Thank you All For Sticking By Me

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Happy Pants_big.jpg
 

This morning, following my classes, I sat in the centre of our empty studio, legs crossed in padmasana (lotus pose) and just smiled. I smiled because I could feel the energy of our students even though I was alone. I smiled because we are, together, creating something profound. Something that is helping others to get through some of the toughest struggles life can throw at us. I smiled because every student who comes to practice brings the most wonderful presence, a presence that makes our studio what it is today.  I began Jessica Dewar Yoga with a dream to make yoga accessible for all in pursuit of a kinder world. Turns out, I’m not the only one with this dream because one year on, here we are – still going and stronger than ever.

Every single day there are new challenges, new hurdles to overcome. I’ve made MANY errors over the past 12 months (and I think you’ve all read about my latest error. Fail is probably the more accurate description…) and still you all stand by me. Let’s just say I’m extremely grateful for having such a forgiving community! Never could I have anticipated the journey ahead when I decided to let go of my career and start my own business. Seriously people – I had NO IDEA! I read so many business books before starting on this journey but the reality is, nothing prepares you for real business. For working with real people. In a business no one has attempted here in Melbourne. Eek!

But upon reflection, I wouldn’t change a thing. As yoga teaches us stern lessons through our practice, business does too. I can absorb only what I am ready to hear, just as I can perform/practice asanas only that I am ready to practice. The learning is constant. The ebbs and flows are relentless. But this is the reality – not just of business or of yoga, but of life. And rather than see this as a negative, I’ve chosen to see every experience as a positive one – even if it’s me sleeping through my own class (I honestly don’t think I’ll ever live that one down).

I know my yoga practice has been fundamental to my growth as a business woman. It’s helped me to breathe through the challenging times, appreciate the little moments, laugh when I stuff up, cry when I should probably be laughing. I’ve been all over the place over the past year – physically and emotionally – and I’ve learned more about myself through this experience than I have in my entire life.

So whilst I receive many thanks from the community for making the studio accessible to all, really it is me who wants to thank all of you. Your ongoing support makes me want to be a better person. You make me want to do bigger and better things in the world because you’ve all welcomed me and my philosophy so warmly. You’ve encouraged me to keep going when times have been tough. Whilst I may be the teacher for many who read this blog today, I am equally your student.

So to all the students, teachers, local businesses who sponsor us, media who have helped to spread the word, suppliers, my partner, mum, my (to be – I hope) parents-in-law, my pooches…. and everyone who has shown support for our studio, from the bottom of my heart – “Thank you.”  For without you, reaching our first birthday would not have been possible.

Here’s to many more happy years ahead.

Love and gratitude to the max!

Jessica xx

My most embarrassing teaching moment - EVER!

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga
 

Do I? Don’t I? As I left my yoga class this morning, the third for the morning to be exact, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. To pretend like it didn’t happen or share it with the world. Turns out, I’ve clearly chosen the latter. I figure, if I can’t laugh at myself then that’s not fun.

In my entire working life, I have never been as embarrassed as I was leaving my class today. And when I say my class, I mean, I’m the teacher. And if it weren’t for the fact that my students have gotten to know me having taught them weekly for over a year now, I’m not so sure I’d be invited back after what I just did. Yes, it was that bad!

But before sharing, I want to back myself up a little and put some context around why this might have happened. On an average day, I teach anywhere up to seven classes a day. It’s intense. I can teach up to 26 classes a week. Crazy right! Yes. I know. My day begins at 3.30am when I get up for my own yoga practice then head out the door for my first class at 6.00am. I’ve also had the added stress of my little Lola, our rescue pug, being in intensive care due to liver failure followed by repeated back and forth trips to the vet in Collingwood (in between classes) as she’s an outpatient who requires ongoing tests and reviews. With the stress of it all I’ve even gained four kilograms in the past month. Eek! So let’s just say I’ve been a little run down and over worked lately.

So what happened this morning… I arrived at my 9.30am class at an offsite location. A group of seniors who I just love to bits. Class was fantastic. A strong class followed by some beautiful relaxation at the end. One pose I love to bring students into is a supported ‘legs-up-the-wall’ pose. It’s deeply relaxing and has extraordinary benefits for the body.

