I “met” Jessica a few years ago during an online book exchange. We quickly become virtual buddies, but have actually never met IRL (in real life). One of the amazing things about technology is that we have been able to have great conversations about travel, veganism and body image, even though we live miles apart. You can visit her blog by clicking here. Jessica is a fitness instructor, a vegetarian and a world traveler. Jessica is what a yogi looks like.
1. When did you start doing yoga and why? I don’t remember exactly but I’m sure I started because I’d heard so many good things about it.

2. What myths or misconceptions did you have about yoga before starting?The first time I went the instructor kept associating each pose with “the season” (it was mid-late December) and talked about how different poses let in the joy of the season or opened you up to receiving the blessings of the season. I was quite turned off by it.  It took me a few years to try it again because I wanted a more physical and less spiritual practice.

3. What is your favorite pose and why?As boring as it sounds, my true favorite pose it forward fold as I do it all throughout the day to relieve pain in my back.  But, other favorite poses include tree and bird of paradise. Tree pose is something my family has adopted and has a lot of special meaning.  Bird of paradise is the most difficult pose I’ve ever managed. I know there’s not supposed to be any competition on the mat but when I saw one of the guys in class do the post (which I had thought I’d never be able to do so I’d never tried) I thought, “Well, if he can do it then I’m doing it.”  And I did. I’m not exactly proud of that but I am glad that it gave me the motivation to go for a pose I never would have otherwise attempted.
Jessica 1
4. What are your thoughts on yoga and body image and has it affected your practice?I can talk a good game about having a positive body image and feeling comfortable with oneself but truthfully, when I tried taking a picture for you to include with this I hated them all!  Fortunately, I’m able to let all of that go when I’m on the mat and honestly don’t care how I look (although I’m sure I secretly hope everyone else thinks I look good).  I think it’s difficult to truly feel like you don’t look a little silly or even ridiculous contorting yourself into some of the poses. But that’s not what it’s about.
5. Do you feel that yoga conflicts or compliments your religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identification or any other form of your identity? I don’t feel like yoga conflicts with any part of me.  I’m an atheist and I don’t see yoga as anything related to religion. For me it’s purely physical.
6. What do you love most about yoga? When I’ve been away from it for a while and go back, I almost hate it. By that I mean I hate how difficult it seems at first and how much of a struggle it is.  Even if I feel better after I do it.  But I do it because I know I will feel better and that the more I do it the better I will feel.
7. What would you say to someone who is hesitant about starting a yoga practice?Even if you hate it the first time or ten, keep going.  It doesn’t matter if your hands don’t reach the mat or if you fart going into downward dog.  I’ve taken a retired US Army soldier who had several physical issues due to his service and he left the first class cursing my name and threatening my life. Then he came the next week and went and bought a mat and blocks.  After a month or so he started telling others about how good he felt. It’s not a cliché to say that everyone can do it and I whole-heartedly believe that everyone can benefit from it.
Thank-you, Jessica!
Would you like to be featured? I would love to hear about your yogic journey. I am looking for yogis of all levels, years of experience, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identifications and sects. Please email me at angieeatspeace at gmail.com.