Why following your passion can change the world

 
 

Disrupting an industry. Challenging the status quo. This is not for personal gain or a publicity stunt. But rather a pursuit for positive change. For me, yoga is not about money. It never has been. Rather, I want to offer those who desire happier and healthier lives access to a practice, which has been instrumental in shaping who I am today. To teach others how to reconnect with their body and mind in a society that is becoming increasingly desensitized. In doing so, I believe this can lead to a kinder world, one person at a time.

I’m green when it comes to business. Whilst my career has involved management roles, having your own business is a very different story, and what I’m quickly learning is that creating change is no easy task. But there are a few things I’m sure of…

Naming the studio Jessica Dewar Yoga has both its advantages and disadvantages. A key disadvantage is the risk to my reputation should something go wrong at the studio. For example, poor quality teaching. But whilst this is a risk, I also see consider this an advantage as it symbolises the high standards I set for my teachers and myself. I want people to associate this name with a space that offers the utmost respect, kindness and support to every single person who walks in the door. I’m still unsure if this will be a long-term decision, but for a grass roots studio, I want people to know my values are underpinning the culture we develop and that I am prepared to put myself out there as we disrupt tired industries in pursuit of creating much-needed change.

I’m quickly learning about up’s and down’s of business. This is an extraordinarily challenging process, in all forms of the word challenging. But what I feel stops many people from giving their own businesses a try is the fear of inexperience. Whilst I’m naïve to many things, I feel this has been a blessing in disguise. It’s forcing me to ask questions, to chat with our community and be vulnerable about the entire process. In doing so, people are willingly offering their suggestions and advice, which I believe is crucial if we want to build something people actually want. Rather than looking at other business models and trying to copy them in an attempt to compete, we are doing our own thing! Why? Because it’s not about the competition of business, but rather it’s about offering a quality service. One that people have helped to build. Sure, I don’t have an MBA, but I don’t think you need an MBA to work this out? I’m not interested in doing things the ‘right way’. The ‘right way’ (whatever that is) can be a very rigid and stifling way of thinking. It’s in the flexibility to pivot and change things (that aren’t working) quickly where I’ve found the most benefit. I consider this common sense…

What I know to be true is that I must continue to dream big even though the odds are stacked against me. I know there are many who do not believe a successful donation-based yoga studio is possible, but I intend to prove otherwise. With a model that embraces the uniqueness of teachers, allowing them to teach as they teach, and a philosophy that yoga should be accessible to all, I believe change to the industry is bound to follow.

And with that, I also believe we all have the power to change the world. Driven by our passion to do so, and a relentless vision for something better, change is inevitable in whatever industry you’re in. For me, the studio is a success with just one student before me. For if that student walks away from the class feeling a little more centred, relaxed and aware, then the benefits will extend well beyond this one person.

If you have a vision for something better, to challenge the status quo, remember it’s the combination of little wins that will ultimately lead to the success of that vision. I’m in no way qualified to talk about what it means to run a financially thriving business. Absolutely not. But I do feel qualified to speak about what it means to live a life that is chosen by you, not for you. We all have the potential to do incredible things in this lifetime. We just need to find the courage to take that first step. From there, the rest will follow.

I’m inspired by all the people who set out to live their lives according to their own doing. I believe you need to do just three things to realise your biggest dreams: Keep going, believe in yourself and dare to be different. Why? Because ultimately they are the people who change the world.

To become a part of our community, be sure to book into a class! You’re also most welcome to attend an upcoming Beginners Yoga workshop should you be new to the practice and a little unsure where to start. You can reserve your space here.

Sending hugs,

Jessica xx

Change your thoughts and you will change your life!

 
 

As we grow up we develop a multitude of neurotic beliefs, many of which tell us we cannot be, do or have what we dream in this lifetime. That a happy life, one that is the product of our own choosing, is for everyone out there, not for ourselves. It’s unfortunate how self-limiting and self-sabotaging these thought patterns can be and I want to challenge you to choose differently. Don’t think for a moment I don’t have them (neuroses). I absolutely do! And my partner will attest to that. I call this, ‘being human’. In an attempt to confront neurotic thoughts, I make daily commitments to cultivating a more positive mindset, one that focuses on what I can do rather than what I can’t. I do this because I’m mindful if I do not take active steps to address negative and unhelpful ways of thinking, then I shall be consumed by such thoughts and this shall become my life. This is not an easy path, and there are days when everything feels impossible, but it’s certainly a very real one.

As a rehabilitation consultant, I witnessed hundreds of my clients give in to the circumstances before them. They handed their power over to the greater forces they believed to be at work, continually operating with a victim mentality. Blaming their employer, family, children, friends, doctors, physio and so on…. for everything that was going wrong in their lives.

Watching people hand over control of their lives like this always saddened me, for I could always see the incredible potential in each and every client, potential they denied existed.

