Jake Jones on yoga…
I started yoga at the age of 20 by dropping into a random class at a DW Sports Gym. Full disclosure, I hated it!
I was completely and utterly inflexible, had no idea what my body was doing in space and couldn’t understand most of what the teacher was cueing.
I hadn’t ever played any sports, worked out or had any kind of physical activity in my life – but I realise now that I had gone to start getting to know my body a bit more.
Sports and the gym were out of the question for me, and I’d had some inkling that there was a “spiritual side” to yoga that I might benefit from. Even though I hated it at first, I kept going as I had a truly wonderful teacher that allowed me to feel welcome and that I was doing my best just by doing my best – I realise now this was my first lesson in yoga! Over the next six or seven years my practice grew, changed and I realised that there was so much to be had from integrating yoga into my life.
What’s it like setting up as a yoga teacher?
I decided that I might want to teach yoga to be able to share with others what had been a transformational practice for myself.
I struggled with lots of mental health issues over the years, and my yoga practice had become a way of starting to unpack lots of that crap.
If I could share that with others, it may help them too! But setting up as a teacher was very, very nerve racking! I struggled with lots of feelings of inadequacy, stage fright, imposter-syndrome and stuff. But I was very, very lucky to be supported by a friend and teacher who gave me my break and allowed me to assist in classes, cover parts of classes, cover whole classes and then run my own classes when I felt I was ready. I now teach at her studio twice per week and love being part of the community there.
What does yoga give you?
Yoga has become the supporting and guiding structure for how I interact with the world and, ultimately, has given me a real sense of purpose – of learning, and discovery. If that makes any sense! *Laura once said to our YTT group that we could consider ourselves part of this great lineage of yogis stretching back thousands of years, and that when we stood up to teach we could remember that we had the whole lineage of teachers and teachings to lean into for support. This is what yoga feels like to me in my study and my life
*School director and teacher of Jake’s Yoga Teacher Training course here at Bristol School of Yoga.
Did you have fears before you embarked on yoga training and what were they?
Oh God, I had so many fears! I was so excited before starting my YTT course, but I only had around two hours sleep the night before as I was so nervous. I was worried that my physical practice wouldn’t be “good enough”; that I wouldn’t know enough of or be able to do the poses; that this was “real yoga” and I might not be familiar with it; that I would be in the only guy in a group of girls and would feel like an outsider; or that I wouldn’t be cheerful enough among other things! All of these disappeared through day one of our training and I realised that I had completely made the right choice.
Is your life different with yoga in it?
I know that without yoga I wouldn’t be the person I am. It has facilitated a journey that I’m continuing along right now…as ‘hippy’ as this sounds “back to myself”. My life is my yoga and my yoga is my life
Not just the physical practice, but how I approach my mental health, how I manage and interact with my work colleagues, the values that I set for myself and how I try to live in the world.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully with a little more knowledge, but probably more questions! I’d love to continue to share the benefits and practice of yoga with people through a few classes and occasional workshops – but most of all, I hope to continue learning, developing and growing my practice. I’d love to spend some time getting deeper into the yoga texts and the history of yoga, with the aim of integrating what I learn into my own practice and life as appropriate.
Why did you choose BSY for your YTT?
It was really important for me to be able to study over a longer period as I wanted the chance to go really absorb and practice what I would be learning, integrating the parts that were useful for me into my life. I knew that it wouldn’t be useful for me personally to drop into an ashram for a month’s intensive, and BSY’s 200 Hour YTT was spread over ten months. When I started researching the syllabus I loved that there was plenty of time given to philosophy, the subtle body and anatomy and physiology, rather than just asana. I even met up with a few past BSY students who had completed their YTT over the last couple of years for coffees.
They confirmed how great BSY was and walked me through their experiences – they all seemed like excellent teachers. It was also really important to me that the course or school wasn’t very one-minded or dogmatic about a “type” or style of yoga. I met with Laura for a one to one beforehand so that I could gauge if I would be able to relate to her, and found that she had years of experience in various styles and disciplines that she was able to integrate to make the most of the best of each.
Do you still see your fellow students now your training has finished?
I’m still in contact with lots of our training group and in regular contact with the group of my 300 hour yoga teacher training. I live in Wales and work a few cities over from where I live so I don’t get a lot of time to visit with people or meet up ‘over the bridge’, but that doesn’t stop us from being in contact in other ways.
Find Jake Jones on Instagram HERE
Images: Jakes own