Karma Yoga – The discipline of selfless action as a way to perfection.
At ASY, we love supporting our community and talking to our teachers and students about their experience with us. We also believe that it is important to keep the Yogi tradition alive and allow everybody enjoy authentic practice, this is why we have been running community, by donation only, Yoga and meditation classes at the studio every week.
This week we had the chance to have a chat to our Karma Yoga teacher, Jessica Wilson, about her experience of spreading the word of Yoga to our community. Jess has been teaching at Active Sanctuary Yoga since March 2018. She is just about turning 40, a wife, a mom and a manufactory business co-owner that enjoys giving back to the community through teaching.
Do you want to hear what Jess has to say on Karma Yoga and her own practice? Read through for the full interview!
Q: What brought you to Yoga?
A: I started practicing at 2008 and just loved it. It was something I was doing for fun!
And also I used to do a lot of running and it was getting quite hard on my joints. I found Yoga to be a very nice warm up exercise both physically and mentally.
Then I started to incorporate the discipline of Yoga into my practice and to understand my body better. That was when I found meditation and the other calming, healing effects of the practice. I liked that Yoga had all the facets of exercise that I was looking for: physical, mental and emotional, and it was also helpful with recovery and healing.
Q: What does Karma Yoga means to you?
A: I’ve realised that when I am helping people is when I am at my happiest. If I can help someone, doesn’t matter how small my impact is, it gives me satisfaction. So for me teaching is a way to actively be involved in helping people every week. You are not going to find a person in distress every day but by committing to karma work, you can always talk to people and support them in achieving their goals.
I know that I am helping to develop people as I tried the healing powers of the practice on myself, few years ago, when I became unwell. That was when I learned the most about myself and about healing. Now I can use this tool I learned through healing myself to help someone else and this is great!
Karma Yoga creates and opportunity for EVERYBODY to practice. You have nothing to lose when you are joining a community class and it is encouraging more people to give the practice a go, that might not have tried it otherwise.
I think that everybody should have access to Yoga.
Q: We think so too which is why we are so happy to have you here Jess! So what do you like about our studio in particular?
A: I like the atmosphere. It feels really homely and welcoming.
It is a small place so you don’t feel like you are just another number. I’ve practiced at some places before where I just felt that the teacher didn’t even know my name. At Active Sanctuary Yoga everybody remember you and get to know you.
It really creates a space for learning, development and healing because you get more of a hands-on type of practice.
Q: What is your personal practice routine?
A: I like to practice in the morning. I used to be quite regimented about what I have to fit in every session but now I just go with what my body feels. I usually start with some meditation, pranayama and few round of Suria namaskar. Then I explore few elements of the practice like balances or inversions.
Recently I got more into mantra and devotional chanting which is quite interesting. I’ve been looking at the effects of sound on my body. Sound is capable of breaking up patterns following the philosophy of playing a new tape in your mind. It is all about intercepting repetitive, negative thoughts with something more positive.
I am really enjoying this part of the practice and tend to incorporate sound in my teaching when it feels helpful.
Q: Your voice is amazing! We love the sound elements you bring in your teaching. What else can you tell us about your class in particular?
A: It is a generalised class for everyone. I try to give different options for each pose so all levels are welcome. I mainly cover foundation postures but also ad some sound and learning about the chakras. I often use my singing bowls and essential oils. I try to incorporate elements of healing in every practice.
Q: To conclude, tell us what is your favourite thing about the practice?
A: My favourite?… I like the moment when you are in a pose and you find yourself in between being in your body and being in your head. You kind of… there is no thoughts! You sort of arrived and even if you are fighting for balance or concentrating on something particular at some point within that pose you find a place of peace. I always look for it in every pose. And I love it when I find it! It is always there if you look for it.
Loved this interview and want to practice with Jess?
Jess is teaching Yoga, by donation only, every Saturday 10:00 AM at our beautiful studio in Prahran. Join her for a class! – Book your spot HERE