There is something so sweet and sincere about Jessica and the yoga class that she offers.
To me, kindness can be very powerful. And, Jessica embodies this.
Please, be inspired by Jessica Kulick.
1. How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching in September 2012, so just about six years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
I hadn’t been doing yoga very long when I decided to enroll in teacher training—I’d only started practicing regularly in late April 2012 and by June, I was already in TT! I had tried yoga once or twice many years earlier, but didn’t connect to the styles I experienced. The smells were funny, the chanting was weird, and I couldn’t understand the names of the poses. It wasn’t until I found a challenging power vinyasa practice that I truly fell in love with it. I remember lying in Savasana after that first class and just...feeling. I could feel my body, I could feel my breath, I could feel the edges of my thoughts. I had never felt so deeply or completely before, and I knew right away that I wanted to share that with others.
Through teaching, I’ve learned how to use the full force of my presence to be immersed in the moment and how to create the opportunity for others to do the same.
I’ve learned that I do not need the protective emotional armor I used to wear all the time; now I whip it out only when the situation requires.
I’ve learned that mistakes are an opportunity to exercise improvisation.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?
When I started teacher training, I knew so little about yoga I couldn’t have told you the difference between Reverse Warrior and Up Dog. So nearly everything I know about this practice has come from another teacher.
The lesson that sticks out to me most though is that abundance begets abundance. Before then, I never understood that I had always been subconsciously participating in a story of scarcity. That was five years ago. Now, I still find myself repeating those old stories of “not enough” (enough money, enough opportunity, enough skill, enough whatever), because old habits die hard. The difference now is that I don’t believe them, and I’m aware enough to notice myself and adjust in the moment.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
This fluctuates wildly for me depending on my personal life. At the beginning, I practiced at least six times a week for usually an hour—or more—per day. I became overly flexible, to the point where now I’ve scaled back my practice to once or twice a week, for about 60-75 minutes per session, and work mostly on strength training instead.
5. Who inspires your practice?
My students. My fiancé. My friends who are fellow teachers (there are a lot of these!). My pets. I’ve learned a lot just from watching my cat and dog stretch and rest.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
I find my asana practice to be both creative and meditative. My own practice is what inspires my teaching and sequencing for the week—as I move, I’ll note what feels particularly juicy or revealing. Did I find fearlessness in a backbend where I haven’t found it life? Did that arm balance feel like the sense of power I’m seeking? Does forward folding feel like relief?
By practicing, I tap into what I’m hungry for, a healthy way to satisfy needs, and the inspiration needed to bring those learnings to others.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
I don’t have just one message. Week after week, I use my classes to explore themes like liberation, resistance, presence, and ease. There seems to be a very heavy emphasis on things like “your message” and “your life’s purpose” in the wellness industry right now. I would argue that, for most of us, our purpose and our message will be in a constant state of flux as we change and grow as humans. At least, mine does.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
I teach at Jewel City Yoga in Brooklyn. I also take on the occasional one-on-one client.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
Ha, how hasn’t it?! Yoga has been one of the most powerful tools for my personal development and growth as an adult. So much of my unconscious mind became conscious to me, and I became the change agent of my own life. Because I became aware of my own inner monologue—and, more importantly, my capacity to alter and refine it—I became the creator of my own life. While life hasn’t stopped happening to me, it feels a lot more like I’m also happening to life.
10. What has kept you practicing all these years?
It helps that many of my friendships have yoga as a shared foundation and common language, so we often practiced together or swapped new tricks and techniques that kept things fresh and interesting for many years.
These days, my practice is mostly at home, though I do still make time to take class. I keep practicing because I’m driven to seek knowledge and to become a master of myself.
11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?
“Slow down.” As a native New Yorker, I’m just hardwired for speed.
12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?
The best advice I got—and followed—was to be around. Be at the studio. Make friends with the other teachers. Chat with the students. Help out where you can. The more integrated you are into the community, the easier it will be to stand at the front of the room with a sense of intention and authority.
I would also add that it helps to reach out. Very rarely—if ever—in my life has an opportunity just landed in my lap like a gift from the heavens. Put your feet to the pavement. Take class at every yoga studio in your town, and once you’ve done that, explore the studio communities in surrounding towns. Reach out to studio owners and managers, and put your résumé in their inboxes. Actively participate in the conversation they’re having on their social media channels. Make your presence known.
13. What is the most important part of your practice?
Staying in love with it. I’m at a stage right now where I notice that one of my greatest skills—my love of learning—also has a dark side, in that I get bored very quickly. There are parts of my practice that I’ve mastered, so it’s important to me right now to stay in the student mindset, to continuously seek out new sources of inspiration and challenge, and to be humble enough to remember that I’ve still got decades of learning ahead.
14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?
I’m /jessica.kulick on Facebook and @jess_kulick on Instagram.