Welcome hOMe: get to know Rebecca
“My teacher told me, live in the soul, and when it was so I began to run naked, and dance.”
~ Lalla Ded (1320-1392) 14th Century, female, mystic poet
Rebecca J. Briggs is a lover, mother, yogi, writer, advocate and teacher of yoga and organic, natural health.
My mission is to inspire and help educate people on ways to come hOMe to their own true Self, aligned with the Divine and Mother Nature, inside and throughout. A Certified Nutritionist through NINE (National Institute Nutrition Education, 1994) and Health Coach through the Integrated Institute of Nutrition (IIN, 2016), I am a Yoga Alliance Registered Certified Interdisciplinary Vinyasa Yoga Teacher (Nosara Institute, 2002) with over 35,000 hours of private student, and public class teaching time.
A year round resident of beautiful Martha’s Vineyard since 2015, I also call my native state of Rhode Island “hOMe”. I lived all of my 30’s out west, and for over 14 years was fortunate to live and work in some of the most spectacular and interesting places in the US, from the Green Mountains of VT, to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco and on Big Basin Vineyard in Boulder Creek, CA north of cool Santa Cruz. I taught school on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations in Northern AZ and for three years lived and taught in surreal Sedona, AZ, later to return to my beloved southwest by way of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the muddy grounds and snowy peaks of Taos, NM where I had a radio show and traveled throughout the southwest as an herbal educator and natural products representative teaching in health food stores and co-ops.
Some of my most precious memories and teachings were during my years working and living amongst the medicinal herb fields and gardens of southern OR’s Siskiyou Mountains, where Herb Pharm Herbal Extract Company held stewardship and service over 85 acres of Mother Nature’s wild and organic medicine plants in a valley north of Ashland, OR, another splendid community I was blessed to be a citizen of.
My hOMes are where my heart and soul loves to just “be”, whether in waking day or sleepy memory- in universal connectivity with our ONE True Mother- Nature, and our One True Father- God, the Divine, Infinite Intelligence (Nature & God, being ONE and the Same, as referred to in yoga as the creative forces and great lovers, “Shiva & Shakti”); together Shiva and Shakti make existence and non existence possible- and we, created by their forces are One with their forces, and are also graced with the consciousness to be aware and in awe and love of it all, including our own mystical magic.
Exploring and traversing the world beyond my hOMe country, as a student and teacher of ethnobotanical folk lore and medicine, of yoga and meditation and of natural health-care cultural heritages and practices, has been a journey I am still on, and hope to continue with my own son, Shane, now living in the Northern California Redwoods of Mendonoma with his father. A place vibrating with the revered presence of the great trees, Pacific mist and intimidating terrane.
I wonder what my son will grow to live out and explore within and throughout his connection with this ONE great world. I’ve harvested wild thyme and arnica in the Italian Alps, studied and became certified in Thai massage in central and northern Thailand; I’ve eaten with and hiked alongside the Maca root farmers in the Andean Alta Plano of Peru, and practiced and taught yoga in the shalas of Bali and in the yulapas of Costa Rica, joyfully along side geckos, sloths and friends from all over this earthship hOMe we share. How cool it all is- how exciting a place it is to live and serve.
Where ever I journey, hOMe is where my heart is, connecting with people, places, plants and with The Divine Consciousness which interconnects us all. It is here, deep within the secure and spacious hOMe of our hearts and souls, where the journey never ends, where yoga and meditation practices begin, land, and return, and where I like to teach my students to dwell.
REBECCA’S EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATIONS AS YOUR YOGA & MEDITATION TEACHER, MASSAGE THERAPIST & HEALTH COACH
First certified through The Nosara Institute in Nosara, Costa Rica, 2002, and currently an ongoing student of Sianna Sherman’s and Ashley Turner’s, I’ve also trained in the Kripalu, Iyengar and Ashtanga, Baptist and Prana Flow styles and traditions of yoga, and as an honored and proud student of Samantha Shakti Brown’s, Deb Neubauer’s and Sarah Davidson’s I dedicated years to studying the heartfully aligned Anusara Yoga method of teaching, and will forever be a student of the non-dualistic Tantric philosophy it encompasses, and a practitioner of Tantra, Meta and Transcendental Meditation (since 1996).
