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}. 

In pursuit of a kinder world

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga
 

Kindness. What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to be kind to ourselves? What does kindness look like when bestowed upon others? These are important questions I believe we could all take a moment to sit and reflect upon.

Many people have asked why I’ve chosen to open a studio that operates solely on the generosity of the students who come to practice there. Who come to be a part of this community. My answer, is a “dream for a kinder world.” I’ve always liked to believe people are innately good. Whilst some say this is a naïve belief, I like to think it is true. My career in Rehabilitation introduced me to a very negative, angry world, an experience I am truly grateful for as it has very much contributed to the person I am today. I found through my work, that judging others for poor behavior, harmful words or actions was never going to lead to a successful result for the client or myself as their Consultant. Instead I sought to understand. I wanted to look beyond the behavior or words to learn why someone was behaving in such a harmful way (to themselves mostly). When I took the time to get to know people and learn of the difficulties in their lives, I saw the human. The soul. The heart that had been covered in stress, worry and pain. This is who they truly were/are – not their words or poor actions.

Now, to be clear here, seeking to understand a person’s underlying motives does not excuse bad behavior, but this attitude to my work helped me to connect with people as I was genuinely empathetic to their situation.

I found people often just needed a soft place to land. When life is stressful, we can act out. We become defensive, aggressive and feel hopeless. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes a mere flicker if it exists at all. But when someone is there to remind us of the possibilities we are capable of, to encourage us to get up every time we fall, to help us feel we are enough when everything in our being makes us feel worthless – then I believe a kinder, more compassionate world can exist.

My mission with Jessica Dewar Yoga is to make the studio this soft place for people to land, especially when they are facing challenging times in their lives. I want people to feel like it is OK not to have their shit together. To feel accepted and enough, just as they are. We are so hard on ourselves nowadays, always feeling like we’re not doing a good enough job – parents feeling like they’re terrible parents, students worry their grades are not good enough, business owners fear taking a coffee break will see their business collapse. We all need to have space to take a step back, breathe deeply and just slow down – and for that to be ok.

At the end of the day, we are all fighting the same battle. Life is tough. But life is also beautiful. Through cultivating a community committed to supporting one another along this journey, regardless of how vastly different it may look from one person to the next, then I believe that kinder world will exist – purely through increased awareness, a more relaxed state of mind and healthier outlook upon self-love. Happiness is not a destination. It is a state of mind and if I can do anything to help others feel that little bit happier in their lives, then I consider my work, my cause to be a success.

Do you feel life is just that little bit too much at times? What do you do to try and manage the daily stressors of life? I would love to hear from you and by sharing your story your healing others to realize they too are not alone. We’re in this together.

Sending huge hugs and love,

Jessica

Imperfection is perfection. Embrace it.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga
 

Chatting with a beautiful soul today, another yogi, I was reminded of how valued honesty and vulnerability is in the world. How refreshing it is to read content from another human and know it’s completely 100% authentic. That it hasn’t been toyed with to suit what other people want, but rather that it gives people a window into another persons life and all the ups and downs she faces within it.

My intention for this blog was very clear from the beginning. Be truthful. Be real. Be me.

This was important to me for two main reasons.

1)   I tend to get through the tougher times when I write them down. It helps me to clear my mind and somehow gives me the strength to keep going. My partner ALWAYS know when I haven’t been blogging or journaling. My thoughts become scattered and irrational. This is not a peaceful way of living. So getting it out – whether on paper or computer – is really therapeutic.

2)   I can’t help anyone unless I’m completely transparent and authentic. I don’t know about you, but reading stories where nothing goes wrong and is somehow perfect – is not only boring, but it’s complete shit. LOTS of things go wrong in my life, and I’m not afraid to be upfront about being human. It’s in the going wrong where I learn my most valuable lessons, so I do my best to embrace the good and tough times equally. It’s a humble and calmer way to live.

I personally don't like the photo I've used for this blog and truth be told - whilst we're on the subject of honesty! - I wasn't going to show it to the world. But me being me, and being too dam stubborn to let the ego take over and delete it from the blog, I decided to share it. You see, in this picture my technique is very poor and I cringe every time I look at it. My shoulders are slumped, my core is weak, my feet are barely off the ground and my body is too far forward. I recall having a lot of nasty little rocks under my palms when I attempted this asana and it really affected how I came in and out of it. Whilst I look smiley and happy, because I was having a huge amount of fun doing this shoot, I was also hoping any lacerations to my palms wouldn't get infected... Infection is not ideal at the best of times, let alone when you're in India. What I've come to accept (not easily I might add), is who cares if the posture wasn't perfect?! If another practitioner looks at the image and sees how imperfect the posture is - who cares? I don't. Because it says more about them at the end of the day then it does about me.

One of my all time favourite chick flick movies is Bride Wars. The other is Bridget Jones’ Diary. Officially the best movies in the world and I could watch them on repeat (and have done so many times) day in and day out. I just love them. So, in Bride Wars, after all the malicious attempts to ruin weddings, Kate Hudsons character (a successful lawyer) shares her realization that she doesn’t have to keep everything together all the time. That it’s an exhausting way of living. Now, whilst I appreciate this isn’t the deepest of movies, at the end of the day this message really is quite poignant. Because the truth is – not only is it exhausting and stressful trying to have everything together all the time (because you fear what others might say if you have a hair out of place), but it’s also impossible. I know I’ll never make a Stepford Wife?! (I can’t help but grin as I write this, knowing my partner will read it and be like – “Yup! You got that right Jessica!”).

Women in particular can be very harsh with themselves in this way. We get promoted and fear it’s only a matter of time until we get caught. We feel undeserving of compliments, success and often love – real love. But the truth is, we are the right person for the promotion – it came to us because we worked for it God dam it! We are deserving of all the compliments, success and love that comes our way. I know this to be the case with men also, just not as strongly as it is for women. We spend WAY too much time worrying about what others are thinking about us rather than just being present in the moment.  A really stressful way of living and I’m super guilty of this. I work hard every day to alter my thoughts to ones that are life giving rather than life taking, as this is. Yoga has been such a powerful tool in my life for this very reason.  

I share my ups and downs with the world, firstly for me. Secondly, I hope that in doing so I encourage other men and women to be OK with not being perfect. To be OK with always being in suck mode. To having a stressful day and not having your shit together all the time. To trust everything will work out even in those stressful everything is falling apart times  – because it will. At the end of the day, my journey is my journey and I can either choose to enjoy it or be stressed out of brains trying to perfect it. I know what path I will choose. Which shall you?

Sending love and worthy vibes to you,

Jessica xx