Jasmine, aka Jazzy, is for me one of a kind. Her heart is as big as the oceans, and her spirit as open and sparkling as stars of our galaxy. Yeah it is possible ! ;) She is part of that Yoga Gang we formed with Angie (see previous story) and is the one who initiated me to yoga. She has, as Angie, a very special place in my heart. She taught me so much of life, relationship, friendship and all and all. Good Californian she is, she has sunshine and all in her practice... and smile ! Enjoy the read ! xx C.
Age : 32
Nationality : American
Current city : San Francisco
Current job : Communications for a shared electric vehicle company
Years of yoga practice :12 years (since sophomore year of university)
Could you briefly describe what yoga means to you?
Yoga is me time. It’s what I do to reset and rebalance. When life adds up, I can always find my balance again on the mat. I practice yoga to slow my mind and heart, and to stretch and strengthen my body to give me the flexibility to handle what life throws at me. Over the years, yoga has also become a social activity for me, a place to bring friends together in a healthy way and a practice to share with those I love.
How did your path to yoga begin and how was the first time?
My first yoga class ever was in University. My roommate invited me to a class in a studio on a hill overlooking the ocean. I remember bumbling through the poses and looking around at everyone to make sense of it all. I continued occasionally through school, but it wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco and was introduced to Rusty Wells at Yoga Tree that I was hooked. His 100+ person classes with live music became my weekend routine. I used to joke that his classes were my “church”. To this day, I still hear Rusty’s voice when I do backbends or sneak in an extra pushup between vinyasas.
Why did you continue your practice? What does yoga bring to your life?
When I first moved to Shanghai in 2010, I struggled to find a studio that compared to the established ones of San Francsico. I remember going to a class at a gym that was more a gymnastics class than yoga! Yoga was still new to Shanghai and we all have to start somewhere, right? I missed yoga in my life and was thrilled when I found a studio that fit my needs. I felt like I had found home in a foreign place. I began making a yoga routine again, looking forward to it after a busy day or work, and bringing friends along to make it a social event. Yoga brings balance, relaxation and flexibility to my life.
What insights have you gained through yoga?
When my best friend, Angie, started to do yoga with me a couple of years ago, I admired how she always pushed herself. There were a number of poses I had done for years, and never tried to enhance, simply because I was stuck in a routine. Angie would sometimes look over at me during class, with a twinkle in her eye, and say “try it, Jazzy” when the teacher suggested an advanced pose. And the amazing thing? I often could! It was just mind over matter and having the bravery and inspiration to try. That is something I try to always carry with me today, on and off the mat.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve been facing in your practice in the overall (on and off the mat) ?
Not getting to class “enough” and then being hard on myself for not going “enough”. But then I remind myself: it’s all enough. It’s all good. We’re all doing the best we can. Sometimes you can go to yoga every day, and other times, once a week is what’s in the cards. I do sit a lot at work these days, so on a mat or not, it’s important to find ways to move my body and keep it lose and limber. When I don’t have time for class, I like to walk to and from work, or stretch on my living room floor.
What’s your mantra, if any? Your personal ethos?
My family has always been big on those. Probably “ask, believe receive” if I had to pick one. Wait, also “when life adds up, subtract”. When I’m stressed, I like to remind myself “you have all the time in the world”. And when faced with tough decisions, I often hear my father’s voice reminding me “be generous”.
Outside your yoga practice, what other routines help to support your body and mind?
Love. Falling in love. All over the place. With my partner, my family, my job, my home. Remembering that it’s all a big game and we’re here to play and support. Spending a balance of time between friends and down time. Walking places to move my body and process my busy mind. SLEEP. It’s the key to my happiness (maybe too much so!). I’ve been working in the garden and playing with plants recently. That’s always meditative to me.
What advice from your yoga practice you would like to share with other yogis ?
Any time on the mat is time well spent. I love Caroline’s quote the other day that said “the only person you should compare yourself to, is who you were yesterday”. And finally, just try!