How your clients refer to you:
JBYoga and SUP
Ph. (917) 301-6919, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.byoga.com
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
I have been in business in NYC and the Hamptons for the past 25 years.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I got started as a yoga teacher when I was 20 years old, fresh out of majoring in dance at NYU. I discovered yoga as a college student to complement my dancing and balance my body from the rigors of dancing. I fell instantly in love with the practice. I completed an intensive year-long teacher training program right out of college and have been teaching yoga full time ever since (I also own a yoga studio in East Hampton called JBYoga). As a water baby, growing up in the ocean since I was three, I discovered stand up paddleboarding about 10 years ago and the marriage of Yoga and Paddling seemed like such an obvious thing to me! Thus, the practice of SUP Yoga was born. I am a pioneer of this practice and was the first person doing it or teaching it in the Northeast.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
My years of experience no doubt. Yoga for 25 years and paddleboarding for 10, I take my ‘job’ very seriously. I am also first and foremost and forever a student. So, whether it be continuing my study of yoga (which is lifelong), or getting my lifeguard certification to ensure that I am providing people with the best, safest experience on the water, I go the extra mile, and then some.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
The loyalty of my students and clients (many of whom I also consider my friends), and the fact that what I offer is just so good! Yoga has been around for 2500 years and will be around forever. It works, and once people experience that magic and that what it can do for them goes so far beyond the body, they stick with it. Even for me, I am a movement junkie and will try anything once- I love TRX, swinging kettlebells, and have tried every workout, from Barry’s Bootcamp to The Class, but Yoga is the constant. Combined with being on the water- giving people that sense of adventure and freedom and experience in nature- there is nothing like it.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I think I positively impact my clientele by always having a positive attitude and empowering them to have fun, try something new, and learn to love and honor themselves and their bodies in the process. We need to stop beating ourselves up (especially as women and mothers), and discover what lights us up, makes us happy, and restores us.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The fact that I get to spend my summer on a paddleboard in one of the most beautiful places in the world- I pinch myself several times a day. That, and turning people on to sup yoga.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
The Iyengar Institute- serious Yoga that is super alignment-based and amazing! In the Hamptons- the emptiest beach I can find (often reached by SUP).
How do you benefit mamas?
By restoring their sense of adventure and sense of self. As a mama of three myself (ages 15, 11 and 3), I know all too well not only how busy our lives get once we have even one child, but how we can too often forget who we are as individuals, and beyond being mothers. Of course, that is our primary role and that’s awesome- but what about play, what about self-care, what about time spent with friends and your partner/spouse, what about time spent ALONE? The yoga and SUP practice can be all of that, and more.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
This is one of my favorite testimonials from a client/student/ friend:
“A yoga practice exists to anchor you in the here and now while reminding you of your greatest potential spiritually. As a result of that reminder, the body gives way to incremental moments (inches really) that provide enormous pathways of possibility. When I met Jess, I hadn’t done a handstand in 22 years, I hadn’t contemplated the splits in even more. I had given up what I thought my numerical age allowed. Jess reminded me that who we are and what we are are defined by practice and faith and belief in possibility. As I remembered what it was to do a backbend and a headstand, I also remembered and discovered not only who I am, but who I am meant to be. Only a great teacher can provide a light to that path. And Jess is and has always been for me a great teacher. A reminder of my spiritual being and a true beacon of joy.”
President of The Mark Gordon Television Company. Exec Producer of Criminal Minds, Army Wives and Reaper.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Caitlin Marcoux, Nadia Bonenfant, Nianna Rose Bray, Evelyn O’Doherty.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
To not take anything personally. Whether someone walks out of my yoga class (super rare but it has happened!), or I don’t get included in a write-up about yoga studios in Hamptons Magazine, I let all of that crap slide right off of me and don’t take it personally. Also, to not judge others unless you have walked in their shoes. We often barely know our own path- how can we think we may know someone else’s? Their karma, their story, their challenges in this life… dont judge.
My mantra is english- let go and soften.
My mantra in Sanskrit- Om Namah Shivaya (I honor the Higher Self).
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Prep everything the night before and write a little list of the things you need to get done and the one thing for yourself you want to get done (whether it be a run, workout, or even a manicure). Lay out your workout clothes, prep your coffee or tea, and prioritize the self-care as much as you prioritize everything else.