This is peace

Focus on the good in your life. Focus on presence. Focus on love and showing love to yourself and others. Once you do this, the overall happiness of your life will totally change. Suddenly life doesn't seem as hard. Rather, life is exciting and the challenges are embraced rather than avoided. And the ironic beautiful part is, when that fateful day comes, we can reflect upon our lives knowing we lived, felt and appreciated every moment.

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It's the little wins that make a big difference

 
 

Over the past month or so I’ve been nursing a bad back. Of all the times it had to play up, it was whilst back in India, but regardless I had to work with where I was at at the time – and I continue to do so each an every day. Since returning home my back has been 1000% better compared with what it was. A combination of my own bed, developing my pelvic floor strength and maintaining a regular practice have all contributed to the rapid healing process. But whilst my back feels better, if there was anything I learned whilst in India this time round, it was the importance of understanding my limits.

As an Ashtanga practitioner, unfortunately the ego can be a big problem. I see it a lot in yoga, but in Ashtanga especially (due to being such a physically demanding practice) the ego can quickly take over. Turns out, in my recent circumstances, if I allowed ego to take over I would have been in a much worse position and the healing may have taken far longer. Why? I would have pushed myself beyond what my body was ready to accept. For those who have not practiced in Ashtanga, it is a set sequence that involves many jump-backs and jump-throughs and these require excellent control of the core and pelvic floor.  I’ve somewhat feared the jump backs (into caturanga) as I’ve worried my core is not strong enough to support a soft land. If I don’t land softly and strongly then I run the risk of throwing my back out – again! Not ideal. Rather, I’ve been taking it nice and easy over the past few weeks by stepping back into a plank position before lowering into caturanga with control. I felt safe here and I knew this slower process was not only allowing my body to heal, but it was teaching me how to be more mindful when making this transition. I’ve seen many people injure themselves here because of a lack of core and pelvic floor strength and the reliance on muscle strength alone. This is a recipe for injury. Trust me, I know! But in my practice this morning I felt it was time to re-introduce jump backs. It took me a little while before building up the courage to make this transition, but when I did I felt elated. Turns out through my injury I’ve developed a control in my practice that I’ve not experienced before. Whilst it might sound a little crazy, my body felt light through the transition. Almost weightless for just a split second.

This feeling, however, only lasted for about 4-5 jump backs before I could feel myself getting a little lazy in the practice as I was tired. So I knew it was time to pull back and return to taking it one step at a time. For some, especially very advanced practitioners, this will seem irrelevant and unimportant. But for me, this is very important. It was a little win and I believe it is these little wins which amount to bigger and bigger wins over time. Whilst I’m referring to a physical movement, there is much more depth to this achievement when we look into it a little further. It’s about the commitment to the practice and to myself, to my healing. It’s about patience, trust and the ability to recognize when it’s time to challenge ourselves and when we need to pull back. It’s about the acceptance, self-love and the letting go of ego, which can be so destructive in our lives.

Having worked in Rehabilitation for so many years, I’ve seen countless people push their way back into a job that only further aggravated the injury they had – physically and emotionally. Placing unrealistic demands on themselves, comparing themselves to their colleagues and expecting they can push aside, or numb with drugs, the issues at hand. The reality is, when we are recovering from an injury or illness, or just learning something new, we need to allow ourselves the time to heal. To learn or relearn. And this all comes down to acceptance. Acceptance of the path you’re on, where you’re at on that path and the process you need to work through in order to continue moving forward. Do not underestimate the value and importance of taking one step at a time. These little steps, little wins, will not only make a big difference from a physical perspective, but it will also shape the person you are and are becoming.

Sending big hugs,

Jessica xx

To the lovely JD Yoga teachers

 
Ann & Charlotte
 

I’ve fallen many times. I want to avoid using the term failure as I believe there are no true failures out there, only lessons. Hence I am the first to admit there have been countless times in my life where I’ve made a decision and completely stuffed something up! From relationships, to career choices to restaurants for dinner – I am the Queen of Making Mistakes! But there is one area of my life, at this present moment, where I can quite confidently say I’ve not made a mistake, and that is with our team of teachers at our studio, Jessica Dewar Yoga.

It’s not often one can open a business only to leave three months later and have it still operate in your absence. But with the support of my team, this was not only possible, but it was almost too easy.

My teachers – Nat, Claire, Ruhee, Laura, Ann, Alba and Charlotte – have been nothing short of outstanding. As many of you yogis out there would know, the December/January period is generally a quieter time of year and as such many studio close. However not at Jessica Dewar Yoga. With such committed teachers backing our philosophy, we were all determined to stick to our commitment of making yoga accessible and continue classes during this time. And whilst there are many administrative processes that I (now) know needed to be done to prepare for this period, together we made this work.

 
Wonderful Ann

Wonderful Ann

 

Whilst I was in India I received multiple emails from students thanking me for the studio we are building, for the safe space we have created. Whilst it is so wonderful to receive these emails, the people they are really thanking are our teachers for without them none of this would be possible. (And I ask, if ever someone has feedback about a specific teacher, please do share it with me as I will always forward this on.)

 
Lovely Charlotte

Lovely Charlotte

 

Upon my return home, I found our gorgeous little space looking as perfect as when I left it. Our workshops have been booking out and classes are continuing to grow – all through word of mouth. And I know this is all thanks to the outstanding work these teachers put into our studio. Our goal is to provide the highest quality yoga to you all, and it appears these incredible ladies are doing just that.