I have over 25 years of a sustained personal yoga and meditation practice, which feeds my teachings, and continually serves my students. I acknowledge and often reflect upon the lessons I receive from my teachers, including my now almost 15 year old son, Shane, and from my decades of students, clients, partners and mentors, as well as from a multitude of great world leaders, scholars, natural health care practitioners, artists, poets, philosophers, family members and real and mythic heroes. I like to tell stories, authentically, from my heart, as passed down by other storytellers, including my mom and dad. I take great comfort when able to recall the inspiring words of others whom have touched me deeply and changed my perspective, or incited new awarenesses within. I like to quote from the Bagavagita, and recite from heart the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, Lalla, or here in the US the works of naturalists like Robert Frost, Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry. I also often share words of wisdom and light from Martin Luther King, Marianne Williamson and Joseph Campbell.
I feel courageous more than not, and am not afraid to teach what needs to be taught, and go where only grace can clear the way- it is one of my lessons in this lifetime, to wait for grace to make the space to act, teach or speak. Always at the beginning of my yoga classes, I hold space for us all to set intentions for how we wish to feel and be, and I thread a theme to help us all attune with nature and our highest Selves.
I like to pass along mythic yoga stories on ancient Indian figures, divas, priests and heroes, like Gonapati Ganesha, Hanuman or Shiva & Shakti, and I weave the stories through our practice with prana moving as our life force carried on our breathing, and emotion shifting as ‘energy in motion’ with our posturing, and chita vriti, our mind shatter, settling and stilling with our awareness that all the parts of who we are, are as ONE- within our own beings and through out each other and the Universe.
We are all on our own Hero’s Journey, faced with difficulties and great joys often hard to grasp or hard to let go of, but within and throughout these epic lives we lead, our souls get scoured and scrubbed with suffering, and are new and new again. hOMe.
“Stories have a way of freeing us from isolation; they connect us with the sameness of our emotions – we all have feelings of fear and joy, and when we reflect on our trials and tribulations through the characters in a story, we can gather fresh new incite and acquire a sense of universal support.” ~ Rebecca
I am also a Certified Thai Massage Therapist (since 1996, through Lek Cheiya in Chiang Mai, Thailand) and have extensive experience in the botanical medicine field as an herbal educator, ethno-botanical researcher, and representative of Herb Pharm, the nation’s number one selling herbal extract company. I studied with several of the world’s top master herbalists including “Herbal Ed” Smith, Rosemary Gladstar, Christopher Hobbs, Michael Tierra, Chanchal Cabrera and Amanda McQuade Crawford (just to name a few). Rebecca is also humbled by, and cherishes her experience as a single mother raising a young son in today’s world of extremes. For every example of corporate greed and disrespect, of toxicity and hatred, there is flip of momentous opportunity and awareness and of empathic compassion and people giving and willing to serve, while being grateful for life’s precious qualities. Rebecca has decades of experience working with yoga and nutrition clients faced with ill health and both low to high means. The students that she most enjoys serving and whom most benefit from her style of teaching, range from Prenatal and Postnatal moms and babies, to grade school through high school students, working parents and middle-lifers seeking peace of mind or their higher calling. Whether happy and content with Self, or depressed, dealing with cancer or divorce, or plain over anxiousness in this crazy world or our crazy minds – all of us planetary people need to discover and maintain practices of spiritual connectivity within and throughout.
hOMnaturale is Rebecca’s way of sharing what she has learned (and continues to learn) through her years of education and experience, and her intention is to offer ongoing practices and practical information, which instills the importance and benefits of coming hOMe to nature- which is ultimately the only constant in life and the only way we can help others help themselves.
HOW I CAME TO KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ONE WITH NATURE
My dedication to natural wellness became engrained in my every cell while teaching school in beautiful Northern AZ, first on the Navajo reservation, and later full time in Sedona, AZ. It was here I ran rivers (the Colorado, Salt, Snake, and Verde) with other like-minded, nature-loving teachers, and met my first “plant listeners”, herbalists and shamans. It was in the canyons, deserts and ponderosa forests of the great southwest where I delved deep into the culture of the Hopi and Dinah (the native Navajo people) and into the preservation of our greatest national natural treasures, namely The Grand Canyon, Colorado River and our nation’s old growth forests. A 2nd grade teacher and environmental educator at West Sedona Elementary School, I was also an interpreter at The Red Rock State Park, and taught Project Wild and Project Learning Tree to other teachers through out Arizona. I’ve always been a long time advocate of protecting our natural heritage from the dangers posed by over building, over logging and nuclear waste transport. I was an “Earth First’er” and “Friends of the River” gentle warrior, fighting for mother earth and the people, flora and fauna that lived in the threat of man’s ego-centric tactics.
