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}. 

The Inner Critic versus the Inner Mentor

 
 

I’ve been listening to a wonderful book by Tara Mohr called Playing Big (I'm the slowest reader on the planet so listening is my preferred method). I’m only a third of the way through but I’m finding it to be profoundly important, especially at such an uncertain time in my life.

In her book, Tara explains how powerful the voice of the inner critic can be. She refers to this voice as one which tends to, unintentionally, keep us small. To stop us from ‘Playing Big’. This voice in our minds eye is there to protect us. It protects us from being vulnerable should we be placed in foreign situations. Unfortunately, however, it’s this same inner voice, this inner critic, that prevents us from trying new things, from experiencing new potentials. It’s the voice that tells us we have nothing valuable to say when we sit down to write that blog post or start the novel we’ve been planning to write for the past 5 years. I know my inner critic has prevented me from doing many things with my life. Why? Because I allowed it to. It felt safe and comfortable listening to this voice, indulging it. I didn’t have to try as much for I had an excuse not to. After all, “…as if you have the power to influence others in a positive way Jessica? Who would want to listen to you?” See how it works.

When I met the wonderful man in my life 10 years ago, he saw just how paralyzed I was by this internal world I had created for myself. Just as we get stronger when we go to the gym and do weights every day, this inner voice, my inner critic, had developed Hulk-like strength. This voice dictated my life.  It was so limiting that leaving the house without having mopped the floors and done my washing on a Saturday was verging on unbearable. OCD much! Heaven forbid had I left the bed unmade! 

10 years ago I made a decision I didn’t want to ‘play small’ anymore. I didn’t want to allow myself to live a life that was so bound by (my own) rules, so afraid of change and so victimized by the negative stories I repeatedly told myself – over and over and over again. So I began the long and ongoing journey to begin strengthening the voice of my inner mentor, as Tara would call it. She is the person I aspire to be. The person who is free from worry, from irrational thought, and is completely secure in how she stands in the world. She is the person who reminds me to keep going even when the present world around me feels as though it’s about to fall apart (which is most days at the moment – there’s no point lying!).

At the end of the day, I don’t know all the answers. God help me if I did! But what I do know is I’m taking active steps every single day to be the person who I believe I can be. To do what makes me smile and what gives meaning to my life. There are days when I allow the inner critic to take control of my thoughts and therefore my behavior. Those days are generally not fun at all. But when I take a moment to gather my thoughts, breathe deeply and just be, suddenly the drama disappears and my self belief reappears. This doesn’t mean the difficulties are gone. Let’s be totally frank here – life is always going to be filled with challenges. The difference is in how we respond to those challenges. That is what defines us.  That is what determines whether you follow a meaningful path, headed toward the place of wisdom where your inner mentor waits, or weather you remain stagnant, afraid and playing small.

For 10 years now, I’ve always maintained an attitude that anything is possible, and I maintain it to this day. Through my career in Rehabilitation, I’ve seen people recover from some of the most horrendous accidents whilst others who have had relatively minor incidents in comparison spiral downward. Why? Because it comes down to our choices. It comes down to the person we want to be in this life. No drug, no outfit, no amount of yoga can turn your life into what you want it to be. You need to want it for yourself, believe it can be yours and then fight hard for it. From here, yes, absolutely anything is possible.

So with that said, take some time to think about the stories your inner critic likes to share with you on a daily basis that keep you small. Be grateful for them and then graciously let them go. Visualise your inner mentor and the characteristics she/he possesses. When you feel anxious about a decision, ask yourself, what would my inner mentor do? And do that. Remember, your inner mentor is your place of wisdom, a place you can trust. There is nothing to fear here for he/she holds all the qualities you’re aspiring to possess. He/she is now showing you how to attain them.

I would love to hear from you? What is something in your life you dream to do but fear trying? Moving house? Changing jobs? Going on a holiday – alone! It could be anything. Then – let me know what your inner mentor would do in the same situation? You might be surprised at would you find out.

Be strong. Be powerful. Be you.

Sending huge hugs and love your way,

Jessica xo

We are what we think

Presentations for our thesis’ have begun as of today. (I’m presenting tomorrow on migraines). Today’s topic, stroke, led onto many important discussions. Firstly, yoga can offer wonderful benefits to a stroke patient, helping them to regain motor movements etc. But bigger than that, is the person’s ability to challenge their mind and learn to believe in their own ability to become stronger - regardless of illness, disease, injury.

