Celine Dion. Thank you.

 
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Celine Dion, thank you.

I’ve never been to a real concert. A music concert. I’m 32 and I’ve never seen a proper stage performance of a super famous person. I’ve seen little concerts, but never seen anyone famous in real. Why? Well, no one was ever worth it enough for me. I love music - I was even headed down the singer path at one stage - but I didn’t have the money or the desire to see performances I wasn’t passionate about. Until now.

Celine Dion. I have been so moved by this experience, her performance in Melbourne (08/08/18) that I have to share it here. Whilst she must know how special her music is, she can never possibly know how many people she has helped in the world. Me being one of those people. Music touches the soul. It penetrates so deeply that it can move you to tears. It can be your friend, it can help you feel safe, help you to laugh. Growing up, Celine was always there. My sister, Alexandra and I would sing to her music all the time. In retrospect, we were just two little girls who knew, even back then, that there was something truly special about this woman. There is love in her music. And I don’t mean love as in romantic love. No, there is love in what she does. A genuine passion and care for every note. And because of this, every single note touches the heart.

We had a difficult time growing up. Family dramas which I won’t go into here, but just know it hasn’t been an easy road. What I wanted to share was how grateful I am for this woman, for Celine. She has been a friend to me my entire life, and she doesn’t even know it (although I’m confident Celine would be very aware of just how special she is).

The moment she walked onto the stage at Rod Laver Arena I was in awe. Tears welled in my eyes. I was mesmerized by the fact that someone I have admired my whole life was within meters of me. I could hear her with my own ears and see her with my own eyes. She no doubt saw me in the crowd as Alexandra and I were lucky enough to have VIP Diamond seats at the front. And whilst everyone was watching much of the show through their phones trying to capture every moment to replay later (it’s not real unless it’s on our phones…) I was paralyzed. I couldn’t take my eyes of this woman and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the live show (so I could go home and watch it on my phone).

Seeing her was like coming home, to the happiest home of my life.

I don’t get star struck. I just wholeheartedly appreciate that Celine has existed in my lifetime. That I had her to turn to. To keep me company, always.

 
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Music is like a meditation for me. It takes me somewhere. It helps me to feel. To see the beauty that surrounds. To find hope when I’ve felt hopeless. As I’ve always professed to my students, yoga is not just about an asana practice, a pose. Likewise, meditation is not just about sitting in silence in a pretty garden. No. Yoga and meditation are about connection. If your yoga is to sing, then that is yoga for you. Whilst I love the asana practice of yoga, music and singing is something that has always taken me deep within. And whilst I did not pursue the once dream of becoming a professional singer, this doesn’t mean music is not a huge part of my life. It is and it always will be.

 
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Finally, to my dearest friend Celine. I will be forever grateful for having had you beside me. At times when I’ve needed to cry, laugh or just feel something, you were there. You are and continue to be my idol. Thank you for coming to Melbourne. As there are no USA trips on the cards for me in the near future I had resigned myself to the fact that I may never get to see you live in concert. Well, it turns out dreams really can come true.

Sending so much love and gratitude to you,

Jessica xx

 
 

The single most important thing about yoga

 
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How flexible I am, is not important.

How strong I am, is not important.

How present I am, is very important.

All too often people come to me and say they cannot do yoga because they are not flexible or strong enough. I cannot stress enough that this is not the goal of yoga. We can be the most flexible or the strongest practitioner in the room, but if that practitioner is not present then the point has been lost.

There are days when I power through my practice. I feel rushed, perhaps I feel bored or just cant be bothered. Whilst I’ve completed my 90 minute sequence, I don’t finish feeling like I have deepened my connection to myself in any way, shape or form. Rather, I’ve treated my asana practice like a gym practice. Get it over and done with then rush into my day. This is far from satisfying. During a practice like this I tend to feel weak, sore and inflexible.

The interesting irony is the slower my practice, the stronger I feel and the more flexible I am. Why? Because I’m taking time to actually observe where I need to switch on, where I need to relax, where I need to take my breath etc etc. I’m witnessing, observing and experiencing what my body needs in every moment which allows me to delve deeper.

