Our Girl of the Month for July is Jackie Stewart, an NYC-based meditation teacher, model, actress, and mother. We caught up with her for a conversation about meditation, motherhood, and Pitusa. She considers each question with kind attention, and by the end of the interview, we felt the same relaxed awareness we get from her meditation classes. Jackie lives and teaches in the concrete jungle, where everyone is stressed out 24/7/365, so her laidback attitude is a testament to her practice (and perhaps a leftover from her California-upbringing). Before teaching, she was a model and actress exclusively (which she still does when she can squeeze it in with raising her 10 -month-old son Phoenix and teaching.)
Jackie observes that each experience, every event in her life has led her to now, This Moment. That’s the philosophy, but in fact, her particular Now was very much formed by her prior adventures. “Modeling,” she says, “took me around the world, exposed me to situations my wildest dreams couldn’t even fathom and supported me through grad school. Acting demanded a rawness and authenticity you can only learn by embracing how beautiful some of the messiest parts of life can be. It taught me how to listen deeper, how to stay emotionally available, and how potent the power of presence is. I believe all these experiences only deepen my ability to teach.”
Everyone knows the feeling. You show up to a meditation studio with hope and anxiety. Teeth clenched and stressed out, you sit in front of your calm and collected teacher, whose serene warmth seems like a mythic achievement you will never even approach. At Pitusa, we’re fascinated by origin stories of female bad-asses like Jackie, and for once, we are prepared to pick her brain. Usually, after a great meditation class, we waft wordlessly back into the world, emptied of desire, even the desire to indulge our curiosity about the teacher responsible for the attitude adjustment made in just 60 minutes.
Now was our chance to learn about the teacher we’ve learned so much from. “What’s interesting is I didn’t initially set out to teach meditation,” Jackie says. “Meditation pulled me along on a journey of self-discovery, and teaching emerged from the deep love I have for the teachings. What started as a retreat in Nepal from my crazy life in NYC turned into an earnest exploration of finding balance and connecting inward to what matters most to me in this life. And I think it’s something we all can relate to—questions like what brings me true happiness? Or a deep sense of peace? What’s this whole life thing about? I find living in the questions more refreshing than having any finite answer.”
Jackie is guided by a hands-on faith in human connectedness. “Through meditation, I’ve come to understand that none of us exists in an isolated bubble. We are so interconnected, we desperately need each other to function in the world. Whether it is the farmers who grow the food that nourishes us, artisans who put clothes on our back, people who cared enough to teach us about life, or our friends and family who show us that we’re still lovable even when we don’t feel we’re worthy, we need each other.”
While we can’t all be Bill and Melinda Gates, Jackie swears it doesn’t have to be complicated: “Philanthropy can take shape in so many ways! We all have something to offer. It’s just a matter of figuring out how we can share ourselves. If you have time, volunteer. If you have money, donate. If you have a following, talk about it. If you’re eligible, vote. There are so many ways to show we care, and by being engaged we can create systemic change with the potential for huge impact.”
“Becoming a mother has been amazing! It’s the most challenging, fulfilling thing I’ve done. What I’ve learned in the past 10 months is that I can only be as present and patient as a mother to Phoenix as I’m being to myself; if I’m not taking care of my own body and mind in the most basic ways (nutrition, sleep, and relationships) I can’t show up for him the way I’d like to be. It has made the biggest difference.”
On her fave Pitusa pieces
“I’ve fallen in love with the Pima Sundress and Pima Inca Jumpsuit. I live in these pieces! Sometimes I’ll sleep in my jumpsuit, shower, and put it right back on for the day–this might have been gross before I became a mom and comfort became paramount. These are pieces that can transform with your transforming body. As a nursing mom, finding something comfortable that still fits your style AND has easy access to nurse was super challenging. The sundress and jumpsuit are amazing because I can go from mom-life to teacher to date night in total comfort and still feel effortlessly put together.”
Jackie’s take on being a Pitusa Girl of the Month is beautifully expressed. “It’s so exciting to be featured as GOTM. There’s something fresh and youthful about being called a girl again! I’m also honored to be in the company of other amazing women.” Jackie tells it like it is, and never hesitates to hold other people (especially women) up. Use JACKIE25 at checkout for a 25% discount site-wide! Check out her tips below for getting your meditation on.
TIPS ON BEGINNING A MEDITATION PRACTICE
For many of us, meditation can feel intimidating; we mistakenly think we have to immerse ourselves in a particular practice and follow it to the letter. In fact, meditation can be easily slipped into your routine; all you need is patience. It’s most effective with the very people who believe they are hopelessly un-spiritual because they bring the humility one needs to learn a new practice or skill. Jackie gave us some tailored suggestions for our Pitusa fam to start a path to mindfulness.
• Just show up and give it a whirl.
• Find a studio or meditation center where you can get some guidance from a teacher.
• Check out my beginner friendly 5-minute meditations a collaboration with MNDFL x Fresh. They are offered online for free here.
• Discover my in-depth meditations with MNDFL through their video subscription so you can have a teacher with you wherever you are.
The Pitusa Quiz
Star sign? Aquarius
Preferred workout? Yoga/Pilates/Barre- basically anything stretchy or dance-y
Favorite vacation destination? Asia… all of it.
Any morning rituals? Meditation and warm lemon water
Coffee, tea or smoothie? Love a good chai!
Any guilty pleasures? Cheese… but I don’t feel guilty about it
Favorite charity? The Miracle Foundation
Favorite cocktail? Moscow Mule
And quote? It’s sort of a poem…
We danced all night, I’m still waiting for the sun to come up, I don’t care if it ever does, I’m warm enough. -Anis Mojgani