Jessica Jollie was raised on a sweet little farm in the southeast and has been practicing and studying yoga for 20 years. A snowboarding accident in Northern Tahoe left her with a bulging disc in her lumbar spine and fractured bones in her arm. the event turned out to be a blessing in disguise as she learned how to heal her back with the therapeutic powers of yoga. she has been a teacher for 15 years and her Masters degree in Counseling additionally influences her classes to be introspective physically, psychologically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. She teaches Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin Yoga and she is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. Her teaching style is often described as patient, knowledgeable, and kind, with a childlike sense of humor.
She has created and directed two studios in the south and cherishes her Yoga community in Chattanooga, Tennessee at Yoga Landing. She is the creator/director of Yoga Landings 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training and embraces opportunities to travel and teach as much as possible!
Our Creative Manager Julia Clarke caught up with Jessica here to find out what we can expect for Jessica’s return to Eagle YogaFest this year!
JC: How is it teaching yoga in Chattanooga? What is your favorite thing about your community there?
JJ: Teaching in Chattanooga is dear to my heart. My classes are often attended by students that I have been growing with for years and I love walking into a room of familiar faces where a foundation of trust has already been laid. As a community we genuinely welcome new students to practice with us as well. I encourage my students to create a warm, safe and inclusive environment
JC: Like many people coming to Eagle Yoga Fest, you suffered a snowboarding injury years ago. How did that inform your practice? How did your practice help you heal?
JJ: I can empathize with those who turn to Yoga after a severe injury out of desperation. I can remember in my late teens barely being able to stand up straight or talk from the debilitating pain of a bulging disc. Thankfully, my Aunt Susan who has been a devotee of Yoga since the 70’s had shown me just enough that I turned to her teachings. By creating space in the body and nourishing my pain with pranayama I found immediate relief. So my Yoga practice began and 21 years later it is still my most potent medicine
JC: Your Yin Yoga class at Eagle Yoga Fest two years ago was one of my favorite yin classes ever! Can you tell me a little about your journey into practicing Yin Yoga?
JJ: Thank you for the compliment! My greatest attraction to Yin Yoga is for it’s introspective component. As a mother, householder, studio owner and teacher trainer I am go, go, go most of the time. Yin gives us an opportunity to pause. I need to close my eyes, breathe, observe and listen to myself. All of these aspects are meditation techniques that help to ground me give me single pointed clarity. Yin is a practice where I can connect the dots too. I can figure out how what is going on in my life is showing up through sensations in my body
JC: Your wonderful husband played with you last time around. Is he joining you again this year and if so, tell us a little bit about your collaboration?
JJ: My husband says thank you and yes he is joining me again this year. We hope that a friend can watch our son Fox so that he can play again. I think our collaborations work so well because Jeff is intuitive with how the postures correspond with notes and energetic anatomy. We are both comfortable allowing the experience of the practice to unfold without having to stick to a plan. We teach and create music by recognizing how we can serve our group sensitively from the perspective of the Koshas
JC: If memory serves correctly, you are now a momma! Has motherhood changed how you relate to your practice at all?
JJ: I am a momma and wow what a beautiful gift! My relationship with my practice has deepened more than ever. I am more adamant about not ever missing a practice now because I tap into my higher self after Yoga. When I miss a practice I find myself stuck in my “lower self.” I have less energy, less patience and less joy. After a practice I feel full of those things and then I can bring that to my son and his precious life. Practically too since I will be 40 this year and he will turn 1; I need a strong back to tote him around. My attention to Yoga and Body Awareness gives me that. I want to teach him how to do anything his heart desires and I want to be able to keep up!
JC: You call yourself a Yoga Universalist, what does that mean?
JJ: I am a Yoga Universalist in that I know what approaches of Yoga work for me; though I am not dogmatic. I respect other traditions and types of practices that I do not practice. As long as someone taps into something positive for themselves that I think their Yoga is working for them!
JC: You name Sri K Pattabhi Jois as an influential teacher. Can you share a specific insight or valuable lesson you gained from him?
JJ: The stars truly aligned for me when I was able to practice with Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. I cherish Ashtanga Yoga and all that this ancient practice has taught me. I am most grateful for the wisdom that came with Pattabhi and Sharath Jois asking me to stop during my practice so that I would not injure myself. They preserve the teacher/student relationship of respect and safety. I was such a free spirit at that time in my life and did not like authority. So these teachings were great for me as I was humbled.
JC: Do you have a favorite yoga sutra (or quote or other text) that informs your practice?
JJ: From the Bhagavad Gita, “On this path, no effort goes to waste.