It.s 2.00am. I can't sleep. And why.

 
pablo-merchan-montes-499368.jpg
 

It’s 2.00am and I can’t sleep. So instead, I’m blogging. Well, journaling. This is how I clear my mind and work through any negativity that is lurking.

This past week has been one of self sabotage. I am disgusted by the amount of unhealthy food I’ve eaten.  Chocolate by the truckload has been the main culprit.  Why do I do this to myself. Why? I know I know better. I should know better! I’m a yoga teacher and student for goodness sake. A practice that is all about deepening the body and mind connection. It appears my body connection flew out the window this week. Evacuated the building!

So why share this with our community at 2.00am? Well, I’m writing this blog for myself first and foremost. I can’t sleep and I need to process what is going on for me at the moment before my mind will rest. And two, because I feel a responsibility as a teacher to share with our students the realities of this practice. That there are ups and downs, even for yoga teachers! That there are times when we feel super connected with ourselves and other times when we feel like we are trapped in a foreign body. I’m at the foreign body stage right now.

It’s a constant cycle and I believe the deeper a person goes with their practice the more challenging it becomes to keep up with the inspired action to eat well, exercise and get to bed on time every night. Why? Because the deeper we go, the darker the stuff that starts to surface. And that dark stuff can lead us to do all sorts of silly things, like binge on enough chocolate to fill Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Am I justifying poor choices? No. Absolutely not. Rather, by writing about it I’m helping myself to come to terms with the fact that – what’s done is done. I gave in to old tendencies, I don’t feel great about it but I can either dwell or move on. By beating myself up about an unhealthy week that’s past is not helpful. I cannot change what’s done. And I cannot change what is to come. But I can do something about now, this moment. And so I shall choose to think kinder thoughts toward myself. To grant myself permission to relax, be human and have human faults.  To let myself go to sleep without stress or worry, but rather with an attitude of love and understanding.

P.S. Whilst it’s all well and good to write that I accept my decision to disrespect my body this past week, I am still having a tough time really accepting this. Just an FYI.  But I’m working on it. I just might need to re-read my blog a couple of times for some inspiration. Lol!

Be kind to yourself, smile and just remember, even yoga teachers self sabotage sometimes too!

Sending chocolate coated hugs to you all at 2.15am,

Jessica xx

You need the struggle

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Hollow Back_Handstand.jpg
 

We’ve all had those dark days. Those days when we wonder if it’s all worth it. What’s the point? I find myself going through existential crisis most days.

Life is not easy. I don’t believe it was ever meant to be. The greatest lessons any of us can learn are those given through adversity. Through pain and suffering. All too often we are quick to judge and compare our lives to those of others. We live in a world whereby magazines and even more immediate, social media, depicts these perfect lives of the rich and famous. But let me tell you my friends, the rich and  famous have problems too. Money does not equate to happiness. Fame does not guarantee happiness either. Just because people know your name is not a measure of a successful life. Far from it. Just look at the number of suicides, drug overdoses and broken families within Hollywood and you’ll see this is no lie.

Whilst going through difficult times are not fun, and of course we’d rather more happy times than sad, the reality is, these experiences, these lessons, are part of your journey. And you must go through them. Not only will they make you stronger and wiser, they will also help you to become a more understanding, empathetic person.

I do not teach what I do not know or have not been through. I have seen people hit rock bottom and rise again; I have also seen others never recover and give in to the forces around them. I’ve personally been through heartache, breakdowns, anxiety and physical pain I would never wish upon a worst enemy.  But through a stubborn will to keep going, and a belief that my life means something and that I have something to share that could be of value to others, I continue to pick myself up and keep going. Because let’s face it, what choice do I have! What choice do you have?

Struggle is a given. Life was not meant to be easy. Not only would it be extremely boring if it were, but where would the sense of achievement be if everything came easily? Achievements would no longer be achievements. Relationships will be of little value and happiness would dwindle. We need the challenges to live meaningful lives.

It is because I accept that life is challenging that I appreciate the ‘easier’ moments, the calm days, the cups of tea, the drives to the hills and walks along the beach. It’s because I’ve been through MANY challenges that I can guide my students from a genuine place of love and compassion.

Reflecting on my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. My path is my path. Just as your path is yours. It shapes who we are and who we choose to be in every moment of every day.

Life is a gift. Adversity and pain is a gift. If you can shift your perception to truly believe this, then suddenly your world will begin to open. 

