Jessica is an old friend. Both founders of Gather yoga have at one time or another been empolyed by Jess at her studio O2 Yoga Breathe Life. That we adore her still is testament of her character. In our humble opinion, anyway. Jess has been a mentor, a guide, a resource, a sister and an inspiration for Gather since it’s earliest days. She recently joined The Local Collective and is busy filming for her first collection ready in the new year. Meet Jess!
Hometown: Nyon, Switzerland
Home Studio/s: 02Yoga Breathe Life
gy: Why do you teach yoga?
jm: My first love is transformational growth and human nature. Yoga and the teaching of it became the perfect vessel to communicate and share my first passion. What blows me away is witnessing the journey of integration into ones wholeness where the student shines with inner confidence and radiance. If I can in any way be that mirror that reminds them that their journey begins with them and ends with them I am serving my dharma.
gy: What first brought you to the mat? Give us a short story of your first yoga experience.
jm: An early morning habitual jog on a random autumn day in California changed my life forever. It was dawn and the streets were still dark and deserted. I heard a voice whisper- who are you running from? I heard- me. At that moment, I tripped on the asphalt. Disoriented, I wiped my the dirt of my leggings and noticed a lit sign to my right- Yoga. I walked in and joined my first class, a self-led Ashtanga class. I was instantaneously in aw- the sound of the breath, the focus, the grace, the stability, the coordination, the flexibility and then there was savasana…. In a pool of tears and tingling sensation, I was transported to a place that I had long ago forgotten- me.
gy: What yoga teacher(s) has most influenced your practice and teaching?
jm: My first teacher is my life and how life sifts through me, what I experience, what sparks my intuition and what has invited me to be the person that I am today. My second teacher, and with veneration, is Rod Stryker of Parayoga who has most influenced my practice and growth as a teacher. Without omitting a huge influence by Ulla Lungren of Anusara Yoga and Yogaswari, Sharon and David of Jivamukti Yoga.
gy: How would you describe your teaching style?
jm: Eclectic- an infusion of Tantric and Buddhist Traditions, set into an energetic motion of vinyasa guided by the breath and wrapped around reflective themes that transport the student back to him or herself. The practice is intentional and deliberate, deep and slow, conscious and thought provoking, intense, yet nurturing and heartfelt. It is a journey onto oneself- a full circle.
gy: What’s your go-to yoga pose when you only have a few minutes? Why?
jm: Adho Mukha Svansana – Downward Dog. Because it is an inversion but also laterally stretches my waist, and a forward fold as it stretches the back of my thighs, a heart opener if I exaggerate the lumbar curve (not recommended for more than a breath of two), and a resting pose where I drop my thoughts.
gy: Where do you most tap into inspiration? Any resources you could share with us?
jm: My life experiences are where I draw my inspiration from and what propels me to create sequences that can carry the life lesson that I wish to convey. My second inspiration is my home practice that is experimental and so in the moment of what I need most.
gy: What would the soundtrack of your life sound like?
jm: My breath. Slow, intentional, deep and heartfelt.
gy: Describe your life ten years from now . Where are you living? What are you doing?
jm: Without a doubt, I will be doing what I love- feeling inspired, inspiring others through my teaching, writing and emotional coaching. A book published and a little sunny flat on some beautiful beach and enjoying traveling, love and life.
gy: What is your favorite tradition or ritual?
jm: My home practice is what I begin with every day, whether it is just 10 minutes or 2 hours. It is the ritual that reminds me to be me.
gy: You have a Sunday all to yourself. How do you spend it?
jm: A home practice, a swim or a long walk, eating lots of avocados, slowing down my cadence, catching up with friends and lots of alone time too!!!
gy: What do you value most in your relationships?
jm: Authenticity and open heart expression.
gy: Tell us about your first love. Five words or less.
jm: Out-of-the-blue. Connected. Loving. Exciting.
gy: What’s the picture on your phone’s background? Why did you choose it?
jm: A line of monks chanting in front of me after giving alms (saibat). Luang Prabang is my home away from home. I am deeply touched by this place, the culture and above all the people. Eleven trips in five years has taught me so much about myself, life and connection. I am infinitely grateful.
gy: When you’re gone, what do you hope people remember about you?
jm: What I want people to remember the most about me is that you are uniquely whole and your place on this planet is inspiring indispensable. If my presence or the memory of me can remind others to feel and honour their wholeness and shine it outward then I have accomplished what I most wish for.
gy: Any particular yama, niyama or sutra that speaks to you right now? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
jm: Want what you have and you have what you want. Patanjali wrote about this and it always speaks to me. When I look at this sutra from the vantage point that I am already so blessed, it motivates me to open wider and receive life and others. Abundance follows thereafter.
gy: In your parallel life, what are you doing? Any other callings that have taken the backseat to yoga that we should know about?
jm: I have wanted to write a book since childhood and have been writing since the age of ten. It is full of life experiences that have shaped the person I am and wish to share with others. I would also like to learn Spanish.
gy: If neither time nor money were a concern, what would you do?
jm: Time is the biggest constraint and if it were no longer I would publish a book.
gy: What is your astrological sign. What do you most identify with about it?
jm: A true Sag! – fiery, optimistic, gregarious, world traveller, philosophical, change seeker, kind hearted, open minded, thirst for knowledge, independent, adventure seeker, truth seeker and tactless, stubborn, flees boredom, indulgent.
gy: What is your spirit animal?
jm: Dragon Fly
gy: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
jm: Be yourself; Unapologetically you.