As a shy child, it came as a shock to the primary school assembly when on impulse – I stood up and auditioned for the main role as ‘clumsy fairy’ in our annual play. Going into school on that ordinary day, I had no idea that this urge to audition would permeate through each fibre of my body – resulting in performing to the entire assembly and to everyone’s surprise, securing the main part!
From that day, my life became dedicated to the art of theatre and performance. I loved learning lines and attending rehearsals in place of teen parties – determination and passion that I would get to drama school in London – and I did!
My first drama school was a huge success – still shy, yet with a gentle confidence that this was my ‘calling’ – I was popular amongst peers and soon became known as the comedy actress – ‘Jess the Joker’. I lived each day to the full and cannot remember everyone being led by my overflowing and excitable mind. I guess I was young and carefree!
My second drama school is what changed me. It was a strange experience and definitely had highs, but mostly lows. Out of nowhere, anxiety struck, and my confidence depleted. I suddenly ‘woke up’ to the reality of TV and magazines; if I was going to ‘make it’ as a lead role, I had to be skinny. And there and then, like a light switch, I was put off food and stopped eating, surviving on the bare minimum and wreaking havoc on my poor body. I became weak and could not muster the energy to perform my best. The light had gone out behind my once shiny blue eyes, and socialising became a dread – ‘what if I have to eat something?’ The anxiety had taken over and I was no longer dedicated to my acting career, but to remaining as skinny as I could. Needless to say, my acting career took a hit. I was being cast for fantastic auditions (which I know I could have got), however all I had to show was skin and bones and a distracted mind in the audition room, a shadow of my former, fun-loving, energetic self.
As my acting career slowly subsided, the anxiety became worse, depression seeped in and negative thinking took over – ‘where did my acting dream go?’ I was lost.
Then, I saw an advert for yoga classes – I had always enjoyed yoga at drama school. Similar to the feeling in my primary school audition, I had this impulse in my body that I simply could not ignore! I signed on for a 30-day challenge – but it wasn’t a challenge for me, it was a sanctuary. The space I found during the class and the post-yoga floating feeling made me feel as if I was enough, and through yoga, I gradually learnt that I am enough! Wanting to feel this freedom, this acceptance which had been lost for so long, yoga became a huge part of my life.
I started going to regular classes. At first, yoga was a hobby, something that made me feel amazing and complimented my life as an actress, and then whilst I recovered – life as an office assistant – and then when I had truly lost sight of my dream – my life five years later, still in an office, but yoga has become my best friend. My home, my steady companion, my solace that I come back to each day – whether in a studio or at home, flowing through asanas or simply seated meditation, a restorative class or yog nidra, whatever I need in the moment, as time goes on, learning to trust the intuition of my body, that my body knows best, that my body is amazing and enough, that I am enough and I am capable of great things!
Yoga taught me to love my body and to know that it is what is on the inside that truly counts – and I am so grateful. I want to share this passion with everybody I teach. At the end of a class, when I see my students in a savasna, I am humbled by the beauty within each of them, for we are all simply humans living this human existence, doing our best. And we are enough.
I want to help you to find the space to relax your mind, to connect to your body, and to truly love yourself. For as I found on my journey, we are all enough!!!