Sending compassionate hugs,

Jessica xx

Love

 
Love_Jessica Dewar Yoga Blog.jpg
 

As we have entered into February and Saint Valentines Day is coming up, it was only natural for me to begin thinking about love. But not in the romantic sense. Whilst this also applies, I'm referring more so to how we love ourselves and show love to others. For how we love really does determine how happy we are, and how meaningful life is.

When I decided to write about love, I went to my bookshelf to read through one of my books about Mother Teresa. I haven’t looked at this book in many years and the name of the book was ironically “Love”. Reading through her book, it occurred to me just how simple her messages of love and kindness were and so I couldn’t help wonder why they are so difficult to put into practice.

This baffles me at times because I have a mother who loves unconditionally. And how, I don’t know. If anyone had good reason to hate the world and the people in it, it was her. But she chose differently.

Many years ago, our family suffered a great tragedy. Some would say one of the greatest tragedies any parent could go through. They lost a child. My brother Adrian, a twin to my sister, drowned at the age of 4. My family was devastated by this loss, and whilst the wounds heal, the scar forever remains – a scar our entire family wears. But whilst there is pain and a lifelong feeling that we, our family, will never be complete, that there is always someone missing, my mother has continued to love. Continued to smile. To be kind, thoughtful and forgiving. Many times I have sat in my own grumpy state and thought to myself – “Get over it Jessica. If she (mum) can keep smiling, loving and giving, then so can I”.

There is nothing more confronting than loss. The reality is, we will all face that fateful day. And so this begs the question – Why be angry? Why get caught up in the little things? When will you let yourself be happy? And in doing so, share that happiness, that love, with others? Because at the end of the day, we only have this moment, right here right now. This breath. And my friends, they do end.

And so whilst Saint Valentines Day is a good reminder of love, why not make a commitment to show love for more than this one-day of the year. Buying flowers for your partner once a year and then neglecting them for the rest of the year is not love. It is guilt. Rather, make the effort to show love every moment of every day of every year you have the good fortune of being on this Earth. Love to your partner, to your children, your animals and toward strangers. Be the example and through love, join us in making this world a kinder place. Mother Teresa spoke of love as though it were simple. The reality is, it is simple. To love is not hard and does not have to be complicated. We just have to try and choose better.

A final note…

To my mother, Christine – Thank you for being the beautiful soul you are. Your love has helped shape me into the woman I am today. Whilst we live apart, our bond has only grown stronger for true love cannot be broken. Thank you for being my pillar of strength. You are nothing short of incredible. I love you mum.

To our dearest Adrian, you are forever in our hearts. Without your even realizing, we have all learned so much from you. You loved life and would have given anything to be with us a little longer. But that was not to be. And so in your memory, we are doing our best to live to the full and not take this gift of life for granted. We love you so much.

Sending loving hugs to you all,

Jessica xx

 

There’s yoga. And there’s yoga!

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Hanumanasana_Splits.jpg
 

There’s yoga. And there’s yoga!

There are days I get on my mat and feel totally disconnected. Frustrated and I’d even go as far to say I get bored. Especially these past few weeks with my back playing up like it has. I’m on my mat. Tick. I’m doing the moves. Tick. But am I really connected? Well, not always. Which is what makes mornings like this morning so vastly different and powerful in comparison.

My first forward fold of my practice is generally a good indicator of how my body is going to go that morning. For weeks now the fold has been excruciating, immediately putting me on the defensive. But not this morning. Like the sun finally showing itself after a month long rainfall, my first forward fold was an immediate forehead to shin. Yes, it was a little tight, but the pain was not there. Something had finally shifted. The tension had finally decided to let go.

In a sealed room with no airflow and only the sound of deep, focused inhalations and exhalations, the sweat quickly began to bead around my temples. And it was not too long before my entire body was soaked in sweat as I flowed through my 90 minute led practice. 72 jump backs and jump throughs. My body was bending, twisting, and lifting as though I had no back trouble at all. My mind was focused, my body strong and my intent pure. By the end of practice I was near slipping off my mat and the challenge then became remaining steady on a slippery surface, forcing me to focus even moreso.

