Why trying to please everyone, will please no one

Jessica Dewar Yoga

Since making the decision to turn the Jessica Dewar Yoga Studio into a donation-based studio, there have been many mixed responses to it. 99.9% of the responses have been positive. My accountant has regained colour in his face since breaking the news to him, my family are optimistic my “do-or-die” attitude will see this idea succeed and expand, and of course my students have been amazingly supportive and helpful in spreading the word.

One thing I have noticed, however, is the animosity from (a select few) teachers and studios about this approach, making assumptions this venture is investor funded. Whilst I find that interesting, firstly it isn’t true (there is no investor funding) but a more important message here is that I will not allow the opinions or ridicule of others faze me. A lesson I feel compelled to share with you all.

You see, there will always be those who disagree, resent, challenge or (in the worst cases) outright try to sabotage your goals / dreams / desires. We cannot be naïve about this, but sadly this is the truth.

My intention is not to tread on the toes of other teachers or studios with this (donation-based) model, but rather to do things a little differently whereby yoga is made accessible to the majority rather than framed as an elitist practice for the minority. Yes, this puts me in the firing line for criticism and ridicule, but I don’t care. A person’s behavior, whether that be judgment and criticism, or encouragement and support, says more about them than it does about me.

I want this message to resonate with all those who have a dream they want to share with the world (…open your own café, book store, art gallery…) but fear the judgment and ridicule of others. If you let their opinions sway you, you will never live a life that is truly yours. To follow a passion that makes your heart sing. You will always be trying to please others, and in doing so, not only will you never succeed (as this is the impossible), you will also lead a very unsatisfying life. Stand up for what you believe in. Do what excites you and never let others pull you down.

You can Do, Be, Have anything you desire in this lifetime – you just need to have the strength and the courage to fight for it.

With regard to the studio I’m creating, I find it easy to move past the animosity as I have absolute clarity about why I’m doing this, and that is simply because I believe in this practice. I believe in how it can truly help people to live more fulfilled lives and as such it should be shared with as many people as possible, not limited by financial status. This practice helped me through some of my darkest days. It taught me to feel; to love myself and be at peace with who I am and how I stand in the world. I was one of the most self-conscious people out there. Diet after diet worried about my appearance. “Do I look too fat? Do I look too thin?” Now, I’m in front of hundreds of people (sometimes all at once) in leggings that leave nothing much to the imagination (as do all leggings), teaching people how to move and connect with their body. A completely life changing and liberating experience, one I believe is worth fighting for.

My passion, dedication and faith in this practice is too strong to allow any judgment or the fear of others deter me from pushing on. I hope you too can find the strength within to pursue your dreams. I believe in you. You’ve got this.

Sending hugs and strength your way,

Jessica xx

{One final thing – if you’re a teacher who would like to support this growing community and genuinely believe in this cause, then I want to hear from you. Email your resume to me at: hello@jessicadewaryoga.com. I would love to hear from you}. 

One year ago today...

One year ago today I left Australia and everything comfortable in my life to embark upon a new, exciting but also terrifying journey in pursuit of something more meaningful. I can’t help but feel quite emotional when I think about what this day meant for myself and Owen in particular. Holding each other tightly at the airport, we were devastated by the knowledge that as soon as we let go we could not hold each other again for three long months. But this was a sacrifice we both needed to make. Owen made this sacrifice as a symbol of his unconditional love and support of me and my dreams; I made this sacrifice as a symbol of my determination and commitment to pursuing a life that has meaning, that is authentic and that is chosen by me. A sort of self respect if you will. But despite knowing how important this was - for both of us in the end - it didn’t make those goodbyes any easier. Owen and I, and our Chug (pug x chihuahua) Tyrone are an inseparable trio. We like to think of ourselves as a tripod. We support one another. We are always there for each other. So for me to step away from our little family for so long was immensely challenging.

But here I am, one year later and soon to return to India for a second time.  My life has become  everything yoga - and I’m committed to teaching yoga full time. I let the corporate world slip away as it no longer serves me. Rather I’m on a path that is focused on health and well-being. On encouraging self respect, self love, self awareness. A path that has brought some of the kindest, most gentle and compassionate souls into my life. Once upon a time, when I was the corporate employee trying to escape the prison I had created for myself, I was that person, that employee who was desperately seeking a way out. I was the person who turned to yoga in search of solace. To allow my tired mind to rest. To look for strength when I felt weak. It is now me who is offering this to others. I mean - what an incredible gift I now have. An amazing opportunity to support and nurture people who are in a similar boat to where I was and assure that life can be ok. We can get through the challenges. We really can find stillness among the chaos.

