Community Spotlight | People Love - Jess Smith November 08 2017

“Ask for what you want, and be prepared to get it” – Maya Angelou

One trait I really admire in people is when they have enough courage to ask for what they want. Which is exactly how Jess Smith, creator of Jess Smith Yoga, landed in Mala Earth's lap. Here in New Zealand there is “the yoga scene” which is fab, full of inspiring people who are amazing at yoga and doing an amazing job of getting the 'yoga' word out there. But then there is this whole other scene of just really rad people doing yoga. They don’t have as many followers or represent a brand or headline festivals. They are just walking the talk and reaping the benefits of living a healthy life. This is Jess… She lives yoga and hustles her butt off to bring it to the Christchurch community. We are inspired by her and so want to introduce her to you. Have a read, look her up, follow and if you’re ever in Christchurch enjoy a class.

So Jess, What’s your story?  

Ocean & Sweat, Cooking & Motherhood, Yoga & Grounding

I grew up in Santa Cruz California, with the beach on my door step. Most of my childhood was physical and outdoors; from surfing, soccer, weekend camping trips with the family down in Big Sur and cooking Spanish food with my grandma Isabel. Life was colourful. My late teenage years were spent literally on saving money to buy flights to South America and Asia, seeking adventure and experience the raw life of the world.

I found yoga around age 14 in downtown Santa Cruz, the minute my feet stepped on that yoga mat, I knew I found something very special. I was swooned by the asana practice, curious about meditation and loved how I felt after moving my body with my breath. I attended my first yoga teacher training at age 18. I began my career as a full time yoga teacher in 2004, and later on finished my BSC in Nutritional Studies. From there I have travelled the world widely and in 2007 found myself in Christchurch.  I have been teaching in the community of Christchurch since 2007 and in that time I co-created Flow Hot Yoga Studio in Christchurch.

Yoga teaching and my family are my true passions. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and two wonderful children, who let me be who I really am. I am primarily a Vinyasa Flow teacher, although I adore teaching ALL styles of yoga, because variety is the spice of life! I have certifications in the following disciplines: Bikram, Baron Baptiste Power Yoga, Janet Stone Vinyasa School, Yin Yoga, Pre/postnatal, Children's Yoga, and Yoga for Pain Therapy. Since then I have studied with many beautiful teachers, Janet Stone, Sarah Powers, Baron Baptiste, Dharma Mitra, and Tiffany Crushank.  

What purchase of under $100 in the last year has most impacted your life?

I love my Nutribullet, a smoothie in my house makes everyone in the house happy, daily veggies & fruit consumption sorted.

Most influential Book you have read?

Recently loving the book Split Milk Yoga- by Catheryn Monro. A great insight to mother hood as a yogi and using the yogic principles to navigate through always unfurling adventures of being a mom. As a mother and a yoga teacher, it’s a never ending journey. It just continues with joy, gratitude, and a willingness to show up every day. 

What are your morning routine/rituals? What does the first hour of your day look like?

First one to wake in the house, 5 rounds of Sun Salutations, wash face, tongue scrap, clean teeth, toast coffee and fruit, 10 minutes of either journaling or meditation before my mother hat goes on. 

What's one thing that you do that people think is 'crazy' and why do you do it? 

People think I am crazy when I run or bike down to the ocean and jump in throughout the year, especially on a cold morning… sometimes with my robe on!  

When you think of a successful person, who 1st comes to mind and why?

My grandma is the most successful person I know, her happiness her joy and lightness on life, never stresses, is 94, still dances every day and loves her wine! It must be her Spanish genes. 

What’s your favourite mantra?

If it doesn’t make you happy, let it go.

The most courageous thing I’ve done?

The most courageous thing I ever done was home birth… WOW, so empowering and unforgettable. I am women hear me ROAR.  

If I could only eat 1 food for the rest of my life…

I can’t separate the two, Papaya and Avocado are my tummies love.  

How to connect with Jess... Website | Facebook

We hope you enjoy this new series featuring people we love in our community! If you know of someone, or are that someone that would love to be featured, we would LOVE to hear from you !!

Bex Murphy - Doer of all things at Mala Earth, community connector, social media superstar & most importantly mumma of two