My work was a real eye opener as it challenged me to think differently, to choose my path rather than have it chosen for me. It was upsetting to witness so many wonderful people become mere shells of their former selves following an incident of some sort. Of course there were many factors at play with my typical clientele, and I often worked with the most challenging of cases due to my experience over the years, but the patterns always looked the same.

Life as they knew it, incident occurred, blame others, become consumed by feelings of frustration, resentment, fear, overwhelm, shock, depression, anxiety, denial, then often seeking retribution to make things right. This final stage was quite possibly the saddest and most challenging, for retribution never ends well. Rather it remains as an excuse to keep small and victimized, forcing people to remain stuck in a drama triangle, a loop that is relentless unless faced head on and stopped in its tracks.

I’ve noticed students of yoga generally posses a very different attitude to their lives and how they want to feel each day, making this work (if you could call it that) very inspiring. What I’ve found as a teacher and practitioner of yoga is the vastly different attitudes of the students who walk through the doors. Unlike my clientele from my previous life, my students are often in a mindset that seeks healing. They’re there because they know something needs to change or improve in their lives and they’ve sought yoga as a tool for helping them get there. They may have experienced all of the above feelings of anger, sadness, frustration etc for various reasons, however they’re now in a position where they want to really challenge those negative, unhelpful thought processes. The thoughts that keep them small and in a place of lesser than. Whilst I felt my career in rehabilitation was valuable to my clients, what I’m now very aware of is that I can only help people who want to be helped.

I can show people the door, but it is up to them to walk through it.

In yoga, many students are standing at this door and are looking for that teacher, that support, to be with them as they begin this powerful, confronting and incredible journey. I love this about the practice.

I’ve always looked at asana as a true sign of strength for when I see a student progress with their practice, I see a genuine commitment and devotion to healing. I observe the struggles that people overcome in both body and mind by watching as they get up and try again every time they fall, or hurt themselves or feel weak. This is real strength.

People who are unwell need support during those difficult times, but as professionals, as teachers, we are lying to ourselves and to our clients, if we believe we can fix whatever problem is going on for that person. Not only is this a violent act (as we are not trusting in the strength of the individual to move through this tough time), but it is also impossible to achieve. We are all responsible for the path our life takes. Yes, encouragement and support is wonderful, but it is not everything. We need to find the strength, the motivation, the courage within ourselves to fight for what we believe in. To challenge our minds when we want to give up. To trust in our own intuition when every one else is in doubt.

We are all so much stronger than we believe. We deny this about ourselves because it is easier to stay small. The risk seems lower. But if you ask me, to not follow a life that is determined by myself is the biggest risk of all. We are here but once. If you fall, get up. Don’t give up. Why? Because each and every moment matters. If you want something enough, believe me, it can be yours. Take that first step and go for it.

Sending hugs, Jessica xx

 

Making more friends - "Hello Sirsasana!"

The mind is so powerful. It can hold us back from pursuing and achieving what we truly desire in life or it can see us excel and meet our wildest dreams. In theory, people know this. I’m not saying anything new here - but in practice, it’s a little more challenging to apply. Yoga is a fantastic way of challenging the mind, our beliefs, our fears. For me, Sirsasana is one posture I never believed I could do. Even when our teacher assured two weeks ago that we could all do it, I was sitting in class thinking - “I’m sure everyone else can, but I know I can’t. I’ve been trying for over a year and failed miserably”. Well, I was proven wrong today. Today - I was up! Whilst holding the position I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. In fact, writing this now I can’t wipe the smile off my face. You see - achieving an asana like Sirsasana - The King of Kings - means so much more than achieving something physical. Here, there is a connection of the body, breath and mind, and when these become one, working in unison, then we can achieve great things in life (beyond asanas). I consider an asana as a symbol of our own power. If we can challenge ourselves to keep trying, to be patient, to learn the correct techniques, then anything is possible. Today, I proved this to myself and I feel so incredibly happy with this achievement. So much so, I didn’t want to wait until tonight to blog about it. Also, my hips are fantastic today. I sat in one position for about 40 minutes before having to move. That is 100% unheard of for me! Normally, I’m the squirmer in the class moving from cross legged to one leg bent back to cross legged because I feel like my hips are about to explode. But not today! It seems my body is finally beginning to surrender to the practice which is exciting. Again, through commitment, dedication and a desire to achieve it’s amazing what beautiful things can happen.

As of this week, our schedule will also include attendance at Mysore Style classes. Here we are to observe the students and how they train in this type of class. People travel from all over the world to train Mysore Style so I am looking forward to sitting in. I wasn’t selected to sit in today but at some stage this week I will.

This morning I will prepare to teach Surya Namaskara - one part of me hopes to be selected as I have prepared well, the other part hopes I’m not. Well see, shall we!

Namaste xx

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Clearly not me, but you get the idea!!