YOGI SPOTLIGHT: JESSIE DARLING
Yogi Spotlight: Jessie Darling
When did you start practicing yoga?
I took my first few classes maybe four years ago, but didn’t actually start practicing often until about 2 1/2 years ago.
How has yoga helped you overcome personal challenges or obstacles in your life?
Most importantly, it’s taught me patience. Also, to let go of expectations. It’s been very humbling and has brought so much awareness to what my own path is in this lifetime, and that I’m not competing with anyone to get to this one end goal. It’s my own individual story to float through as I please.
When obstacles and challenges do arise in life - which they ALWAYS will because that’s part of the human experience - yoga helps me remain in tune with myself so that I can always allow my intuition to guide me, to use my voice and speak my truth in uncomfortable situations, and know my boundaries and values.
What have been some of the biggest benefits you’ve found - mentally, physically and spiritually - since you’ve started doing yoga?
Mentally- Healing traumas, depression, self-doubt. Yoga has taught me a lot about my ego especially, and all of the areas in life that it was controlling me and keeping me small and “safe”. I’ve definitely broken so many barriers through this practice, and my emotions all feel so much more balanced, in tune and free to express.
Physically- For someone like me who has struggled in the past with body issues and insecurities leading to things like eating disorders and different forms of self-harm and abuse, yoga has taught me to come into my being and really get to know the beauty that I was so blessed to have been given. I’ve become so grateful for the simple yet profound things, like having four limbs that function to their full potential and having no major physical limitations. I’ve learned to love every scar and lump and curve that make up who I am. Own your body!
Spiritually- This aspect is what brought me to start my yoga practice. I started my healing journey with meditation and energy healing a few years before ever stepping foot on a mat. I’ve always felt very “connected” and this practice has only helped that connection flourish and grow stronger every day. As above, so below.
What has yoga taught you about yourself?
How beautiful and strong I actually am! Gosh, I used to doubt my worth to the extreme. I can now say with confidence: I AM beautiful. I AM strong. I AM worthy. I AM love.
Yoga has also shed light on every area of my life that was sucking the life out of me. The word “boundary” never existed in my vocabulary before starting this practice. Now it’s something I include in all areas of life.
What is your favorite pose and why?
I suppose Sukhasana since I meditate in this pose every day - although I really do love Goddess pose. I always feel like some sort of strange spider creature, and energetically I feel it really aligns you and creates this strong channel from your root up to your crown. I’ve been reading a lot about the “pelvic bowl” in a book called Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent (I highly recommend, ladies!) and Goddess makes me feel like I’m strengthening my root, allowing it to release stagnant energy. It makes me feel more aware and in tune with my pelvic bowl which, for us women especially, is where SO much power lives! It’s where all of human creation comes from. Embrace your power and get to know the goddess that you are!
What advice would you give to someone who might feel too intimidated to try yoga for the first time?
I believe an open mind is pretty important. And take it slow. Why rush the process? You don’t become strong overnight, and you don’t heal overnight It’s an extremely reflective practice that I believe we can all benefit from. And the best part - there’s really no rules! Try out different styles and see what works for you and create your own practice out of it. I’ve learned to not compare my practice to anyone else’s and I only share my own personal journey to hopefully inspire others to start exploring their own path. Look to others for inspiration, not comparison.
If you could go on a yoga retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
What a great question! I’ve actually been extremely blessed to have found my dream retreat center in one of the five “blue zones” in the world: Tambor, Costa Rica. I’ll be leading a few retreats there this summer actually! It’s where the mountains and the ocean meet and you’re surrounded by farmland, feeling beyond open and connected to the elements. I have always dreamt of one at the lavender farm in Tasmania when it’s in full bloom. Maybe that will manifest next.
Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?
“You are supplied for always, in all ways.”
And one my grandma would always say to me growing up- “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.”
Air, Earth, Fire or Water - Which element speaks to you the most in your practice?
I often ask myself this same question because I’m a Taurus, which is an earth sign. However, I feel such a strong connection to them all. I think it’s because the earth is affected by all of these elements in different ways. I allow the wind to take me where I’m meant to go. I allow my well of emotions to flow freely. I allow fire to burn away all that no longer serves me and to light the burning passion of desire inside of my core. All while remaining grounded in the true nature of my being. And who doesn’t love talking to plants and spending time in nature away from society? That’s where I am always called to go to heal.
Do you have any mentors or teachers who have inspired you throughout your yoga journey?
Anyone who embraces this practice as their passion and who uses it as a tool to help heal others, even if it’s just simply through sharing their story. Human connection is so essential and we can all learn from the people we surround ourselves with. They’re our mirrors that shed light on the good, bad, and the ugly so we can rise up and heal.
If you could design a yoga mat of your own, what would it look like? (Because sometimes dreams really do come true!)
Some sort of tie-dye or shibori print for sure! I actually dye fabrics with plants and I have made a few tapestries that I look at and think, “damn this would make a sweet yoga mat!” One of my favorite things about Apeiron mats is how comfy they are and I would love to somehow bring nature onto a mat, like a bed of moss or a field of Jersey wildflowers or California poppies.
When do you need yoga the most?
I need yoga the most when I’m feeling out of tune with myself or feeling sluggish. That’s typically an indication there’s something stagnant going on and I need to get my body moving and my breath flowing.
Do you have a yoga playlist? If so, what kind of music is on it?
My taste in music ranges so much. I have a whole random assortment of playlists that I make on Spotify and I’ll bounce around from one to the next depending on how I feel.
I love Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia and Jim Morrison, who make me feel like I’m traveling back to a time I wish still existed. I LOVE jazz. Anything groovy and funky, and my soulful babes like Janis and Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Definitely even check out Liz Cooper and the Stampede or Lake Street Dive if you haven’t heard of them. Alabama Shakes is always a goodie, and Susan Tedeschi. One of my forever all-time favorites is a band called A Great Big Pile Of Leaves. There’s a whole lot I’m missing but I’ll leave it at that.
If you could take a yoga class with anyone throughout history, who would it be and why?
I know this sounds crazy but I’d love to meet my past self and teach her a yoga class. I’m a lucid dreamer and have reoccurring dreams that take place in the 60’s so I had a past life reading done to gain some more clarity. I was told I lived in California and was in my 20s during the whole peace, love, hippie movement and I would do anything to go back in time and relive that life. It’s definitely still so much a part of who I am today.
Our mantra is “Live Limitless” and we aim to inspire others to pursue their passions free of self-doubt or the pressures of societal norms. How has yoga helped you live limitless?
I have absolutely broken the shackles of society through the combined healing process that meditation and yoga have given me! I’ve learned to never be afraid to quit a job that isn’t in alignment with my highest good. I never settle for anyone who doesn’t see my true value and potential in life. I settle for nothing less than having full creative freedom and expression. I believe fully in myself and my dreams, and work hard to achieve them and make them a reality. We all have the power to do so, what’s keeping you from being limitless? Break the mold, let your wings fly free!