Seven Springs Story
We are a family business with a common vision and passion to share with our community
I (Jessi) was blessed to grow up on this 126 acre piece of sacred land. As a young child, I remember spending my days playing in the creek and in the forest. As I grew I did not quite appreciate the unique childhood I experienced, but now that I am older, I have chosen to return to this home with my husband to build a retreat center with my family. We do this to share the beauty and gifts of this land with our community and our world.
About the family:
Since a young age, Jessi has studied dance and creative movement. She was also inspired by her international wanderlust family and pursued her passion for international non-profit work after studying at Washington University in St. Louis. Jessi spent 8 years working with the Guatemalan people to empower women, children, and whole communities through fair trade programs and access to education. Her JUSTA Collective non-profit programs continue this work for education, health and nutrition, and social entrepreneurship.
Since her first teacher training in 2008, Jessi has creatively led retreats and workshops throughout the States, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Bali, and Costa Rica. She completed her RYT500 hour certification in 2012 and now leads teacher trainings in these places she most enjoys to share.
Jessi teaches a Vinyasa based practice to combine elements of dance and natural movement with traditional yogic sequencing. She incorporates attention to rhythm of the breath, and allows for organic movement to flow in each pose. She is grateful for the journey of yogic creativity and loves to share this movement of bliss with others along the way.
Zachary Towne-Smith is a passionate connector. His innate creativity, flexible perspective, and quick smile make him a natural leader, inspiring participation and thoughtful consensus in the wide array of groups he works with. He has dedicated his life to the study and development of intercultural relations and the facilitation of innovative solutions for sustainable well-being. His Cum Laude B.A. from Harvard College led him to explore issues of privilege and work for justice from his hometown of Philadelphia to the Guatemala City garbage dump. This work has taken him throughout the Americas engaging diverse stakeholders in strategic planning through the development of creative and critical thinking in fields such as education, public health, business, creative industries, and entrepreneurship. You can read more about his work here: http://www.caracolconsulting.com/
He expresses his own creativity through music, photography, and capoeira bringing insights from these arts into his facilitation and mediation. He believes that interpersonal relationships and creativity are the keys to sustainable innovation, and brings a unique skill set to his work with individuals and groups in settings ranging from corporate board rooms to dirt-floored rural schools. His multi-cultural and multi-lingual fluency are valuable assets as groups develop and maintain creative environments of respect and trust.
Watch his TedX talk here.
Herman's mother brought him from Germany to Maryville to live with his stepfather at the tender age of 9. His story of adaptation to East Tennessee culture is an example of building community. After military service and travel abroad he returned home in 1976 to help his mother work their new farm. Mary was a college student when they met a few months later. Together they studied agriculture, plant sciences, animal husbandry, and forestry at University of Tennessee, melding select principles with those from the "back to the land movement" on their new land. Realizing he also needed skills to repair farm equipment, Herman studied welding, They then created Sweet Hollow Landscaping, a greenhouse, design and landscape construction company, which thrived for nearly 20 years as a family business. Herman later became a journeyman welder and master pipefitter with 35 years experience of fixing, repairing and building things out of metal. Mary continued in conservation and ecology work throughout the States, Puerto Rico, and parts of Asia. Now Herman's skills as master builder and Mary's offerings as ecologist - naturalist provide invaluable support to Seven Springs in everything from visioning to implementation.
Wendy and Danny have a beautiful organic farm called Santosa in Pulaski, Tennessee where they mix southern hospitality with Ayurvedic wisdom. They join us at Seven Springs during retreats to provide meals and so much more. Wendy holds a 500hr certification in Yoga Therapy, as well as lifetimes of wisdom. She nurtures those at Seven Springs in our minds, bodies, spirits, and our bellies. To say that they’re the kitchen staff is like saying yoga is stretching. They are SO MUCH more than that. Whether it’s building labyrinths, sharing ancient eastern wisdom, or offering a comforting ear to people in times of need, they have made themselves a cornerstone of the Seven Springs experience.