In the Article 'The Art of Compassion - Meet the Tribe, Jodie Roberts', I talk with Jodie about her journey to Yoga and how she cultivates a loving understanding towards her self. An inspiring talk about compassion and how you can find gratitude within yourself.
I meet Jodie on a gloomy Wednesday for an early lunch. We sit at the Isar, my happy place. I'm looking forward to talking to Jodie, who, in my eyes, has such a positive charisma. It always makes me smile when I spend time with her. We dig into our salads - which, now that I think about it, is a bit Clishee. Two women, working in the yoga business, snacking on their healthy lunch.
"What I want to share. What yoga gives me is this awareness. This self-compassion, to do your best."
However - in our defense, there is this wonderful effect Yoga has on oneself, where you learn to dive deeper into your own needs. Yoga teaches you to be compassionate to yourself and others. One day it may be the Salad-Bowl, that soothes your soul - other days, it may be a bag of chips or a Chocolate Bar. That's also what the interview with Jodie taught me again. As long as you tune into yourself with compassion and respect, anything is just fine.
Raphaela: When did you start with Yoga, and what was your Journey to Yoga in the first place?
Jodie: So, my mum has always done a lot of yoga, and as a teenager, obviously that meant I did none. You never do what your mom does. And I was very inflexible. I said I had the body of my dad, technically still do. Therefore I could never touch my toes and all of that. And then, when I was back in the UK, I was miserable.
"The physical practice for me is challenging, and some days I have to put in my whole mental energy to say, 'I can hold this pose.' Other days, you feel super strong, and everything is easy."
I was living alone, which was nice, but I was working at a job I hated, where I sat down a lot, which made my body feel drained. Before, I had always been moving, having jobs where I was physically active. One day I thought, you know what, I am going to try this Yoga App. It was hard in the beginning, but I felt so lovely after each class. So I kept on using the app a few times a week. After six months then, I moved back to Thailand, where I kept doing Yoga and using the App every day then, almost.
Raphaela: Were you working in Thailand?
Jodie: Yes. I was a Scubadiving Instructor.
Raphaela: Oh wow! Cool!
Jodie: Yeah - it was amazing. I was a Scubadiving Instructor most of my twenties, and then I had two years in England when I thought I should work in TV because this is the field of my degree.
Raphaela: What did you study?
Jodie: Media Studies and Social Anthropology.
Raphaela: That sounds interesting.
Jodie: Yeah. Super interesting! But I realized quickly that this was the wrong decision. However, I am very stubborn, and I really needed to make it work. After two years, I broke and said, "okay, I have to go back."
I moved back to Thailand, and since it is so warm there, I progressed fast altough I was doing these three mini sequences repeatedly. After a while, I started going to a very well-known Yoga Teacher on the Island, who always did a 2 hours Hatha Practices.
"My ego was ragging. I wanted fluffiness and to be wrapped in nice things. I was not fond of the class at all."
Raphaela: Hatha Yoga, for me, is intense.
Jodie: (Sighs) But so beautiful. I was so nervous the first time I went to class because my girlfriends, who were also into yoga, could touch their toes. I turned up, and I was like, "hi" super nervous. When it came to all the forward folds - you know, all the people just bending in half, and me - rounded - my legs shaking trying to go down - one or two of the older yogis looking at me with such compassion, it was so beautiful. I felt so accepted, even though my body looked nothing like theirs. I was like, what is this magic? I need to do this more! So then I started going to classes more often, not just doing it on my own.
After a while, when I lived in Bali, I discovered Ashtanga Yoga. At the first Ashtanga Class I turned up to, this Brazilian teacher walked in and started chanting the Ashtanga Mantra. No 'Hello.' Nothing. And I was like 'Om' - what? And then he said, "Stretch your arm up. Fold-down." Everything very monotone the entire class. I was just like, 'what is this?' 'who is this guy?' 'I don't know him?' My ego was ragging. I wanted fluffiness and to be wrapped in nice things. I was not fond of the class at all.
"We called it the Cult de Fernando, because this happened to everybody. I don't like it. I don't like it. Uhh - I love it. I will not do any other yoga class."
I didn't want to go back. But my friend made me. After the third time I went to his class, it clicked. He also had a little lecture where he said, "if you laugh in yoga and your looking around all the time, you are not really in your body. Yoga is your time, your space. And when you have this ability, this mental ability, to come into yourself, where ever you are, whatever you're doing, nothing can touch you. Yoga is your power; this is why you practice; this is why we do the sequence again and again."
His words immensely spoke to me. We called it the Cult de Fernando, because this happened to everybody. I don't like it I don't like it. Uhh-- I love it. I will not do any other yoga class.
"Maybe for people who are reading the interview, those core values could be something beneficial. If they could find out their core values for themselves, that could be something giving them stability."
After a while, I was talking to my Housemate, and she said, "I just wish we could have this life, where we would have smoothie bowls and palm trees and then like do some nice Yoga and then go for a surf and then be with really nice people, have inspiring talks." And I was like, "Yeah, we should do like a surf and yoga retreat." She was like, "Yeah. Let's do it! Actually, my family owns a place in Portugal where we could try it." That's how 'To the Sea' was born. Back then, I wanted to do my Yoga Teacher Training for a long time already, so this was my cue, where I said, "I'm going to do it now."
