Jessica is a Los Angeles based yoga instructor who uses her expertise to put together a fun yet challenging class. Her intimate knowledge of both anatomy and asana allows her to meet her students wherever they are in their practice. Her specialty is in helping people push beyond the mind’s limitations so they may enjoy a new stronger, lighter, leaner experience in their own bodies.
Journey to yoga and her reasons for teaching others…
“I grew up with asthma and was not “allowed” to be very physically active, no sports and no playing outside. As I outgrew the asthma, I came to understand that my emotional reaction(fear/anxiety) about physical activity was due to years of being terrified of another asthma attack. This played a huge factor in how I lived my life – in essence, in fear. I began to exercise with a vengeance, pushing myself as hard as possible feeling like I had to make up for all the years I was I told I could not run, play sports, participate in Physical Education with my peers.
Over time, my fear of asthma was replaced with vigorous workouts. I was trying to prove something to myself. I ignored my body’s natural warning signs of aches and pains. I paid NO mind to my tight hamstrings and sore knees after hours of strength training and spin classes. Since I refused to acknowledge the “feedback” my physical body was giving, my body had a back up plan and sent my emotional health into a tail-spin – I developed severe panic attacks. THAT got my attention! I sought alternatives to prescription meds which led me to my first yoga class. It was love at first sun-salute. Because of my time not being allowed to play sports I now see movement and exercise as a privilege – not a chore, not something to do just so I can look good in a bikini.
There are so many people with physical ailments that are unable to move – we are fortunate to come together and practice these physical asanas. I believe the more we take that perspective, the weaker the desire to compete with others in class or look perfect in the pose. Being on the mat is a gracious gift in itself.
SO.. after learning how to move mindfully and honor my body and its limitations, I began to find more ease even in the most vigorous Vinyasa flow classes. After learning to breathe mindfully I began to have more compassion and patience for myself. And it’s true. Once I experienced compassion for myself, I was able to offer it to others. As life threw me curve balls I found new ways to cope and slowly abandoned my “go-to” reaction of panic.
As I deepened my studies with Jill Miller and Yoga Tune Up I found a more in-depth understanding of the human body and how every “body” is different. I have made yoga my career which means I intend to be physically/spiritually/emotionally healthy for a very long time. I want my students to be able to hold Chaturanga 10-15 years from now! The deeper my understanding about how the body works, the more I pay attention to alignment, the clearer my mind is, the more efficiently I can help them do that.
Moral of this story: There is no reason to live life in pain and for some reason we have accepted this as normal – my goal is to help you find a “new normal.”