Studio Spotlights: Jessie Andrade

“I have learned that flexibility comes from the mind, not the body. Yoga is an endless journey of love and acceptance towards yourself and others.”

Why yoga?
Yoga found me at a time when I was trying to find myself. From day one, it became my oasis from stress, anxiety, and all the hustle and bustle of the day to day. It was through yoga that I learned a lot of things about myself– my strengths and abilities, as well as my weaknesses, insecurities, and negativity. I realized that I needed to stop judging myself, and instead work on these issues with love, patience and perseverance. To me, yoga has really been a journey deep within myself to find balance of mind, body, and spirit. I love that I get in touch with myself every time I go on the mat, and how that meditative, silent and peaceful state lingers in me until the next time I make time for myself.

Favorite yoga style?
My practice combines different yoga styles like Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and lately Aerial Yoga! Which, I believe, makes for a very complete and satisfying overall yoga experience. Each style has its unique characteristics and focuses on different features, that I find when practicing all of them, they compliment each other in a perfect way.

My personal favorite is Vinyasa. I have come to think of it as an art form since it’s the most creative and innovative of them. It takes you from posture to posture seamlessly in endless combinations forming a very elaborate and beautiful sort of dance. It is this style that has helped me push and challenge my mind and body the most, forcing me to take my practice to the next level and making me want to venture into more complex and advanced postures.

My second favorite style is Aerial because it requires a lot of mind work, requiring me to let go of fears and insecurities in order to achieve most of its postures. It has helped me grow in my self-confidence and challenged me in great ways.

How long practicing?
I started practicing yoga about four years ago. At my very first class, I remember being stiff and clumsy at the beginning, and at the end, my mind and body had given way. I was more flexible and able to do more things, like almost touching the floor in Uttanasana. This was very eye opening for me, and my eyes sparked with excitement as I thought: “Oh! So this means that if I keep practicing someday I’ll be as flexible as the teacher!”

From that day, my passion for yoga has continued to grow. At first, I was practicing once or twice a week, until yoga became like oxygen to my body, and now I just can’t go a day without it!

Dream yoga retreat?
I try to take my yoga practice wherever I go, so I dream of feeling the peace and balance that yoga brings at any time, in any place. Whether it’s a white sandy beach in the Caribbean, a rain forest in South America, a hilly village in Western Europe or a jungle in India, I wish to practice while marveling at the wonders nature and life bring us.

Nevertheless, there is a little piece of heaven in Guatemala where I had the pleasure of going to a yoga retreat once, called Lake Atitlán. Volcanoes surround the lake making for a breathtaking view, and twelve little Mayan villages are nested around its shores adding to its humble charm. Having been able to practice with these magnificent surroundings and to meditate in their peacefulness was pure bliss. The area offers many different retreats to suit all kinds of needs and styles.  I went to Villa Sumaya, a charming little hotel you can only get to by boat. I dream of going back as soon as I can!

Greatest yoga lesson learned?
I come from a very small and cozy yoga community in Guatemala that taught me that even though yoga is a very personal practice, it is within the love, support, and caring of a yoga community where you can find real strength and growth. It was very encouraging to share a practice and be able to learn from each other both on and off the mat.

Favorite thing about YOHI?
You can tell a lot about a studio just by looking at its class schedule. YOHI caught my attention after seeing all the different yoga styles they offer, multiples times a day. There’s something to suit everyone’s needs.

I fell in love with YOHI after trying nearly every class and finding that the warmth of the teachers and quality of their practice is what I needed to keep growing and challenging my own practice. Even with a full class, the teachers are committed to making each and every one of us feel welcome and fulfilled. To me this is priceless.

Yoga Wisdom.
I have learned that flexibility comes from the mind, not the body. Yoga is an endless journey of love and acceptance towards yourself and others. Once you let go of your negative preconceptions, you’ll be able to keep an open heart and embrace life with kindness.