We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Weiss Ippolito and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jill, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important aspect is that my trainings are not based on theories. It is based on practical lessons I developed in teaching yoga. Another unique aspect to my brand is the diversity of expertise that I bring together. It is really exciting to blend yoga with psychology, social work, criminal justice reform, mental health and activism! These are the topics people are starting to talking about now in the mainstream and what we have been tackling many years.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The healing arts is not a field I chose – it chose me. I turned to yoga to help me overcome my struggle with addiction and to heal my own personal trauma and then it evolved into a new career of non-profits, social justice and working with incarcerated youth and the struggles they endured. I built a program with direct services to provide for them to build resilience for when they get out. And then I created trauma informed yoga trainings that I’ve led all over the world. I’m so proud that I’ve been able to guide others to form programs and become activists like I did. Building platforms for others to soar and find their voice is what I’m most passionate about. I look for those hungry for this information and help guide them into public speaking, finding their voice and expertise and sharing that which is their gift out into the world. I’m so grateful for the emails I receive from those that have taken my trainings and how their students are benefiting. And how they built programs such as the Australian Yoga Federation and Life After Cancer. I’m also amazed to hear from people that have taken the training who were not yoga instructors at the time but got inspired to become yoga teachers and then share their knowledge with their communities. A dream come true was to be hired as a consultant to Sesame Street and going to meet Big Bird in New York! They asked me what would be the one thing I want kids to know about Yoga. I said that anyone can do it, anytime and anywhere. You don’t need a class or an instructor, especially if you can learn from Elmo and laugh your whole way through to feel some joy then I can’t think of anything better! I’ve also been published in three books this year and I am currently writing my own! I’m still learning how to market and do social media and wonder where that will take me in the future with public speaking, another art form of storytelling I love. The brand UpRising Yoga is something I’m proud of. I am often surprised how many people have heard about it, especially in the psychological and medical profession. I think what sets it apart is the authentic experience I bring to the trainings and to the program. And a lot of what I do is based on lessons I learned myself teaching yoga in unconventional settings. How I got where I am professionally is by saying yes and showing up! A lot of it had to do with alignment and willingness and I will definitely say that you do not need to know where you are going to get there- just keep going!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely show off my neighborhood in Highland Park as well as some of my favorite hiking trails and botanical gardens. I would take them to Malibu for the beach and the Lake Shrine as well.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that go through my head when I think about that question. From the very beginning of my career as an executive director of a nonprofit in the healing arts, I truly know that nothing I’ve been able to do wouldn’t have been possible without others in my life. I did not set out to become a yoga instructor or to run a nonprofit. I was simply healing on my own path and I just kept showing up. A good friend named James Lunsford told me how to fill out the forms for a nonprofit and with his encouragement, I did it! He remains a wise sage in my world. BK Bose of the Niroga Institute was an early influence on UpRising Yoga, in terms of how to create an organization that could provide yoga as a direct service to incarcerated youth. But as I got deeper into it, I started to become aware of the bigger issues facing these kids and the powerful social justice advocates who were demanding change in how they were seen and how they were treated. This led me to the influence of yoga therapist and teacher (and so much more) Hala Khouri, the photographer and activist Robert Sturman and my friend and mentor Rajashree Choudhury. I also want to highlight the amazing work of Colleen Mooney and SBCC Thrive, an organization based in Wilmington that taught me so much about the power a community has in healing a person’s trauma. The impact all of the yoga teachers that lent their time and energy to UpRising has been amazing. I want to point out in particular my friend and colleague De Jur Jones, a yoga therapist and teacher who has been at my side since the beginning as she creatively steps up in impossible ways to make miracles happen! My husband’s work collided with mine and there is no doubt I’d be able to do any of this without him. He is someone I learned so much from and admire deeply as he is so knowledgeable in the field I am involved in. Listening to him taught me things I never knew I needed to learn. I’m incredibly grateful that he shares his expertise at all of our trainings. I also want to acknowledge all of the UpRising board members current and past for their wise consult and support.

I’m so grateful for the emails I receive from those that have taken my trainings and how their students are benefiting and how they built programs such as the Australian Yoga Federation, Life After Cancer and Yoga@ offering classes in underserved communities and continuing our mission. I’m also amazed to hear from people that have taken the training who were not yoga instructors at the time but got inspired to become yoga teachers and then share their knowledge with their communities.

Website: www.uprisingyoga.org
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_for_healing_trauma/?hl=en
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jill-weiss-ippolito-9461b910/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jill_ippolito
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yoga4HealingTrauma/
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/uprising-yoga-los-angeles?utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB4LEE_hJ-5y76e5kfYpDTA
Other: https://www.facebook.com/UpRisingYoga/

Image Credits
Photography for Singing Bowl pic & Kids = Robert Sturman Jill in yoga posture looking down in a class- Michael Actl Jill in polka dots = A+B Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.