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

Be authentic. Be real. Don't settle.

 
 

An interesting thing occurred in the previous week. I was asked to demonstrate how I teach to a fellow teacher here in the west. As I’ve always maintained, an eastern trained teacher commonly teaches VERY differently to a western trained teacher. This particular person was trained here in the west, in the very famous Byron Bay (the hub of yoga here in Aus).

With a well known reputation here in Melbourne, I would be lying if I wasn’t nervous at first. I almost felt like I was being tested or something?! My immediate thought was to teach how I thought this woman would WANT me to teach. My ego kicked in and naturally I wanted to impress her. But as soon as the ego came, I was quick to let it go and remember what is most important to me and my practice.

  1. I wholeheartedly believe in the eastern approach to yoga. This is where I have gained most benefit (with little success under a western approach) so why should I compromise those beliefs to suit what I think someone else wants to see?

  2. It is not important to me what other teachers or students think of my approach to teaching. I’m so aware that my style will never resonate with everyone - I mean, how could it! We are all on different paths and we all need to do what feels right for us. In my case, I developed a deep respect for a traditional approach to yoga. So this is what I shall teach. Those who like it too - awesome. Those who do not - then that is totally ok!

  3. It’s good to be different. If I hear one more Gorilla pose or Wild Thing pose, I might just…. I’m not sure. But what I do know, is I have a profound respect for learning the traditional Sanskrit names and their correct translations and techniques. I feel this is fundamental to remaining respectful to the practice and its heritage. Whilst this particular teacher prefers to use terminology like Roadkill Pose and places little regard for guiding students into and out of the asanas, I on the other hand will not change my language/demonstrations to appeal to others. Not only would this be incorrect, but on a more personal level, it would be inauthentic.

In retrospect, this experience was so liberating for me. As the person who was never the popular girl at school, uni, work… as I was often too focused on my work to worry about anything social - the natural tendency is to do what others do to try and fit it. I also know this teacher was not fond of my approach to yoga. She didn’t tell me that of course, but after many years of working with all different types of people - the people pleasures, the outright liars, the worriers, the egotistical ones.. let’s just say I can pretty easily pick up what someone is thinking/feeling. The best part, however - for the first time in my life I was so pleased by this outcome. In the past I would have felt lesser than, judged, unimportant, questioned if i was any good at what i do. Not now. Now I take this as a sign of - “Yes! Look at how far I’ve come. How confident I’m becoming in myself and my abilities. To have the courage to remain true to myself despite probable judgement or ridicule. That I’m making my opinion matter” Woot!!

I went to India to train because I did not want to be like every other teacher out there. I went there because I wanted learn from those closest to the traditional heritage of this practice and then share this back here in the west. I don’t want to play Chinese whispers with this practice like many have (myself too to a degree of 10,000 years or so). So for me, it made sense to go to as close to the source as possible - to where it all began - for it is from this place that I believe that the most amazing benefits can be experienced.

What I’ve come to realise through my practice is - to hell with want I think others want of me. I love how I teach, and I have an amazing group of students who also appreciate my approach. Never before have I felt as empowered as I did in the moment I remained totally true to my practice. With nil capital and only a small audience, it’s very easy to be intimidated by the big boys. But at the end of the day - true passion, belief and guts cannot be bought. It comes from within.

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.

Namaste.

The truth is, this is hard. Really hard. But it's real.

I won’t lie. There’s a reason why I haven’t blogged in such a long time. One which I’m not sure too many people/public figures would be so honest about, making it all the more important to share. In short, it’s because I was starting to lose myself in the inauthentic ways businesses market themselves to grab audiences. The half naked instagram pics, the paid Facebook ads which strategically target people who’ve never come across you before. Whilst I know marketing is super important, it’s the HOW it’s done which is crucial. Trying to be someone I’m not, or mimic people who’ve made it big by wearing skimpy outfits is just not me.

Trying to be someone I'm not.

Trying to be someone I'm not.

Recognising this, and understanding this is not who I am, the message i want to convey or the path I want to follow, I was not prepared to blog about the same crap other people share in an attempt to get superficial followers. I was not prepared to compromised by brand, Naked  Yoga. for this. Truth be told. I needed to make sure I was completely centred and back on track before speaking with you all.