I asked my students to bring their mats against the wall, my mat in between theirs so everyone could see the demonstration for how to come into the pose. We all settled into the pose, our legs totally supported against the wall, backs flat, eyes closed and palms gently resting on our bellies. It’s so lovely. I guided my students through a meditation to help them reach a deeper state of relaxation before being silent to give them an opportunity to focus on the instructions they’d been given. That was all wonderful. A beautiful, perfect end to our class. It was what happened next that I’m not sure I will ever live down…

Our class this morning started at 9.30am. We were scheduled to finish at 10.30am. When we moved into the legs up the wall pose, it was about 10.20am, so we could rest there for a good length of time. Well………………..

When I opened my eyes, somewhat startled, I noticed my students were up with shoes back on and getting ready to leave the class! I’d fallen asleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I don’t mean I closed my eyes for a couple of minutes….. It was 10.55am! I’d been asleep for over 25 minutes. OMG!

I have never been so humiliated! It’s a worst nightmare as a teacher. And what could I say???? Oops. Clearly I’m a little tired…. I think the worst part was how awkward the students clearly felt, trying to come up with light hearted jokes to try and lessen the humiliation. Saying they know what posture to show insomniacs. I’m thinking… “Oh dear. I want to die! This did not just happen!” I tried the lame excuse that I’d had a rough night the night before with our Lola, urgently trying to change the topic, but I don’t think this one flew.

To make matters worse, I didn’t think about the possibility that I could have been lying there with my mouth open (like a dead person as my mother so delicately blurted out as she laughed uncontrollably on the other end of the line) and snoring (which I’ve been known to do when I’m absolutely exhausted). Before my confession to mum, I was at least visualizing me lying there looking peaceful and serene. Trust my mother to put this dreadful image into my head of what the more realistic state would have been as I napped in class. Mum always knows how to make me feel better. “Thanks mum!”

So there you have it. One of my most memorable moments in class, and I can’t say it’s a good memory. Rather, one of the most awkward, but also the funniest, I’ve ever experienced.

On that note, if anyone is so game to share something that has been utterly humiliating to the point of almost unspeakable – now is the time to share!

I hope this one gave you a laugh!

Sending zzzzzzz’s to you all,

Love Jessica

Getting Lost And Getting Found

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Ashtanga Retreat Qld
 

This past week I’ve been relaxing in the tropical rainforests of North Queensland. Mission Beach area to be more precise. An Ashtanga retreat, I decided three months ago when I booked this trip that it was time I stop feeling guilty for taking time out for me and just do it!

Whilst away I made a conscious effort to spend as minimal time working as possible. It is easy to get carried away with checking emails, answering calls and business planning. Instead, I was strict with myself and actually allowed myself time to stop. I read an entire fiction book from start to finish over the past five days! This is unheard of for me. To put this in context, I’m still working away at a book I started over a year ago. The only books I ever finish are audio books dedicated to business, not something purely for my own creative enjoyment.

Taking time out from my laptop meant I didn’t blog either. I kept my regular hand written journal, but I wanted to really challenge myself to keep away from anything I tend to affiliate with work. Why? Because my mind needed a rest. I needed to allow the thoughts to come and to go. I needed to remember how to sit with my feelings and explore them silently, no matter how uncomfortable this felt on occasion. Whilst journaling and blogging is a wonderful outlet for me, I can sometimes put pen to paper too soon before fully taking the time to delve in and explore what’s going on for me. So I did this this week. I just sat. Reflected. Read. Knowing I would write about this experience at some point but without rushing to do so, as I so often can.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Ashtanga Yoga Retreat Rainforest
 

I once read we can learn more about ourselves sitting quietly for one hour than we can in five years of unfocused searching. I don’t know about the five years part, but I did sit in meditation for up to an hour every day and just watched. I watched where my thoughts darted off to. I watched when my mind would settle. I noticed how my physical body would interfere with the quietness of my mind. Then how I could choose the power of my mind to override the aches of my physical body from sitting for so long.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_ Ashtanga Shala Retreat
 

As I sat quietly, I had a recurring thought come up. Guilt if you will about taking time out for myself. Guilt about not reading emails or having teachers cover my classes whilst I’m sitting in the middle of the rainforest, alone, in deep, selfish meditation. I pondered this for sometime over the week. I even raised it in conference.  My conclusion – well, there isn’t one really. But what I came to know about myself is that I tend to feel the only time I’m doing something worthwhile is when there is a tangible result at the end of it. Students attend a class, I meet with a partner, I make a phone call or send an email. What this also helped me to realize is how deeply ingrained the roots of my script, created throughout my childhood, has burrowed. The need to be a martyr, to achieve outstanding results to make my parents proud and compete with my elder brothers and sisters (I’m the baby of eight), the feeling of having to prove what I’m capable of as a woman, the desperate need to heal my body and rid it from pain. This is all neurotic stuff. I know this. What is exciting is the profound realizations I, and everyone, can have when I take some time to sit quietly with my thoughts, without judgment or force and actually accept myself for where I’m at in that moment.

