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Archetypal Woman Series: Joie Ruggiero

The old one-dimensional female archetypes -- the soccer mom, the starving artist, the successful-but-lonely boss lady -- are dead. Women are creating new, multidimensional archetypes and defying stereotypes.

The most fulfilled women are constantly creating in multiple areas of their lives, whereas burnout often happens when we feel like the routine of our day job is all we have time for. The Archetypal Woman Series is a tribute to inspiring women who rearrange time and space to explore and excel in a range of activities. May their stories encourage you to expand into your own uniqueness for the benefit of you and everyone in your orbit.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work you do?

I’m fortunate to be able to work in fitness at a time when we are seeing how important and life-changing movement is. I’ve studied dance since I was three years old, and fitness was a natural career choice when I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a professional dancer. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over a decade, and in that time I’ve worked to carve out how my talents and skills as a dancer, mixed with my spiritual upbringing, impact how I work with my clients. I was raised in the tradition of Kundalini Yoga, and so I was blessed from a young age with an understanding of how bodies move through space, and how that movement might affect our lives more subtly.

I work with clients one-on-one and in group settings to teach people the potent and profound power of their bodies to create dynamic and lasting change, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well

We are in a time of rapid change! What encouraging trends are you seeing in your industry?

It’s interesting because fitness as an industry didn’t really exist before 1970, and so fitness is truly still in its infancy. In this short time, the fitness industry has already made such huge strides. Fitness isn’t just fitness anymore. For so many people it is not enough to workout for the sake of working out. It is not enough to workout for the sake of external validation. In a way, we are realizing or remembering what we already intuitively know, that the fitness of the physical body is an access panel to experiencing the divine, the infinite, or whatever you might call it.

I’m stoked when I see more brands embracing the deeper implications of movement. How we move through space impacts everyone we encounter, and likely many more people we’ll never meet, and so it’s encouraging to see brands moving towards social and environmental responsibility, to see brands moving to represent broader demographics, to see brands moving towards inclusivity. Moving with intention leaves a palpable impression on the collective psyche.

What are some practical tools you use to help manage your time and energy?

It’s funny, every time I sit with my spiritual teachers and I wonder how to be a better human being, the answer is almost always “do more yoga”. Since I use my physicality as a tool to motivate my clients, I often don’t feel like I have any energy left to do more movement. But no matter how much I might resist getting to the mat and doing more yoga, it works every time. A three-minute pranayama exercise can be way more energizing than a one-hour nap, and so my first line of defense from burnout is Kundalini Yoga.

One little unexpected productivity hack I’ve discovered is wearing a Fitbit. Picking up my phone to see who’s calling when I’m in a workflow has the tendency to lead to breaking that workflow to “check” Instagram, or Tiktok, which leads to a significant amount of time wasted. When I’m wearing my Fitbit, I’ll get text and call notifications, and if it’s not something I need to deal with right away, I don’t feel the need to pick up my phone. Then I can bypass the cascade of habitual social media scrolling.

This is the Archetypal Woman Series, where we shine a spotlight on women who are bringing forth new, multidimensional ways of living and working. How would you describe the archetype you’re bringing onto the planet?

The archetypal energy I hope to embody is a shapeshifter. She works to understand those around her more compassionately by physically activating their feelings and perspectives within herself. She’s a fierce warrior willing to embody other’s experiences in order to find commonality. In this way she can build a solid base with which to inspire mutual growth.

Can you tell us about a woman who has had significant impact on the trajectory of your career? What lessons did she impart?

Haha, Guru Jagat. She was actually a client at the fitness studio I worked in and that’s where we first met. It’s funny because I met her at a time when I was deeply dissatisfied with what I perceived to be the superficiality of the fitness industry, and she reminded me of the deeper implications movement can have for the human psyche. It would be years before we met again at RA MA, but I’ll never forget meeting her that first time. I don’t think I would be using my background in Kundalini Yoga technology in the way I do had it not been for her. I’ve never met a more hard-working person in my life.

What's next for you? Do you have any projects in the pipeline you'd like us to know about? How can we support you and your work?

I’m in the process of setting up my next online offering. We ran our first retreat in January of 2019, and we will eventually be promoting live events like that in the future, but with the current climate, it became apparent to me that having something that people can access without having to travel (or even leave the house) is crucial. We are preparing an online membership portal that will feature exclusive workouts and yoga practices designed to help people unlock creativity and innate powers of manifestation. Stay tuned!

What message do you want to share with the world?

Ask yourself what would happen if you participated fully, if you went “all in”, if you held nothing back in pursuit of your goal? What would happen if you didn’t have any regard for what you looked like while you did it? Ask yourself where the limit of “you” is, and then get curious if that’s the truth, or just a story you picked up. Ask yourself how you can give more, rather than less. Ask yourself what would happen if you did it all the way? For me, the answer was: freedom.

You can follow Joie on Instagram @joililikoi, and keep an eye on her website for updates on her latest offerings. You can also access her classes on RA MA TV!

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