Hello everyone! My name is Jessica McCarthy, and I am absolutely thrilled to be guest writing for Miss City Discovers and serve as your guiding light to health, healing, and happiness. On the third Thursday of each month, I will share my insight with you on a variety of topics that are catered towards enhancing your own personal lives by working with the natural energetic cycles of the times.
Before I go about sharing my knowledge and tools with you, I feel as though a proper introduction is in order. Here’s a glimpse into who I am and what I do in this city:
Born in New Jersey, raised in Southeastern Virginia by a family full of Northerners, I never quite identified with or understood the ways of the South. Which is why yearning to live in NYC and get out of the small town mentality from a very young age was no surprise to those who knew me well.
First and foremost, I am a professional dancer. Dance was my first true love, and the fiery flames of passion continue to burn brightly within me from the utmost depths of my soul. I began my dance training at the young age of three because I insisted on always wearing “twirly” dresses. After years of performing locally and nationally, I pursued my dream by moving to New York to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I graduated with honors in 2014, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Psychology.
While attending NYU, I discovered another underlying passion of mine – I am a yoga teacher. Certified through the Mind Body Dancer® 300 Yoga Teacher Training with TaraMarie Perri, I have developed a profound respect for the yoga practice, honoring the importance of one’s connection to and integration of their mind, body and spirit. My own personal teaching style leans towards a therapeutic approach, as I have an innate interest in guiding others through the healing process, on whatever level in which it may be needed.
A healer by nature, I was attracted to the world of energy work – I am a Reiki Master. A few months shy of 17, I completed all course levels required to become a certified Reiki Master in just under a year’s time. While my peers were concerned with popularity and partying, my old soul found comfort and clarity in this ancient healing modality. I intuitively knew I had a gift as a powerful healer that I was called to acknowledge and develop early on in my life, for reasons I am now just beginning to understand.
As a professional dancer, licensed yoga teacher and Reiki Master, I hold a deep appreciation for the connection between one’s mind and body. Through my various health and wellness practices, I wish to share my gifts and tools with others, spreading the wealth of love and light I have to offer to this world in my own personal way…and along the journey, hopefully inspiring you to embrace that you, too, have your own unique and purposeful way of making this world a better, more beautiful place for everyone to inhabit!
Currently, I am based in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn. I dance with Buggé Ballet and Eros Movement Company, alongside working privately with clients in various modalities and teaching children’s yoga.
Now that you have a better sense of who I am and where I come from, let’s get to the heart of this post: self-love!
It’s Valentine’s Day on Saturday and love is in the air! Or for those who think Valentine’s Day is an overrated, Hallmark holiday, perhaps shifting your perspective on the meaning of love is something to experiment with this February 14th. Rather than focusing on external matters of love, bring your awareness inside and show some love to the person you are truly closest to – I’m talking about SELF-love! A concept that is often put on the back burner, saved for later, or completely forgotten about all together. We tend to spend too much time taking care of others and not enough time honoring the truth of the matter: when we love ourselves first, taking the time to rest, recharge and enliven our spirits, we are happier, healthier, more wholesome beings who can be of greater service to others. So let’s get personal this Valentine’s Day and love the one who matters most – YOU!
A trifecta of self-love remedies, designed to connect and integrate the body, mind and spirit as you bask in the bliss of showing yourself just how worthy you are of love:
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
One of my absolute favorite restorative asanas, this pose serves as a wonderful heart opener that is equally grounding.
*I’m a big fan of using yoga props to enhance your practice. If you don’t have a yoga blanket or blocks readily available to you, try substituting a towel for the blanket and pillows for the blocks.
- Begin by rolling your blanket long ways, so that the prop is long enough to support you from the base of the lower back to the top of the head.
- Come to sit in the middle of your mat, making sure your props are within reach. Bend your knees and plant the soles of your feet into the ground, a comfortable distance away from your seat.
- Place the rolled up blanket behind you on the mat at the base of your seat, so that it lines up with your spine. Slowly recline back onto the roll, making sure your seat is coming into contact with the mat. If you find that the roll isn’t long enough to fully support your head, you can always place a pillow at the top of the roll for added length.
- Open your knees and connect the soles of your feet to one another, sliding blocks underneath each knee. This allows the legs to drape open and gently stretch the hips and groin without strain, while adding a nice sense of grounding.
- There are a few arm variations for this pose, each with their own benefits, but because this is all about self-love, I’m opting for the variation with one hand placed on your belly, the other on your heart. This will provide some extra grounding, while providing you with a physical connection to yourself. (If this isn’t comfortable for you, simply allow your arms to rest out along your side, palms facing up.)
- Once you’re settled in the pose, allow your eyes to slip shut and begin to deepen your breath. Spend 3 to 5 minutes (or longer!) in this pose, enjoying the benefits of blossoming your heart open while feeling supported by the earth below you.
To come out of the pose, close your knees to touch, moving your feet out as wide as your mat. Take a few breaths here, as this allows for any tension in the lower back to release. Gently roll off the blanket to the right side, taking a moment to enjoy this fetal like position. Use the press of your palms into the earth to come up to a seat.
Rose (Rosa damascena)
Essential oils are a natural enzyme for healing, distilled from the very peels, leaves, needles, seeds, woods, roots, flowers, resins, and barks we find in nature. A single oil attributes to a vast range of benefits, making it easy to incorporate them into your life on a daily basis.
Anoint yourself with this floral scent to invoke feelings of self-love! Among many other health and wellness benefits, Rose Oil is an anti-depressant, making it the perfect oil to fight any Valentine’s Day blues you may experience. By boosting self-esteem, confidence, and mental strength, Rose oil will transcend you into an uplifted state of harmonized well-being. Dab a few drops (diluted) on your wrists, below the ears, or at the center of your chest, inspiring your heart to blossom open.
*Pure medicinal grade essential oils are very potent – a little goes a long way. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, like Jojoba oil or coconut oil, when applying topically, especially if you have sensitive skin like me!
A mantra can be defined as a sacred sound, word, or phrase, typically used in repetition to assist in meditation. The word mantra has two parts: man, which is the root of the Sanskrit word for mind, and tra, which is the root of the word instrument. Therefore, mantra = instrument of the mind.
It can be very empowering to hear your own voice recite these mantras, and I encourage you to find some time throughout your day where you can become vocally acquainted with these mantras. However, reciting them in your mind throughout the day in more public places, where you prefer to not get weird stares is just as valid! I have a collection of mantras on a note in my IPhone, making it easily accessible for me to recite a mantra in my mind during my commute on the metro or as I walk throughout the city. In honor of self-love, I offer you this mantra from Louise Hay:
These self-love practices are lovely to try on their own, or combine all three for the ultimate self-love experience. Rinse, repeat and shine on, my friends!
Love, light and gratitude,
P.S. Please consider donating to this amazing film project…yours truly will be dancing in the film!
“This is a story of transparency. Days of Dust is a short, poetic narrative that brings to the surface the concept of lost love that lingers still. Illustrated through transforming famous paintings into moving images, this film will bring the art of cinema and the art of the canvas into real depictions of life and love.”