Raphaela: Did you do the training in Bali?
Jodie: No. I did the training in Rishikesh, in India.
Raphaela: Okay. So a critical question for me is, what is it that Yoga gives to you personally? What is it that you feel when you are practicing for yourself and want to pass on to your students?
"But the essence of Yoga, which I felt the first time I was in this class. The feeling of community, of ultimate compassion - it sticks."
Jodie: Okay. Hang on. Tough bit of tofu. (Laughing) - So, the feeling I have when I am practicing will vary. The physical practice for me is challenging, and some days I have to put in my whole mental energy to say, "I can hold this pose." Other days, you feel super strong, and everything is easy. You are in the flow. Then there are some days where all I want to do is happy baby, and you know Subda Badhakonasana.
So the physical practice will change, depending on how I am feeling. But the essence of Yoga, which I felt the first time I was in this class. The feeling of community, of ultimate compassion - it sticks. That's why it probably changes in physical practice because our needs change, but you can be kind to yourself and say, "well, okay, today is not the day where I need to do Handstand practice; today is the day that I need to lie down."
What I want to share. What yoga gives me is this awareness. This self-compassion, to do your best. This is something that sticks with me from my teacher training. Yoga is excellence under all conditions.
"As simple as just saying "Thank you, thank you, thank you" can change your mindset."
So maybe your condition is that you're sick in bed and you can't do anything except being in bed, then be the best at being in your bed. Don't shy away from responsibility, but don't go so much towards it you lose focus. That's why I work so much with affirmations. Like "I trust the process of life," "I have enough," "I do enough," "I am enough." And "I am grateful." As simple as just saying "Thank you, thank you, thank you" can change your mindset.
That is what I want to share with people. You can do it. You don't have to sit there and suffer in silence. You can rap your arms around your suffering and then let it go.
Raphaela: That is beautiful.
Jodie: (Laughing) I was on a role.
Raphaela: I think that is what a lot of people need. Because a lot of times you think your alone and you're not connected. To really feel the connection again and realize you are not alone and you can also be there for yourself is a powerful message.
"What are your three values?"
Jodie: Exactly. There was this one lady who, hopefully, this year I will go to Bali to and do the training I was meant to do last year. Her style is called Lucid Flow, and she was in the Yoga Barn, a huge event, with about 100 people there at that time. She got us to think of three Values.
Raphaela: What are your three values?
Jodie: I have four because I can't help it. So:
- Freedom - Freedom of movement, freedom of my body, freedom of travel, freedom from these negative and destructive thought patterns. Freedom is like my biggest one.
- Gratitude - A happy heart is a grateful heart. If you are grateful and you can see that other people have done their best for you. When you take the time to say thank you. Also, your kindness, when you give it to somebody, helps them up.
- Integrity - Your thoughts, your words, your actions have to be aligned. I can't handle fake people, and especially with this year, my tolerance is non-excitant. So be genuine, speak your truth, find your truth.
- Community - Community is a big one. When you have these first three, and then you put them into your community. If you all have these values, this is where the magic happens.
"These Values give me safety. They provide me with openness, and they give me courage."
Raphaela: What would you say these four values do personally for you? What do they give you?
Jodie: These Values give me safety. They provide me with openness, and they give me courage. Courage to keep trying because I know that we are all trying to do our best. Safety because no matter what happens, I have things to be thankful for. Curiosity, Playfulness.
Raphaela: Maybe for people who are reading the interview, those core values could be something beneficial. If they could find out their core values for themselves, that could be something giving them stability.
Jodie: Yeah, they can do a little exercise, which is called the happy list. Write down things, small everyday things you can do that make you happy. And not like "Oh yeah - a trip to Costa Rica."
Jodie: (Laughing) You know, that could be on everybody's happy list, but for some people it's like having a cup of tea in the morning or going to a special coffee place or cooking dinner with friends, or wearing brightly colored socks. These are tiny things. I know, (pointing towards her feet) that if I put on these brightly colored socks, every time I look at my feet, it makes me happy. Super easy to do.
"For me doing a yoga practice, going out in nature, going for a run, or going out with friends, all of these things have 'Freedom' in common."
These are the kind of things. Buy flowers ..etc. Make a list of as many as you like and then cluster them into, common themes. From these clusters, you can make your way to your core values.
For me doing a yoga practice, going out in nature, going for a run, or going out with friends, all of these things have 'Freedom' in common. This is how you can find your values.
We end the interview, sitting at the turmoiling river a little longer, discussing past relationships and how every person in life teaches you something about yourself. It seems this divine connection you cultivate to yourself, once starting on the Yoga-Journey, is the key to compassion. Once you start wrapping your arms around yourself, in deep understanding and respect for your journey, there suddenly is this safe space you can always come back to, in which the Art of Compassion unravels.
Book your lesson with Jodie now!
You can practice with Jodie every Tuesday Live Online from 19 to 20h or every Thursday from 7.30 to 8.30h.
Also, you can flow through a 20 min vinyasa yoga flow with Jodie on YouTube.
All photos are by Susanne Schramke: https://susanneschramke.com
Interview guide and article: Raphaela Baumgartner.