The need to produce tangible results day in, day out is just a neurotic, socially fuelled expectation. My reality is, I don’t need to do this. It is OK to step back and be utterly selfish and care for myself once in a while. What I know to be true is – not doing this – can lead only down one very unhealthy path.

Having granted myself permission to take time out, however uncomfortable it was at times, has been fundamental to rejuvenating my body and mind. I’m now home, refreshed and renewed with memories that will last a lifetime.

And as I write this blog, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having introduced yoga into my life some time ago. It grounds me. It clears my mind and challenges every part of my being. For this, I am a better person.

Much love from a more centred place,

Jessica xx

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Jessica Dewar Ashtanga Yoga
 

Because I Need To Be Strong For Her

 
 

Life is finite. I live with this dreadfully sad awareness every day – as do we all whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. This means life is precious. Every moment of every single day is precious and nothing is a bigger reminder of this than when we are faced with the loss, or potential loss, of someone we love.

Owen and I are currently in and out of the emergency vet hospital in Collingwood because early Sunday morning, out little pug Lola took a dramatic turn for the worst. She went from being her usual, happy, cheeky little self to suddenly in the intensive care ward which she remains in today. I’ve never been so devastated in all my life.

Little Lola came into our care in February 2017. Lola was a rescue and even though she has suffered so many traumas in her life, she maintains the happiest disposition of any animal I’ve ever met. Blind due to no fault of her own – purely a case of neglect – she has now been diagnosed with liver disease. For the past three days she has been poked and prodded with needles, been drugged to the point of losing control of her bladder and barely able to lift her head, and had most of the hair on her tiny little body shaved off. There is nothing more horrific than seeing a creature who is so vulnerable being pulled around and tested the way she has been. Of course this has to happen so we can find out how to help her, but it is nothing short of cruel. When will this little girl get a break!

 
Monday lunch time.

Monday lunch time.

Monday night after many more tests. She's exhausted.

Monday night after many more tests. She's exhausted.

 

My partner and I are heartbroken going through this awful process. Little Lola came barging into our lives earlier this year and ploughed her way deep into our hearts. We adore our animals and would do anything for them, so as you can imagine these past few days, being totally out of control and dependent upon the expertise of others, has been nothing short of horrendous. My phone is glued to me in case of an update.

With swollen eyes from having non-stop cried since the weekend, I’ve sat quietly most days reflecting upon our lives. On my life. I’m reminding myself of how precious our lives are. I feel so sad for people who hold onto anger or negativity because I’m mindful that it is just a waste of their precious time on this planet.

To calm the anxiety and slow the tears, I’ve spent hours walking quietly through parks with my other little man Tyrone or sitting on my mat focused on my breathing. I’m taking time to remind myself to take slow, controlled inhalations and exhalations to bring steadiness and clarity to my mind. Whilst this doesn’t change the reality of the situation, it allows me to regain the strength I need to get through this awful time. It reminds me of how important it is that I remain calm so I can be strong for her.

Granted, when I need to cry and just let it all out – I do. But there is a time and a place for this. Rather, by connecting with my breath I feel more in control of a situation that is totally out of my control, namely my thoughts and how I respond to the situation. Let’s just say I’m very good at thinking the worst, which is a painful, neurotic habit I need to constantly shut down (and I mean every minute of every day I’m having to cancel these thoughts). So as I breathe, I consciously focus on seeing Lola getting stronger and healthier. There is peace in this place and suddenly the anxiety starts to relieve, even if just for a moment.

So rather than dwell on the worst, I’m preparing for her recovery and I’m excited to say Lola has new PJ’s to keep her now shaved little body warm as well as a bravery teddy and comfy new bed to snuggle up in. This bravery package is waiting for her at home when we are given the all clear to bring her back. We all have different ways of coping, and my way is to prepare for her homecoming. It keeps me positive even when the news is not the best.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga Lola Care Package
 

We are now waiting for the Medical Specialist team to contact us with steps moving forward and the results of a recent liver aspirate test. All fingers and toes are crossed this is positive.

I’ll keep you posted with an update.

Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes for Lola’s speedy recovery. Your energy is surely headed her way and I know she can feel it.

Much love,

Jessica xx

 
Sunday before heading to the emergency vet. One very sick little girl.

Sunday before heading to the emergency vet. One very sick little girl.