We had the good fortune of connecting with Rita James and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rita, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes~

Upon reflection, this quote is meaningful to me because it reminds me of the woman I have been, what has happened in my life and what life is like now. We all have a story to share and some of us spend our whole lives hiding from that story.  I have spent the last 15 years of my life uncovering that story and bearing witness for others to see that there is hope in this life.   This quote is a great reminder about our  humanity and how we can best support and connect with one another when we our showing our souls to one another.   I equate this to the following vision, I have one hand reaching out in front of me for guidance, and another hand extended behind me guiding the next person who may not be able to see the light just yet.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am proud and excited that I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams! It has taken a lot of yes’s to the wrong jobs before getting to the dream work I get to do today. Once I made a decision to follow all the doors that opened organically, began believing in myself, immersed myself in deep personal work (so cliche’ but true) and let the women in my community feed me the encouragement and inspiration I needed. My true love is helping and connecting with others. I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years now and born out of my own injury came a unique form of restorative yoga. By showing up despite my injury I had to change the way I practiced and taught my classes. I began to tap into my own life experiences and felt sense about these experiences and theme my classes from my own life. We all have a story to unravel and share, I started to share mine in class..One thing led to another and restorative yoga became an art not just by designing and theming classes but I also wanted to give something precious to the students that were coming to class. I could see that after a session with me, some were very emotional while others entire aura had shifted from when they entered the room. It only seemed logical to me to add flowers to my classes, who doesn’t love flowers? I kept showing up teaching class, sharing true stories of humanity and finishing with flowers. Life was in full swing when emotional tragedy struck, I was about to go through two life changing experiences that broke me. One was the death of my brother and the second was the rebirth of me. I was asked to eulogize and plan my brothers entire service. It was a non-traditional service and everything he and I discussed while he was still able to speak. In planning his service I created a mandala out of flowers, my very first one. I cry, just thinking about this. The universe knew how it was propelling me all I had to do was keep saying yes, to all the divine appointments and invitations I would receive from this moment on. Miles away in Bali, someone I hardly knew reached out to me and asked If I wanted to collaborate with her on a cacao ceremony, eventually we met and it was kismet. I kept doing what I love. I want the community to know that I pour loving intentions into all of my work, whether it’s a mandala, a bouquet or an event. If it weren’t for a catalyst of events taking place in my life and not listening to the call to just trust and take the next indicted step, Mandala Mija and Edge of Zen would not exist. Those are my Instagram handles and names of my business. I chose the yoga, then the restorative yoga chose me, and the flowers chose me next. I am just taking the next indicated step.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Self Realization Gardens Beacons Beach Landmark Plant company Four moons spa for a massage Gather Encinitas for yoga Haggos and Birdseye. Fidels in Solana Beach for Mexican food Rising co for coffee and shopping or just hanging out The goods for donuts

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to Courtney and Letha of Four Moons Spa for believing in me and encouraging me always!

Instagram: edgeofzen and mandalamija

Image Credits
Mallory Olenius – yoga photo on beach and yoga photo with me in gold shirt

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.