5 Minutes With... JO KEMP - Our Mysore Ashtanga Teacher
This month we spend a bit of time with Jo, our Mysore Ashtanga Teacher. You can catch Jo every Wednesday at The Yoga Factory for her class at 7:45pm, the traditional method of learning Ashtanga. Read on to get to know Jo a bit better...
1. What led you to become a yoga teacher?
Wanting to share the practice to help people. It makes such a difference to my life, everyone should at least have a taste of the many fruits of yoga.
2. What's your favourite yoga pose right now?
See, the right answer would be they're all my favourite! But I think I am most thankful for the asanas I find most difficult because they are my biggest teachers and are the most rewarding. However I really enjoy back bending. I love opening the front of my body because it feels so energizing, particularly after practice. But my all time favourite asana is downward facing dog. Just one of those any time any place can sort me out. A down dog a day keeps the doctor away!
3. What's your least favourite yoga pose right now?
Coming back to the previous question those asanas that I find most challenging are the best. Sometimes I enjoy the challenge and sometimes it feels like too much hard work. For me it's all the strengthening ones. Arm balances etc. I find chaturanga extremely difficult even after all these years. Any arm balance makes me feel a little like Bambi - long slender arms that are weak and shakey!
4. How has your yoga practice made you stronger on & off the mat?
On a physical level my strength has always been a weak point for me. Before yoga I was very timid, quiet, shy and easily walked over and bullied at school. Yoga taught me to be stronger. There are things I never thought I would be able to do and that achievement has made me believe in myself. It's given me so much more confidence. For example I never thought I would be able to be a teacher!
I've also found the Eight Limbed path of ashtanga yoga a very useful tool to help me create a healthy and peaceful life. The Yamas and Niyamas particularly. They are ethical guidelines that naturally do come up within your asana practice and then translate into your every day life off the mat.
5. What or who inspires you?
My family and my teachers.
I am extremely grateful to have a very kind, loving and compassionate network of support from my family. The unconditional love inspires my teaching and my practice.
My teachers Hamish Hendry- ashtanga yoga London and R.Sharath Jois - grandson Of Sri K Pattabhi Jois in mysore India. Both teachers are incredibly humble and giving. They have devoted their lives to practicing and teaching ashtanga yoga and their passion and devotion shines in their teaching.
6. Do you have a favourite quote?
I have many but I love " Everyone has to start as a beginner" we all have to start at the beginning whatever it may be and it's not going to be easy. Yoga isn't easy, there will be lots of sweat, smiles maybe some tears and a lot of hard work but you will feel the benefits instantly and that will never stop. The hardest part of yoga is going to that first class.
7. What are your 3 rules to live by?
Have compassion for yourself and others beings.
Be true and Honest to yourself.
Eat wholefoods and get enough sleep.
8. What's your go-to self-care routine?
Yoga practice, hot bath and oil massage with organic products, Healthy Warming Food, candles and good sleep.
9. What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
"I think you should try ashtanga yoga"
10. Describe yourself in 3 words...
11. Are there any good reads that have helped in you life or in your practice?
'Paths to God- living the Bhagavad Gita' by Ram Das
'Sacred fire'- by Kino Macgregor
'Siddhartha' - by Herman Hesse
12. What do you like to in your spare time?
Travel , Be In Nature, climbing/hiking, cuddles with khushi my Rottweiler, projects on our land
13. What's your favourite thing about being a yoga teacher?
Those moments when you see students really 'get It' . The many lessons that yoga has to give. To see students grow and progress. Feeling that I might have helped someone in some way even if only a small amount.
14. Whats your style of teaching?
If you hadn't guessed it already.. Ashtanga Yoga! Particular Mysore style. The traditional method to learn ashtanga yoga where you learn a practice for life gradually at your own pace learning new postures as and when your individual mind and body is ready.
You can join Jo at The Yoga Factory every Wednesday evening at 7:45pm... CLICK HERE to check out the timetable and book Jo's class!
Peace... Love... & Namaste!