How did you first start yoga?
I was at university in the U.K. and, after retiring from competitive swimming, I had been searching for something to fill that gap. During my final year of my degree, I was really struggling emotionally. A friend suggested I try yoga, and, after a few days, I was hooked. Yoga was time that was just for me (sometimes I only practiced for 10 minutes). I could forget about what coursework was due, where I had to be and who I had to see. It was just me and my mat, and for me that was a total game changer. I started craving that time.
What was the inspiration behind your movement & E-book Let’s Start Yoga?
When I started my yoga journey, I didn't feel like there was just one place that you could go to that would help you start your practice and really help you progress without having to go to regular classes all the time. I put together #LETSSTARTYOGA to help people start their yoga journey wherever and whenever they wanted. I wanted to build a family where people no longer felt intimidated to try something new; where people could connect, share their journey and realize that you don't have to have a background in gymnastics or ballet to be strong or flexible—you just have to start. I really believe that if I can do all these things, there's absolutely no reason why someone else can't do them either.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your yoga practice and how did you overcome it?
I think non-attachment is probably something I have to work on daily. It's definitely a process. Letting go of any expectations and just showing up on my mat.
What advice/words of wisdom do you have for people looking to start yoga?
Start. That's the hardest part with anything—that initial first step—so take it one breath, one pose, one day at a time and dive into the unknown. That's where the magic is.
What is your favorite asana and why?
I definitely go through stages of my favorite asanas. Right now I absolutely love forearm stands with a shifted gaze. Where I used to feel fear, over time I've found strength in allowing myself to feel vulnerable in this pose.
Who inspires you in your own yoga practice and why?
That's a really tough question because I think I draw inspiration from so many different people, and that's why I love Instagram so much. I believe everyone has their own magic that they bring into the world, and being able to connect to so many likeminded souls is something that inspires me on a daily basis. I want to also add that I think it's so important to be inspired by your own journey, how far you've come and where you want to go.
You can hang with Jessica on Insta at @jessicaolie