To have teachers who care so deeply about a vision, a dream to share yoga with all, as the teachers at Jessica Dewar Yoga do, is rare. And I feel so proud to have these seven wonderful women leading our classes.

To see when our lovely teachers are next in the studio, head to jessicadewaryoga.com and book your next class. I know I speak on behalf of all the teachers when I say how honoured we feel to be invited to share this journey with you. To hold you when you need to be held, to challenge you when you need the extra push. A truly profound gift.

Thank you again Nat, Claire, Ruhee, Laura, Ann, Alba and Charlotte. You’re gentle, humble and kind hearts are truly valued by all, especially me.

Sending hugs (from Melbourne now – I’m back!),

Jessica xx

Memories to last a lifetime. Thank you 2016. It's been amazing.

 
Encounter Bay, South Australia. My special place.

Encounter Bay, South Australia. My special place.

 

As I write this entry, I’m sitting on my mother’s balcony in Victor Harbor, South Australia, overlooking one of my favourite places in the world. Encounter Bay. I’ve just finished my practice, with Bruce-Lee (my sisters British Blue cat practicing with me also), watching the sunrise from behind the sea. I can’t help but feel very blessed right now. 2016 will end for me on this very balcony watching fireworks from afar and 2017 will begin. The closure of one of the most fulfilling, yet toughest years of my life and the beginning of what will no doubt be an even bigger challenge yet rewarding year.

As I sit here waiting for the rest of the house to wake, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming gratitude for all the people who have stood by me this past year. My family, my friends, my teachers, my students, other businesses and of course, my partner. I believe to make something a success you need the right team behind you. I genuinely believe I have this in my life. And when I say team, I’m referring to all the people noted above. United by shared beliefs and respect, a particular type of student, teacher, friend has entered into my life over the past months. Hence the strength of the culture we are developing. We are united by the desire for a kinder world. The students who practice in our studio come from all manner of backgrounds. Some are more financially stable than others; some are corporate employees whilst others are artistic entrepreneurs or students. Some have never done yoga (or any exercise) before in their lives whilst others are advanced practitioners. No two people are alike and yet what I love about our community is despite our vast differences in life, there is a mutual understanding that this is not about money. This is not about showing how skilled we are or how ‘dolled-up’ we can look. There is no judgement if someone chooses to purchase a 10-class pass whilst the person next to them may be paying less for the same experience (as this is all that is available for them at the present moment). Rather there is an unsaid respect for each other’s journey and that shared purpose of improving ones self emotionally, spiritually and physically.

As the founder of this studio, I couldn’t be prouder of our evolving community. I genuinely believe by continuing to lead by example as we are, there will be a paradigm shift in how yoga is taught here in the west. A shift that ensures the practice remains inclusive as it is meant to be.

2016 has been a wonderful year. We’ve started to let people know who we are and what we stand for, to share what we’re creating. But now, to really make a dent in the industry and see fundamental change, we need to ban together to help spread the world. I know we can do this and I know 2017 is going to go off with a bang because of you.

To our biggest fans, thank you. This would not be possible without you.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe new year. May it be filled with joy and may you find the courage to follow your dreams. Make each and every moment count, because believe me, each and every moment is precious.

Thank you again everyone. We can’t wait to see you in the New Year!

Many hugs, thanks and good vibes,

Jessica xx

 

Gratitude. The healthiest emotion.

 
Jessica Dewar Gratitude
 

Goals are important. They give us something to look forward to. Goals keep us focused. But at times, we can become so preoccupied with achieving the goals, with what we don’t have, that we lose sight of what is already here. How many times have you heard stories of super successful business owners making it to the top but at the cost of their families and friendships. They’ve become so caught up in attaining the end result, with driving their businesses forward, that they forgot to stop and appreciate the journey to get there. To appreciate the love and support of their families, friends and colleagues.

We live in a very consumer focused world. We want more ‘stuff’. Stuff that is often used to fill a void, whilst offering very little by way of actual meaning. We consider stuff as a sign of success. If we have the car, the jewels, the clothes then we are deemed successful. Whilst it is not wrong to want these things – I want these things too. I’m human also. – there is so much in the here and now we can be grateful for. Moments, gifts, experiences that hold true value. That have actual meaning.

This morning, I had a student come to me and say, “Jessica, I absolutely love your classes.” At first glance this may not seem as significant as owning a sports car or mansion, but there was more value to me in that comment than in all the sports cars of the world combined. You see, there is a difference between people saying a comment like this in passing, and someone actually saying it from a place of pure authenticity and honesty. I felt the truth in her words and I was deeply touched by it. Whilst I have dreams to expand and open additional studios under this donation model – in pursuit of making yoga accessible to all – it is in moments like these that I’m reminded of how amazing this entire journey really is. I felt completely at peace with the world and the path I’ve chosen. However, if I didn’t stop to appreciate and enjoy the ride, then I would have missed this wonderful moment of gratitude.

To all of the students at Jessica Dewar Yoga, I want to thank you for making this journey so incredible and for your wonderful support and encouragement. You are a true inspiration and joy to teach. Thank you.

Sending hugs,

Jessica xx