspects of your yoga practice help you navigate them with more tranquility and grace?

“Breathing is key. Also, the philosophical anchors of yoga are helpful reminders. Selfless service, love, compassion, and trusting in the larger flow of life are incredibly helpful when I am stressed about any aspect of running my business.”

Do you have any exciting yoga-related events coming up?

“I am traveling to Europe to teach soon! Our studio has a training coming up in how to teach teens yoga, a men’s class, building resilience through mindfulness and more! Our yearly retreat to Mexico is coming up in January, which I am always excited about!”

Thank you, Neesha, for taking the time to chat with us about all things yoga! We have enjoyed taking private lessons from you, and we know our guests have as well. We are especially thankful for your continued dedication to bringing yoga to the corporate world through teaching classes to our business guests during their events. Thanks to you, Jackson Hole residents and visitors have access to creating more balance in every facet of their lives. We wish you the best of luck on your current and future endeavors, and we’ll be seeing you on the mat very soon!

Looking for things – like yoga – to do between sessions of your corporate meetings? Check out our new eBrochure CHOCKFULL of great tips, tricks and activities for your visit to Jackson Hole.

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