This is my truth.

This is my truth.

It's about surrendering yourself. Being authentic and never allowing yourself to be sucked in to inauthentic ways of being. There is nothing for us there.

It's about surrendering yourself. Being authentic and never allowing yourself to be sucked in to inauthentic ways of being. There is nothing for us there.

Since beginning this journey as a teacher, I’ve done nothing but read, ask questions, train, read some more to become the best possible teacher I can be. Of course there is also the business side of things, where I need to learn how to make a living as a teacher. Coming from a six figure income to that of a new yoga teacher is certainly not easy. With the added challenge of soley managing a property portfolio, I really do have my work cut out for me. But with all the risks analysed, I knew the only option for me was to risk it all and follow my heart. Sounds a little cliche. I know. But it’s the truth and I’ll never look back. I’ve had some amazing wins and also alot of let downs - people promising and not delivering, money being spent in the wrong areas, hopeful opportunities turning into disasters. Business is certainly not easy - but for me, it’s the only way to live the life I desire and to share what I’m passionate about.

What I wanted to share with you all today are the struggles and challenges this journey has presented so far. Whilst the story sounds idyllic - corporate woman quits her soul destroying career to become a barefoot yogi - I can assure it’s not all glamorous. In short, starting a business is bloody hard work. One of the primary challenges with yoga is it’s now a flooded market where every studio in the west (so it seems) is offering teacher training. This means there are new teachers emerging after as-short-a-time as one weekend of study. Scary right!

Why do studios do this? Well, again, it’s a flooded market and this is their way of trying to make ends meet to cover the expenses of rent, teacher's, equipment etc. The problem, however, which seems to be constantly overlooked, is the quality of teachers are declining through inadequate training opportunities being made available in exchange for a quick buck. These studios are also training people who become their competition down the street! It’s a vicious circle that has become so obvious to me since becoming a teacher, but for whatever reason, it studios continue to work in this way. Blind eyes are being turned everywhere.

My biggest disappointment has been the complete disregard for our students. Whilst I feel it is my responsibility to be the best teacher I can be, with a commitment to returning to India at least yearly to continue my studies with Guruji, these quick courses (led by teachers who too have completed quick courses) are resulting in sub par training being delivered to the unknowing practitioner in the west. Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say all teachers are like this. Absolutely not. There are some phenomenal teachers out there, it’s just that they are becoming very few and far between. I too know I have a long way to go with my training - a LONG WAY - but I’m committed to that path and every struggle I shall face as I go along because it is my students who I have the responsibly to, and I hold this very sacred.

So with all of that said, what I’m now up against are well established businesses with their dedicated followers and very limited resources. I’m at a stage in my business where I cannot and will not compromise on quality, and that goes from the type of Christmas cards I send to clients, to the design of my dream studio. Although this significantly limits what i can do, build, share with clients, it means I need to somehow start getting savvy about raising capital to create the high end, highest quality yoga studio in Melbourne. This is my goal. I then intend to expand within Victoria, other states and then internationally. Naked Yoga was not an accidental business concept. The tag line, Pure Practice, speaks of everything I’m about; that Naked Yoga is about. It speaks of the commitment to the ancient practice without the need for mincing it together with modern western exercise classes, such as pilates. It speaks of practitioners learning how to be vulnerable through their practice, to listen deeply and intently to their bodies so as to better understand the self. It highlights the rawness of what is being experienced. For what I’ve come to realise through many years of practice, is that it is only through having the space, commitment and support to practice traditional yoga, without westernised distractions, that the best results are achieved. Mentally, physically and spiritually. It is here that people will see the most fundamental transformations in their lives. I know this because I’ve been there. The challenge for me now is to spread this message. To help people to understand that this is what Naked Yoga is all about. How to do this as an entrepreneur with no startup capital? To be honest, I don’t know. But slowly I’m getting out there. I just trust and have faith that the word will spread, and soon the dream studio will be ready and more and more people will be able to experience Naked Yoga.

naked-yoga.com.au

naked-yoga.com.au