Jackson Hole News & Guide

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Make no mistake: Carol Mann is not a psychic. If you visit her Cosmic Cafe office on South Willow Street she isn't going to tell you your future.

But she may tell you something about your past.

"The important thing is accessing patterns from other lifetimes, which inform who you are now, both in the pluses and in the challenges," Mann said. "Sometimes there are skills that are important to bring to now that you've already developed."

Mann is the voice behind Cosmic Cafe Radio, the one exploring the intersection between science and the paranormal and reminding you to "be in your heart because that is where the action is." The self-described clairvoyant offers a more personal take for those searching for understanding, providing "soul readings," "transmissions" and "channeling" with a gift she has for tuning into an unseen sense.

"We think what we are able to perceive is it," she said. "There's a scientific recognition that our physical senses are unbelievably great and incredibly limited."

While she's come to embrace her abilities (after a lifetime of tapping in and 30 years of making a business out of it, she's come to trust her senses implicitly), her gift wasn't always appreciated by those around her. Especially when she was offering up insights as a kid with no filter.

"I would just say things about people. We would visit family friends and I would say things," Mann said. "And my parents would invite me to please keep my thoughts to myself."

As a kid she did - or rather, she learned to - but it was a calling she couldn't ignore during her college years.

"I basically put it away until graduate school," she said. "I just couldn't not anymore. It was in the 1960s and '70s, and people were becoming interested in things that were not visible to the five senses."

An an undergrad she studied romance languages and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, then went immediately into a master's program at Harvard University to study more about the mind, earning a degree in the psychology of education in 1967.

She traveled a bit after graduation, buying a ticket that took her around the world in three months, starting on the East Coast and heading west until she had flown around the globe. The experience offered her a new take on herself and her place in the world.

"I just felt like somehow in my awareness, I was a citizen of the planet rather than Massachusetts," she said. "It was like I could hold a bigger picture perspective more easily."

She settled into teaching jobs for the next 10 years, then made her way to the Digital Equipment Corporation, a booming computer company. Her job in this sector of corporate America was to run the company's internal training program, which she did for a decade.

It's hard to picture Mann as a suit-strapped executive, because when she's spotted now - often heading into Inversion Yoga to take or give a class - whimsical earrings dangle from her lobes and her hair is long and flowing.

It's hard even for her to picture that past self, she said.

"Somewhere at home I still have a closet of executive clothing," she said with a laugh. "I don't know how I did it, either. But I did."

It was actually her job at the computer company that got her thinking about turning her intuition into a new career.

"People would come to my office ostensibly for business and then they would always say, 'And by the way, can you tell me what this dream means?'" she said. "The employees would call my office 'the Cosmic Cafe,' and that's how I got the name."

Soon after that she started offering "soul readings," something she describes as "a good glimpse into the blueprint" of someone's soul.

"It's like life coaching with a twist," she said. "It's often an affirmation of things you either know or have suspected but somehow haven't made fully conscious. It connects a lot of dots. Knowing more about who you are at a soul level and knowing how that translated into this current life, it connects a lot of dots."

Her work also includes "transmissions," soul readings of those who have died for their living relatives and friends, and "channeling," a process that she describes as becoming a "conduit of information from higher dimensions of reality."

She brought her work to Jackson Hole in the late '80s, when she and her then-husband bought Grand Targhee Resort after visiting on a ski vacation.

"We were in the habit of skiing somewhere in the West every winter," Mann said.

Her brother suggested checking out Targhee, which the couple found could use a little love. They bought the resort in 1987 and ran it for the next 10 years.

When Mann's daughter, Ariel, was old enough to head to middle school, they moved from Alta to Jackson. About six years ago Ariel got her mom hooked on yoga. Three years later Mann picked up what is now her second job, a certified yoga instructor.

She developed her "heartfelt restore" class as a place for yogis to find a "body-mind-spirit" connection. The weekly class at Inversion is a mix of gentle yoga poses and meditation, and a starting point for those just coming into their practices or a place for those wanting a less aggressive class.

"I wanted to offer a different type of class. One of the ideas was, of course, that it would be helpful for aggro-Jackson people to learn to chill a little bit," she said. "Also for people who may be threatened by a more advanced class."

Her Cosmic Cafe work is often the basis of her classes, and while she typically walks into the studio with an idea of what she plans to teach, she changes her script after she's read the room.

"Right away, I pick up the vibe of the class," she said. "Even though I always have an idea or a plan, it can be dropped at a moment's notice, and it usually is. My interest is to connect and to meet people where they are and enhance them in some way, shape or form."

"Most Westerners tend to think of yoga as exercise and how to be fit," she said. "Actually, yoga is a whole lifestyle, which is a way to evolve your own consciousness, to be clear in your mind, to be strong in your body, to allow the pure awareness of who you are into this life."

These principles, whether taught in yoga or offered to clients at the Cafe, are ones Mann feels compelled to share - and to seek out herself.

"My passion is to help wake people up," she said.