Now - to be clear - this is not to say that yoga has made my life perfect. Far from it in fact. It’s highlighted just how imperfect my life is. But that’s ok. My life is real and it’s mine. Rather than look at challenges as barriers, I see them as opportunities. Rather than feel angry with myself for not being ‘strong’ today, I see that as a chance to look a little deeper and find out why. Rather than feel bitter toward the world for my life not turning out as I had hoped, I feel gratitude, choice and acceptance. Of course there are days where I feel victimised if something doesn’t go as planned. I want to blame others and receive the quick fix to a problem. I wouldn’t be human if this weren’t true. But it is through my practice that I’m able to quickly return to a place of understanding, acceptance and peace in knowing that it’s ok if things don’t always work out like we imagine. There is a reason for this and we just need to open our eyes to understand why - rather than become arrogant or naive to this knowledge.

For me - typical me - by now I had ideas for having a full blown studio with people bursting through the doors trying to get in. Turns out - this isn’t how business necessarily operates. Harsh wake up call. Money is not being thrown at me for memberships, investors are not banging down my door to get in on a piece of the action and I’m certainly not about to have this happen in the next few weeks. It would be nice but it’s just not very likely. Rather, I’ve been exposed to how tough the market is out there. How competitive this industry is. I’m not interested in that game though. I’m here to teach yoga for the love of yoga. I won't sell out just to make a buck. It is my responsibility to make sure I remain true to my practice and the philosophy of my practice. This has meant learning to organically grow my business and establish a community of people who respect my approach. Who seek the deeper aspects of yoga rather than look to yoga as a weight loss fad. This sort of following doesn’t come overnight. It takes time to build. I know this now. I also appreciate this now. For had I had a studio thrown into my lap without having gone through these struggle times, the humbling experiences of  going from a six figure income to nil (initially), learning how to negotiate when you have next to no authority to do so - I would not be the person I am shaping up to be. You see, every experience is a stepping stone to being better - in the task at hand, a hobby, in how I communicate, how I think, how I live. Whilst I have days where I truly hate these tougher times and wish it were easy, but at the end of the day, it is through these experiences that I am becoming a more well rounded human being. Whilst I’ve always tried to think this way, it has only been since I’ve made such huge changes in my life, (and experienced the never ending challenges as a result of my decision I might add), that I am knowing this to be true.

So today, I’m continuing to work on my speech where I will be presenting to over 200 people in a weeks time about Strength through Vulnerability. At the #GoFestival - Melbourne’s Women’s Expo and Conference. I’m absolutely terrified, but I’m also super excited to share this crazy journey with the world to show what is possible in this life. A year ago today I had no idea I would be preparing for something like this - which is huge for me. Nor did I believe i would have taught at multiple festivals in front of hundreds of people. Never in my wildest dreams or imagination would I have believed this to be true. But, it is. My life has taken a completely different turn, through nothing other than my choices, and I’m now on a crazy, whirlwind adventure which certainly keeps me on my toes. There is never a dull moment.

In just over a month's time I will be returning to India - a place I now consider to be my second home. Assisting Guruji with his next teacher training and continuing my personal training, I cannot wait to begin the next chapter of my life. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s hard work. And, yes it’s overwhelming at times. But it is real and it makes me smile every day. This is what it’s all about.


Seeking sponsorship

Considering I will be jobless (but still with financial responsibilities) very soon, it would be amazing if i could get some help by way of sponsorship. And I figure any contribution would be so wonderful and helpful.

So what have I done? Well, I’ve realised that I have a story to tell, one which I believe many people in the world can relate to. Considering thing, I thought it would be a good idea to begin by calling magazine publications for yoga magazines. Who knows - they may want to write an article about it when this is all done and I am beginning my new life as a yogi back in Australia?? One can dream!

So I’ve called the publishers for Yoga Journal and Yoga Life thus far. The woman at Yoga Journal gave me a flat out “No!”. But, I did gain some useful insight into what they do and don’t sponsor. For example, if i am holding an event one day, then they would be happy to send some magazines out which I could distribute on the day as a free gift. I think that is really cool and will be sure to keep that in mind. They also pay for articles when people send them in and choose to publish them - but that’s about as far as they are willing to go with me!

I also spoke with Collin from Yoga Life. What a wonderful man. Although he too said no to sponsorship, Collin and I chatted for some time about my venture and he seemed genuinely interested in what i was doing - offering suggestions for how i could seek employment when I get back to Oz etc. He even said he would be happy to post this blog on their FaceBook page to help gain some more interest. What a lovely a lovely thing to offer. It’s a great reminder of the good people who are in the world.

In summing up today’s post - what I believe is so magical about the world is the opportunities which exist if you just open your eyes to them. Yes, both magazines said no to my original query, but look at what I have learned and gained from calling just these two people. Imagine what could be achieved if I kept going. xxx