Jennifer Nelson, LMT, NCTMB, RYT-200
Jen moved from Pittsburg, PA in 1998 to study music at NYU, in hopes of making a break as a singer, in the “capital of entertainment.” The hustle and bustle of New York living proved to be less romanic than she envisioned, and Jen quickly realized that while music was her passion, it wasn’t paying the rent. A few connections and interviews later, she found herself working at the New York Stock Exchange. Apparently she had the “right kinda personality” so they overlooked the nose ring and put her on the floor. While she did enjoy the fast paced environment, excitement, and bigger pay checks, Jen felt devoid of a creative outlet, and after a while that wasn’t an exchange she was willing to make anymore.
In 2007, Jen decided to take a leap of faith and leave the security of the stock exchange in pursuit something she felt a greater connection with. She always liked working with her hands, creating things, and felt it would be rewarding to be able to spend a little bit of time with a stranger and potentially make their day better. Jen enrolled in a 2 year program at the New York College for Health Professions & became board certified as a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist. Part of the curriculum was learning yoga postures to facilitate proper body alignment as a therapist. However, for her, yoga became more about leaning how support of the breath will not only move you through a physical practice but can also change your emotions, mood, outlook, and sense of connectedness to something greater than yourself.
Immediately after massage school and eager to share what she learned, Jen went to work at a few spas. While her first jobs provided with an opportunity to practice, she was limited in the ways should could work with clients and felt there was still something missing. She realized that she wanted to own a Wellness Center of some sort… but at that point it seemed very far in the future. She had an idea of something more, but didn’t know how to manifest it yet.
Jen eventually completely broke away from “Corporate America,” and decided to move towards private practice. Keeping with her Wall St. savvy, she knew that in order to be successful she needed to distinguish herself as a therapist. Remembering a book her father gave her by John F. Barnes, “Healing Ancient Wounds,” Jen decided to explore a specialization known as Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR). The results John would get when apparently other therapies and medical interventions weren’t working for people were mind-blowing to Jen. For her, MFR gave her the tools to investigate the root cause of people’s pain/ailments opposed to simply providing symptom management.
Furthermore, she found that MFR forced her to really tune into the individual she was working with, use all of her senses to get to know them, investigate how their bodies work, and watch how they respond. Unlike her work at the spa, with MFR, she found she never treated two people the same way, or the same person in two different sessions for that matter. Letting go of protocol, re-connected her to a sense of creativity she traded in at the stock exchange, and filled Jen with inspiration.
In 2013, Jen met Vanessa Cafiero through a business networking group and instantly became friends. She started to attend classes at her studio and found that between the dharma talks, chanting and hands on adjustments, the yoga sessions at Emerge were very different than what she had experienced previously. She saw how the students responded to Vanessa and loved how there were so many other services that were offered (beyond just yoga)… it seemed like a community of people (both staff and patrons) that really enjoyed being a part of what was done there.
“It started to dawn on me that this looked a lot like what I aspired to create myself one day…and then for whatever reason, Vanessa asked me if I wanted to be a part of it.”
In July 2014, Jen completed the 200HR Yoga Teacher Training with Vanessa & officially became Co-Owner & Director of Emerge Yoga & Wellness. Jen has always wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than herself & felt this partnership was in alignment with her greater dreams & aspirations. Jen is excited to explore limitless possibilities and continues to search to offer more wellness solutions and the most comprehensive care to her clients.