Jamie Rissman

Jamie grew up in New Orleans with five brothers and sisters, and when she was seven, she started her gymnastics career. In addition to five nights a week gym practice, Jamie also swam competitively in the summers for 13 years. To say she was an athlete would be an understatement. When she was in high school, Jamie was on the cross country and track team. In her junior and senior years of high school, Jamie was a cheerleader and enjoyed tumbling and being at the top of pyramids. After high school, Jamie went on to college where she began dipping into biking, outdoor adventure challenges, and triathlon training.

All this great fun came to a sudden stop when Jamie tore her left quadricep tendon. Most likely from years of tumbling and running on it, but it didn't help when Jamie was in a motor vehicle accident. Her left knee was struck by the automobile from the impact of the crash. Jamie was on her way to a four-hour adventure challenge on the morning of her car accident, and consequently had to call her teammates and de-qualify herself from the race. This left Jamie with a huge loss of purpose. She knew her down time after a surgery would affect her quality of life. Taking away all the things she loved to do on her free time was a real awakening for Jamie.

During the summer of 2004, Jamie began her road to recovery to repair and strengthen her extremely atrophied left leg. It took a lot of mental strength for Jamie to not give up or quit her physical therapy. Some of the exercises made tears roll down her cheeks just to push out one of a set.

Three short months after her surgery, Jamie experienced another horrific disaster. Hurricane Katrina arrived, and drove Jamie out of her New Orleans residence. Jamie found a tremendous amount of self-pressure and stress to find a job, plus quickly renew her efforts for her knee. It took a couple of months of living in her new Chicago apartment until a friend mentioned a hot yoga class to Jamie. She decided to give the class a try since stretching and strengthening her knee was her most important priority.

Twelve years later, Jamie is still practicing the same yoga (and married the friend who recommended the yoga to her). To say the yoga helped heal Jamie mentally and physically would be an understatement. Jamie's yoga teacher told her she would be a great teacher, and should consider becoming a yoga teacher. Although the thought of teaching yoga intrigued Jamie, it was not her immediate goal. Her goal was to focus on herself and get her knee back to the way it was before her accident.

Jamie continued to practice the hot yoga and loved the results she was getting. She was strengthening her knee, plus receiving a bonus gift from the yoga. The bonus gift this yoga provided Jamie was the opportunity to shut down the outside interferences, like people telling her what to do or say. The gift of being able to listen to your body was exactly what Jamie needed. The yoga was the way Jamie could stop listening to what everyone else said and focus on her growth and transformation. Since this yoga had changed Jamie's life, she decided to become a teacher and share the gift of healing and self-realization with others would be the best way to give back.

Jamie received her 500-hour certification in April 2008 in Acapulco, Mexico. Right after TT, Jamie began teaching for Bikram Yoga for multiple studios. The teaching feels natural to Jamie because she has been through many ups & downs in life and can relate to her students who have also injured themselves or experienced hardship.

In late 2009, Jamie and her husband got married and became pregnant with identical twin girls. Jamie continued to teach and practice hot yoga 4-5 times a week. In 2011, Jamie attended the first Pregnancy Yoga Guide led by Rajashree Choudhary and Dr. Doreen Wiggins, MD Professor at Brown University. Jamie wanted to attend this guide to Pregnancy Yoga to better help her yoga students who became pregnant or wanted to soon become pregnant. Again in 2012, Jamie and her husband became pregnant with her youngest daughter, and she continued teaching and practicing hot yoga 4-5 times a week.

In 2009, Jamie learned of the US Yoga Asana Championship. She felt inclined to choreograph a three-minute yoga routine (similar to her gymnastics days). Although she did not place, Jamie realized the benefits that came from competing. The community of yogis that compete together on-stage support, lift, and inspire each other. The holding still while breathing reveals the purest form of presence. Applying everything you have learned cumulatively and putting it all together in front of a crowd is an opportunity to inspire and empower others to take on the practice and gain the benefits of yoga. Jamie has coached several athletes and travels widely and leads workshops and retreats.

Jamie is the 2015 and 2016 IL Yoga Asana Champion. She is moving ahead to the US Yoga Asana National Championship in August in Michigan. A goal of Jamie's is to place Top Ten in the US this year.

Jamie has studied a great deal with master teacher Mary Jarvis. In 2016, Jamie completed the Next Level Intermediate Yoga Teacher Training in Chicago led by Gianna Purcell. In 2017, Jamie completed the Rainbow Kids' Yoga Teacher Training in Chicago led by Lesley Carney.

Currently, Jamie teaches the 60 minute and 90 minute Beginner's Bikram class and the Next Level Intermediate Class. When she's not in the hot room doing yoga, you can find Jamie upside down hand standing or back bending while she waits at the bus stop with her kiddos.

In the near future, Jamie plans to add the title of a Health Coach to her resume. Receiving an education from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to help empower others to transform their health and happiness would be a dream come true for Jamie. Jamie is also a member of the USA Yoga Youth Outreach Program. She passionately assists the non-profit organization by promoting youth yoga by hosting webinars and clinics for youth across the world.