An internationally acclaimed Yoga Teacher, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Jen Hilman's passion for holistic health practices has led her around the world studying, practicing, and teaching in various countries and cities across the United States. Joining Alive + Well's team as a yoga instructor and massage therapist, Jen is bringing 20 years of dance and movement studies, as well as 10 years of massage and yoga training to the table.
We're thrilled to welcome her as we approach our Grand Opening date in the next few weeks.
Tell us about your background as a yoga instructor & areas of focus
My grandmother was a dance teacher, so from the time I could walk I was wearing a tutu. She had me in dance classes and I continued pursuing dance throughout my life and into college where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Because my study of the body began at such a young age, it seems I was destined to walk the path of body therapies. Upon graduation I moved to Austin to pursue my Texas massage license and began practicing yoga at some of the local studios. After years of practicing massage, I realized my clients needed tools to take their self-care into their own hands and that's when I took a 200-hour yoga teacher training and also received my first introduction to Thai Yoga Massage. It was at that time that I also began making massage and yoga videos for YouTube and that's when things really started to take off. Within a couple of years I was leading Thai Massage retreats around the world, teaching yoga retreats, as well as traveling extensively in the United States teaching workshops and classes, and giving massages everywhere I went!
In your opinion, what roles do yoga and massage play in health and wellness?
Yoga is really the cornerstone of my personal practice. It helps us heal on so many levels. Yoga for self-care is one of the most critical pieces for holistic well-being as it can improve digestion, sleep, range of motion, reduce or eliminate chronic pain in the body, balance emotional extremes and cultivate self-awareness and self-discipline for the dedicated practitioner. There is so much to be gained in the practice, it truly is medicine for the mind, body, and spirit.
Even though I view yoga as the ultimate self-help tool (cause you don't really need anyone else around to do it), there really is nothing quite like receiving a massage. Massage is deeply therapeutic and helps to improve muscle tone, reduce chronic and acute pains, increase circulation, reduce stress and increase feelings of ease and relaxation. Once I discovered Thai massage, things really went to the next level as it perfectly blends massage with yoga stretches. You'd just have to experience it to know, but there really is nothing better!
So, what the heck is Thai massage?
Thai massage is done on a mat on the floor instead of on a massage table. The client stays fully clothed through the whole session so no oil is applied to the body, although I do often incorporate essential oils. It integrates elements of massage and passive yoga seamlessly. Thai massage is often referred to as the "lazy man's yoga" and has many of the same benefits as a yoga class with an added level of deep relaxation. I am so excited to share this nurturing technique with more people and I am confident our Alive + Well guests will love integrating Thai into their regular self-care routine.
What most excites you about being part of Alive + Well?
I am excited to be a part of the Alive + Well community so that I can bring my skills and passions together under one roof and offer the most comprehensive treatments to my clients as possible. I'm also excited to explore some new modalities I've never tried before! New levels of wellness!!!
Who/what inspires you?
Living outside the box! Living off the grid, in harmony with Nature, in perfect balance with myself and my environment. That's the most inspiring thing to me. It's what drives me in every step I take on my path in life. That and helping as many people as I can along the way! My ultimate mission is to help as many people as possible to feel better and live better!
What’s your favorite indulgence?
My favorite indulgence is a hot salt bath. I love adding my essential oils, using my homemade body scrubs, sipping on some tea with some sweet jams on the radio and soaking until the bath gets cold! It makes me feel so luxurious and I love when I make time to take care of myself!
What’s your favorite self-care habit?
I guess my indulgence is a lot like self-care, but on the regs, yoga is my hero. Even a few minutes of stretching will make a huge difference in the way my body feels and it always helps me get to a better mental place, too.