Jess has this serene presence about her. The presence of a deep thinker and old soul. As a thoughtful yoga teacher and beautiful writer Jess embodies the opportunities that our industry offers. Our careers can be so multi facetted, and the combinations are endless. What ever you set out to achieve in your career know it is possible.
Jessica Humphries is a long time yogini and the editor of Australia’s biggest yoga magazine, Australian Yoga Journal. Jess has been practicing yoga for 14 years and teaching for 7. As a student, she studied western philosophy and is deeply fascinated by the philosophies in both eastern and western culture – which she lightly infuses into her teaching. She has studied Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Zen Thai Yoga – a practice that incorporates traditional Chinese philosophies and Thai massage, and continues to travel the world and practice with esteemed international teachers. Jess lives in the Byron shire and spends most of her time with family, pottering around the kitchen, checking emails, writing and enjoying the slow life.
What led you to yoga?
My mum took me along to a class at the local community centre when I was 14. I didn’t practice for very long then, but came back to the practice when I was a uni student. I would go along to classes at the uni gym with a very spiritual and quirky Lyengar teacher who reminded me of my dad. It felt comforting, and that was when I started dreaming about becoming a teacher one day myself. I remember yoga really helping me to process my emotions – that’s what kept me coming back. Having the space to feel, which ultimately motivated me to live a more wholesome lifestyle.
What is your biggest challenge?
It’s hard to keep up with the expectations that I have of myself. I’m always trying to please others, and sometimes end up abandoning myself in the process.
What lights up your soul?
I love to explore – through travel, introspection and learning (mostly in the form of teacher trainings these days). I’m also a major homebody who loves creating in the kitchen. I think that’s one of the only activities that allows me to feel fully engaged – I get completely immersed in preparing a good meal. I spend a lot of time with my family, and my baby nephew is a big priority in my life. These are the things that keep me grounded, and maintain my enthusiasm for life on the daily.
What has been your career highlight?
Deciding to throw in the towel on my corporate city job and move to Byron Bay to become a yoga teacher. Everything since then has been a highlight. Working for a big yoga studio then for the magazine. Just moving from life in the corporate grind to embracing a more humble existence that gives me more fulfilment.
I’m always on the lookout for new work projects that keep me engaged, and at the same time I’m embracing being slow, spending time with the people I love and not focussing too much on grand plans for the future. I think I want to make something to sell at the farmers markets – I think that would be fun. So far I’m getting pretty good at making ghee! (haha).
What advice can you offer for creating a sustainable teaching career?
Think outside the box. Teaching full time never felt sustainable for me personally. I make my living by engaging in other, yoga related projects (like editing a yoga magazine!). That’s not to say that yoga careers aren’t possible. I know many yogis who have flourishing careers teaching. They think outside the box in their own ways – by offering workshops, retreats, teacher trainings and sharing their knowledge through writing.
Thank you so much for sharing this snap shot of your heart. You are such an inspiration.