MY TRAINING AS YOUR HEALTH EDUCATOR, YOGA TEACHER & CHEERLEADER
In 1994 I earned a Certificate as a Nutritionist, CN, and managed Natural Foods Stores and Departments while educating staff and customers on the virtues of food as thy medicine, and herbs and supplements as the catalyst to regain equilibrium within the body.
Living again out west in New Mexico, and then Oregon and still later San Francisco, CA, I studied herbal medicine from Rosemary Gladstar, Chanchal Cabrera, Amanda McQuade Crawford, David Hawthorne, Michael Tierra, David Winston, Kathy Keville, Mindy Green and James Green, Stephen Foster, Christopher Hobbs and my partner of almost six years, Ed Smith, aka “Herbal Ed” of Herb Pharm Herbal Extracts and Herbal Apprenticeship Program.
It was with Ed that I traveled the world researching the ethnobotanical uses and stories behind the herbs, and through Ed that I came to study Thai massage during our many trips to Thailand, and became Certified in the traditional Thai massage art form. Through Ed and his former wife and business partner, Sara Katz’s great mentoring and role modeling, I came to recognize that integrity is everything. Respect yourself, your word, your work, the land that provides your food, medicine and livelihood, and always live in gratitude, and teach what most needs to be taught and remembered, teach what the earth teaches us, and do it with humility and as service to others and to your own fulfillment of purpose and potential. Ed was the thinker, master of visualization, and he actualized many a big dream. I will always love him for his courage to love himself, me and his life as boldly as he did and continues to do.
In 2001 after over nine more years out west, I began to gradually shift my perspective from the world I was living in with great abundance, to the world I’d like to create for myself with all it’s trials and tribulations, challenges and bliss, I decided to move back to Rhode Island for every cell in my body wanted to have a child or at least birth my self anew life. At the apex of this transition from all that I was, to all that I longed to be, I had another manic episode, but in the great hands of a whole tribe of natural healers (Ed and his fellow herbalist friends) I transitioned from my illness into an uncertain mental state and needed to recuperate so I did, and with travel I found my self again.
On the tragic day of September 11th, I was in Bali already missing the US, and when the towers fell, so did my heart. It was painfully clear I needed my hOMe to be with family, and I longed for a family of my own, to be less narcissistic and to love and care for someone other than myself and my lover. In this case a man that although still in a loving relationship with, was no longer someone I felt I could not let go. By October I was driving solo cross country, listening to Ekhart Tole’s “The Power of Now” with the intent to move back to RI and come hOMe to my heart once again. Reconnecting with a long, lost college friend, we found solace and special healing time with in each other’s company. Within a few months we were pregnant with a child – a blessed gift of God, my son Shane.
Maintaining and intensifying my yoga practice I got my 200 hour teaching certificate and four months pregnant opened my first yoga studio in the heart of Wickford, RI. More than 30,000 hours of teaching later, and several styles of training and experience I now teach a blend of the vinyasa flow I love, with the heart opening alignment based practice that was taught so beautifully for almost fifteen years as Anusara Yoga and is now still practiced in the hearts and themes and principles of many of this nations most regarded master teachers. Those I am honored to say I most practice and study with our Sianna Sherman, Elena Brower, Samantha Shakti Brown, Noah Maze, Tiffany Cruikshank, Amy Ippoliti, Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Tara Judelle, Mark Holtzman, Deb Neubauer and Sara Davidson.
hOMnaturale was founded in 2007 when recognizing what mattered most to me, was all these seemingly connected but disparate pieces of my souls journey, and that through my writing, teachings and resourcefulness I could potentially help others. I long, like we all do, to be of service, and I want to contribute to society using my unique experiences, gifts, lessons and wisdom in some way which would help myself and others live a happy, fulfilling life.
My intention is for hOMnaturale to become a source for Self actualization and attunement
with the miracle of our nature.