This mornings practice was a welcomed reminder of just how clever our bodies are. I talk about acceptance and loving our body as it is, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a struggle for me at times. When I have flare ups like I do (and they are crippling), I can forget how freely I can move when the inflammation settles. How strong and flexible I can be when I am patient. Mornings like this morning leave me pondering questions like – “What is the lesson I can take from these experiences? From pain? From weeks of relentless pain and then suddenly a release?” Well, I think there are many lessons here. The first for me comes down to trust. Trusting my body will right itself in due time. To also trust I am doing the right thing by maintaining my practice even on my worst days, regardless of how gentle the practice needs to be. The second lesson is ‘yoga’ and the true meaning of the word. I didn’t practice yoga in just this mornings class. Rather, every single day, both on and off the mat, is yoga. Yoga = to yolk. The union between body, breath and mind. Pain is a wonderful teacher and it has forced me to take a big step back, a deep look in and accept it for what it is. A fluctuation that I have. And that it (pain) does not have me. This is yoga.

Remember, every moment of every day holds a lesson. We just need to take the time to pause, witness and reflect.

Sending happy, slightly more enlightened hugs to you all,

Jessica xx

Reflecting on 2017... the Jessica way

 
Glamourous beach yoga photo shoot

Glamourous beach yoga photo shoot

 
 
A few moments later...

A few moments later...

 

Ok, this is bulls*#t. I’ve written three blogs and I am so stuck for words – or at least stuck finding how to string words together in a way that makes sense. I’m trying to write a deep felt post about the year just been and the year that is ahead, and for whatever reason I am completely stuck. Then I feel annoyed with myself as I feel I should be writing something profound to start the year off. Well folks – unfortunately, I have nothing profound to share… Which I have come to accept and actually laugh about hence this revised, uncensored blog now. So here I am, writing this post as a way of trying to get things moving in my mind.

What were some of the things I wanted to share?

Ok – I’m home from Adelaide and Victor Harbor. Yes, that is something I wanted to share. Or moreso to talk about how I feel following this trip. So lets start there. There is nothing more wonderful than being home with family. Even when it gets chaotic, being with family is so special. And as I now live away from home, my time spent with family has become even more precious.

Highlights and lessons learned from 2017 – yes I wanted to share this too as sometimes a bit of reflection helps set the trajectory for the future.  Well, without blabbering on as I had in my previous blog attempt, here is a list of highlights and lessons I was excited to share with you all:

  • My annual trip to India. It is so inspiring returning to my Shala each year.
  • Getting help! Running a business is a huge amount of work, and having the support of other teachers has made the growth of our studio, Jessica Dewar Yoga, possible.
  • Winter Yoga Challenge held in August 2017. We had a phenomenal number of students committed to this Challenge, all of who received amazing prizes from local businesses. We gave away over $10k in prizes. OMG! The 2018 Summer Challenge: 28-Days of Yoga is going to be even bigger I think!
  • I feel our timetable is finally taking shape. There has been a lot of trial and error when it comes to working out the best class times for our community, and I think we are now in a great place.
  • Our Beginners Yoga: 4-Week Intro Programs were amazing. Super popular and almost always booked out, we’ve had so much fun introducing so many new students to the practice of yoga.
  • Reducing the number of classes I personally teach each week. When I began Jessica Dewar Yoga, I was teaching in the vicinity of 26 classes a week. Eek! Whilst I love to teach, this was too much. With the help of my wonderful teachers, I’ve been able to scale these down which has also meant more time for my personal practice at a less crazy hour than 3.30am.
  • Expanding our Private Yoga services.
  • Raising money for Animals Australia with the support of our community at the end of year Christmas Event.
  • Partnering with these wonderful businesses:
  1. 2XU Camberwell
  2. Elevation Floatation
  3. The Petal Provedore
  4. Village Cinemas
  5. The Source Bulk Foods Camberwell
  6. Coltivare
  7. Stretch Now
  8. Camberwell Osteopath
  9. Hawthorn Health and Dietetics
  10. Australian Yoga Life Magazine
  11. Lululemon: Camberwell, Chadstone and South Yarra
  12. Wildbag Nutrition
  13. Aspire Medilife Melbourne
  • Deciding to go gluten free
  • Deciding to stop being gluten free (because bagels)
  • Adopting little Lola from Pug Rescue and Adoption Victoria
  • Enrolling in a Beginner Watercolour Painting course
  • Reverting back to my handwritten daily diary. All these latest fandangle online schedulers are just too complicated for me. Pen and paper works fine.

So on a final note if this blog is any indication, just remember things don’t always go to plan and that is OK. And it is OK for that to be OK. OK?

Here’s to an amazing 2018!

Much love,

Stuck for words, Jessica. xx