How did you get into yoga? What aspect of yoga got you on the mat in the beginning? *Can you talk about your interest in Soccer?
I played soccer in high school and then at Occidental College. After a few years of playing college soccer, I was beat up! A trainer who was taping my ankles told me I should stretch more! “Maybe try some yoga?” I found an odd yoga class in the basement at a community center in LA. The experience was bizarre and I am still not sure it was yoga but we did do a lot of downward facing dog and the next day – my body really felt different! I was hooked.
What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?
I try to teach in a style that is athletic, smart and safe. I like to ask myself “why?”… “what is the purpose of this pose?” and “what is the benefit of doing it?” and then create sequences that reflect those answers. I see yoga as an integral component of a healthy physical regime. Done right, yoga helps our joints function more optimally, creates flexibility and mobility and balances the body. There is so much research to support the connection between controlled, focused breathing and overall health and I encourage students to connect to and follow their breath throughout class.
After many years of teaching, my curiosity regarding movement and understanding the body began to move outside of yoga. It was important to me to examine flaws in the yoga practice with hopes to teach smarter to avoid injuring myself and students. Most of my work as a yoga teacher is private yoga instruction. I work one-on-one or in small groups and spend all day watching, asking and learning from my clients and their unique bodies. In all my spare time (ha!), I am working towards becoming a Physician Assistant and have taken a number of anatomy classes where I had a chance to work with cadavers and learn about the body on a deeper level. I love Science!
If you could change one aspect of the modern yoga world, what would that be?
Personally, I am not a big fan of the whole Instagram, half naked, fancy yoga pose on a tropical beach scene…definitely seems to be missing the point!
Why do you love teaching at yogaview, particularly in Wilmette?
I love teaching at yogaview Wilmette because it’s the best! We have amazing, kind hearted students, smart and sweet teachers and I love everyone who works at the front desk. Tom and Quinn trust teachers and give us the space to be ourselves and teach what we know.
Within the 8 limbs of yoga, the experience of Samadhi is often described as the top rung of the ladder. It's considered by many to be indescribable, yet it is often described as such and more. Can you please describe your personal experience of this state or what the concept represents to you?
I have three busy kids and teach yoga way too many hours in a week so I haven’t had much time to crack the code on enlightenment. I do feel that yoga has taught me to be more present. Practicing yoga gives me an opportunity to slow down and exist in the moment. I leave a yoga class (even when I am teaching it) feeling a little more grounded and peaceful than when I walked in.
What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you've had while teaching a class?
Too many to count but I am saving the good ones to make a movie with Jenny one day – watch for it! Funniest moment lately would be watching someone pick their nose in savasana…when you are in savasana - WE ARE WATCHING YOU!
In less than 140 characters, describe your inner experience going about daily life pre vs. post developing a regular yoga or meditation practice.
I use the meditation app “headspace” and try to take time out each day to move, breathe and slow down. I am a better mom, yoga teacher, friend and human when I do.
If there was one spiritual teacher or guru that you would desire to study under (dead or alive) who would it be?
I love listening to podcasts and recently listed to “The RFK tapes” about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Wow…history would have been quite different if he had been president! He is my latest hero.
What is your favorite non yoga activity?
I love watching my kids play sports – there is something about watching them move their bodies that is always a marvel to me! And it is the only time you will find me actually sitting down (maybe that’s why I like it?!)
Wednesday 8:00 - 9:15 am Level 2 Wilmette
Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 am Level 2 Wilmette
Friday 8:00 - 9:15 am Level 2 Wilmette
For information about Jessica and Jenny's upcoming retreat in Belize click here