This is a fundamental problem, not only in yoga, but in life. When looking at yoga specifically,  people are often so fearful they will hurt themselves (myself included - don’t get me wrong). This fear stems from a lack of belief in ones own ability to do something, Chakrasana for example. But this fear stops people from reaching heights they never thought imaginable. “We are what we think.” This so important for people to remember. If we think we are ill, we are ill; if we think we are depressed or anxious, then we are depressed or anxious; if we think we have chronic back pain and will never be able to do Sirsasana - guess what, you never will and the pain will follow you everywhere you go. I’ve been there. Believe me. And it’s something I have to work on daily (in various areas). But it’s through a willingness to learn and trust the body that the monumental benefits of this practice can help people. When looking into illnesses or diseases, these are so many problems in the world which could be cured just from a more positive frame of mind (yoga aside).

My teacher was run over by a bus at age 19, with 36 passengers on it. He spent 44 days on his back in the hospital unable to move at all. He was told his yoga days were over. He was also told that if he didn’t agree to have surgery on his shattered left thigh (which had tyre marks on it for months later apparently) or shit shattered left ankle, then he would lose his legs. My teacher knew he could heal his own body - it’s ever changing. We have a completely new body every 200 days, and he knew this. He also knew he would return to yoga no matter what it took. Other than his legs and ankle, he had severe sciatica, slipped disc in his back, dislocated knee and also damaged left shoulder. Today, he experiences no pain. My teacher, Bharath, is now a world leading practitioner who travels all over to teach at international events. Here, I watch him fly into asanas which I dream to do one day. His strength, flexibility and stillness of the mind is inspirational, and this story is a fantastic example of what can be achieved if we want it enough. Remember - “we are what we think”

My commitment to myself is to always; challenge myself, think positively and let go of the fear. Infinite possibilities are on the otherside. For me, this is truly living.

Namaste xx


Life in Gokulam, Mysore

Self belief - so fickle. Wouldn't you agree?

Let’s just say today was one of those days of fluctuating between believing in yourself and thinking you’re an absolute joke. Chatting with Owen today, the theme of self belief came up. If you’ve read my blog or know me personally, you would know my intentions are to share my learnings from India with the rest of the world as a teacher. I also intend to own my own business one day, with a studio and also hosting retreats in luxury accommodation. Where my students are treated to a few days of complete respite, to allow their tired bodies to rejuvenate, relinquishing all worries for a few days. To experience the absolute bliss yoga can offer. This is what I dream to do. But today I was really honest with Owen about my personal doubts in my own ability to actually ‘pull this off’. The negative voices in my head, which try so hard to take over, are there constantly. But I know I cannot give into them. I know any self doubt will stop me from carving the path, the life, I dream of. So I have to actively cancel these thoughts. Not pay attention to them. To remind myself that anything is possible if you want it enough. If you work hard enough at it. I truly believe this, and I know my dreams for yoga will be realized soon. But again, as I mentioned before, there are days when I need to work harder to conjure up positive messages of self belief. I think this is called life.

I’m a doer in life. As the baby of eight children, I worked out pretty early on if I wanted something, I needed to get it myself. Especially as an adult, this is how I have always operated. Because I am fortunate enough to have found a true passion which gives meaning to my life, yoga, I am now committed to realising these dreams. To achieve my goals. I am firm about the opinions I will listen to and accept versus those which offer nothing and should be ignored. One has to be. This also goes for the messages I tell myself, as I said earlier. I am so strict with what thoughts/beliefs I will allow into my life and which ones I will choose not to indulge. Anything which says I can’t do something, for example, is something I choose to ignore. If I don’t do this, (and I believe this to be true for everyone), then I wouldn’t be here in India following my heart. Or if I made it this far but allowed self doubt to creep in, then I certainly wouldn’t see my training through. It would be far easier to fly home to the man and pooch whom I miss desperately. But what kind of life would that be? I know I cannot give up on myself. And nor should anyone.

I guess the point I’m getting at is - everyone else can see potential in others and yet the person themselves often cannot see the potential in themself. Why do we all struggle so much to see the good in ourselves, to see the immense strength and courage we all possess within? If everyone were brave enough to look inside and trust themselves, the possibilities of what could be achieved are limitless. Boundless. Maybe we all need to take a huge look in the mirror and ask ourselves - “am I living my life how I had always hoped to live it?” If the answer is no, then ask “what do I need to do to create that life?” Then do that. And let go of the self doubt. It does not serve you.

The clock is ticking and we don’t know when it will stop. So if ever there is a time to listen to yourself and just go for it - it’s now. That’s is why I’m here. Because I suddenly realised, tomorrow will never come. Food for thought.

Namaste xx


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