Yoga means to yolk. It is about the union of body, breath and mind. Yoga does not necessarily need to happen on a mat. Last year, during the four hour drive from Bangalore, India, to Mysore (where my teacher lives) I asked my driver if he practices yoga. His reply has stayed with me as I found it so vulnerable and inspiring. “No mam, I do not practice. I do not have time to practice yoga. Driving is my yoga.” I was mesmerized by his answer. This man spent his days driving people from here to there and back again, and he found solace through this. He was totally present to what he was doing, making driving his meditation, his yoga. 

You see, it is not important what a pose looks like or how ‘good’ we are at the pose. Whilst it’s nice to ‘achieve’ a pose, it’s quite a shallow way to look at the practice. For if we are not there to experience it (the pose) then what’s the point?

Granted, some days you will be more present that others. And that is OK. Yoga is a devotional practice. One must practice daily to experience one’s full potential. To notice the fluctuations of body and mind. This is how we come to know ourselves better. This is how we develop strength and flexibility, not just of the body, but more so of the mind.

Practice every day. Let go of any agenda. And if it’s a distracted practice today. Don’t worry. Try again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

If you’re ready to get started with yoga and feel a little nervous, then our Beginners Yoga: 4-Week Intro Program might be just the thing for you.

Warm hugs,

Jessica xx

How do I stay so positive?

 
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I was asked a question via Instagram about how I stay so positive all the time. I sat and pondered this question for some time before replying.

I firstly thought to myself - wow, how awesome is it that the world sees me as a positive person. I know there have been times in my life where I would never have been considered a positive person, so there has certainly been some sort of fundamental shift over the years.

Upon reflection, I then agreed that I am a positive person. I do my very best to remain positive regardless of uncomfortable, dire and what can feel like hopeless situations which still appear in my life. So why is that? What have I tapped into that perhaps others have difficulty finding?

My immediate thought was “Gratitude”. I know gratitude has been key to feeling happy in life - for appreciating both the good and the bad - however the answer is deeper than just gratitude alone. So what was it?

My reply. Decisiveness.

Let me explain. Life is made up of a collection of choices. We can choose the career path we head down. We can choose the relationships we cultivate and those we let go. We can choose what food to put into our bodies. We can choose how we feel in any given moment, happy or sad.

For me, a positive and happy life has stemmed from being decisive. I’m choosing my path. I’m choosing every single step I make and I accept the consequences of those steps. I do not put blame onto others if things don’t turn out as I’d planned. Rather, I accept wholeheartedly and willingly that my life is mine and I am solely responsible for it.

Over the years (mostly pre-yoga career) I’ve worked with clients who were quite happy to blame the rest of the world for why things were not working out as they had hoped. It was rare to come across a client who actually took a step back to acknowledge their part in their life, their injury or illness, and take responsibility for the next steps to move forward. They waited for, and allowed, other people to make decisions for them. And let’s just say the decisions made were rarely what the client would have chosen had it been up to them. But they played the victim game and then this gave them another excuse to blame the world for their lives not turning out as they wanted. And so the cycle continues. This makes for a very negative, unhappy existence.

Just over three years ago Owen and I made a decision to pack up and leave Adelaide, moving to Melbourne. It hasn’t been an easy road. Let me assure you of that. In fact, coming here has been the toughest years of my life. But they have been the happiest too. Why? Because I’m following a path chosen by me. I make decisions about how I want to live my life and I go after that. It doesn’t always work. Sure. And I’ve been knocked back time and time again. But I choose to look at every knock back, every medical scare with little Lola, every challenge with clients, as a positive. As opportunities to learn on this path chosen by me. It doesn’t make the difficult experiences any less difficult, but it makes them valuable. Worth going through. Because at the end of the day, if we cannot look for the positive in every situation that presents itself to us, good or bad, then we end up living our lives on edge and unfulfilled.  We are always looking for an easy path which, frankly, doesn’t exist. It’s tough the whole way. But it’s because of the struggle, the challenge, that life becomes meaningful. And this is what makes every experience, good or bad, worth it. That is how I stay so positive.

Big hugs and so much love,

Jessica. xx