We are very excited to welcome Jess to the Yoga West team. She has been covering a few classes for us over the last few months and we are happy to have the opportunity to offer her a permanent class. She will taking over the Wednesday 18:45-19:45 class from Alice and will do so from 4 April.

We caught up with her to find out more about her journey through yoga and becoming a yoga teacher.

How did you get in to yoga?

I started yoga after a restrictive injury in my right shoulder left me unable to practise other sports. Initially, yoga didn’t come easily to me. I found it a challenge both physically and mentally, but every time I left the mat I felt like a new person.

Was there a moment when you realised that you wanted to pursue yoga seriously?

It was a natural and gradual progression for me. I started doing self practice alongside the classes I was attending. For me this is when I really began to fall in love with yoga and dedicate more time to it. Self-practice teaches you so much about your body and your thought process. I initially did my Teacher Training to develop my self-practice and to get a better understanding of yoga. I was teaching for free for a year and it was then when I decided I wanted to dedicate more time to my students and my practice.

How has yoga changed you?

Yoga and meditation has helped me see things in a different light. It has helped me learn to be more aware of my thoughts, to take a moment before I react to things, and to be more mindful through out each day (however this only comes with continual practice).  It helps me deal with the pressures of modern life and my internal fluxes. On a physical level my body is more open and I’ve developed more strength.

What is your approach to teaching?

My classes incorporate a fun and creative flow to harmonising music. With an emphasis on drawing in at the beginning of the class to encourage a settled mind, followed by continual and fluid movement that strengthens and nourishes the body and helps your mind feel centred. I like to offer lots of options as every student feels different each day. Some days students will feel energised and other days students might want to flow more gently. It’s important to me that students leave feeling calm and uplifted, with a greater sense of awareness.

What advice would you give to people who are considering taking up yoga?

Don’t over think it. At the end of the day yoga is fun! We get to move our body in interesting ways and have a whole hour or more to ourselves. It can be challenging for people for different reasons but give it a chance and try different classes. Every style and teacher is very different and not every teacher will resonate with you. Tell reception what kind of thing you’re looking for and they’ll advise who and what style is right for you.

Do you have a favourite yoga quote?

‘The light that yoga sheds on life is something special. It is transformative. It does not just change the way we see things. It transforms the person who sees’. B.K.S. Iyengar