All-Stars Interview #7: Jemma
Meet Jemma. One of the MVPs and committed members of the MLPC. Jemma is a good colleague, friend and neighbor of Alex. They met at the school Alex’s currently teaching as a first grade teacher. She joined Alex’s sessions back in March, 2020 when the world was closing down because of Covid-19. When the MLPC officially kicked off in May, she quickly signed up for a whole year membership.
Fun fact, Jemma was the one who started the traditional treat at the end of every month to Alex as a thank you for creating and bringing this community together.
She did the 30 day challenge for the months of April, May, and part of June. During July however, she took some time off for an adventure in the UAE going through all the Emirates, a thing I’m yet to do having lived my whole life here. Though, she kept practicing. With that kind of dedication it is only fair to badge her with the All-Stars title.
I’m proud to introduce to you, Jemma...
Hi Jemma! Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who is Jemma?
Jemma: Hey, I am a primary school teacher who loves being outside and active both in school and out of school. I have been living abroad for 13 years and can't see myself ever moving home. This expat life of meeting and experiencing different cultures is something that I enjoy. I love being active moving, in fact often struggle to stay still so Yin can be a challenge. I have been described as loud, but I think that's because I am from a big family and I’m the youngest.. I don't really like cats, but I ended up adopting one that was on the street and now I couldn't be without her, she may be a little spoilt!
What inspired you to start practicing yoga?
Jemma: I was frustrated not being able to be active during the pandemic. Over the years a few friends had tried to get me into Yoga, but I didn't think it was active enough. I struggle to stay still. However, after seeing a few emails from Alex I decided to give it ago. Doing any movement was worth a shot. It was one of the best decisions I think I have ever made.
Have you ever had any experience with yoga before joining the MLPC?
Jemma: No, not at all! I started my Yoga experience online and I feel that was why I did try it out. I am the most inflexible person ever and was scared that I wouldn't be able to do it. I am still not flexible, but I am getting more flexible every day and don't let it hold me back.
What’s your connection to the MLPC?
Jemma: I know Alex from school, when she first moved here, we used to get a lift with another teachers and when the pandemic started she was super encouraging to people in school to try it out. So I was here from the beginning and when we moved to the MLPC platform Alex thought I was going to quit, It was in fact the opposite, I joined up for the year as soon as I could.
How did you end up being so committed to yoga?
Jemma: I don't know how committed I am but it has definitely been a life saver for me during this time in my life and I think that it made me a better person. I love doing it and even when I struggle to get on the mat I feel better after.
Did you face any challenges during the month of July?
Jemma: At the end of June I injured my arm and after doing over 80 days straight I had to stop for a little while, so I didn't finish my 3rd 30 day challenge. Then July rolled around, and I knew I had to take it easy. I also went travelling around the UAE and it was hard to continue (especially when I forgot my yoga mat) but I did make sure that I kept doing it and now as we roll in to August I am ready to start my 3rd challenge again.
"I started my Yoga experience online and I feel that was why I did try it out. I am the most inflexible person ever and was scared that I wouldn't be able to do it. I am still not flexible, but I am getting more flexible every day and don't let it hold me back."
What are the biggest benefits you’ve reaped from your yoga practice?
Jemma: There have been so many, from mental to physical. Whilst travelling with some friends they noticed how much calmer I had become, and I think Yoga has a lot to do with that. I have also stopped having back pain, which I hadn't even realised was a problem until it was gone. I also feel like I have got stronger and more flexible.
What’s your favorite posture?
Jemma: I don't think I have a favourite, it depends on my mood but I always love doing twists.
What’s your most difficult posture?
Jemma: Anything that includes a forward fold, everyone else looks like they are in half where I look like I am barley leaning forward but it's the best I can do! Also just transitioning to get my legs in-between my hands after downward dog is still a nightmare!
What is your favorite type(s) of yoga? And why?
Jemma: I love Barre, it's so active and also relaxing at the same time, it's good to get that energy out.
“Whilst travelling with some friends they noticed how much calmer I had become, and I think Yoga has a lot to do with that. I have also stopped having back pain, which I hadn't even realised was a problem until it was gone.”
Any words of wisdom to those just starting out?
Jemma: There will be times when you feel you can't do it, we have all been there, just keep going. Some days you will be on a high, wow that pose that I have been working on for 3 weeks was so easy today but the next day a pose that you have been able to do the whole time has you wobbling and falling all over. Don't feel discouraged, just feel it, let it be and listen to your body. You will be able to do anything if you keep showing up and you will feel better. "Our greatest glory is not falling but rising after every fall" Rocky
Thank you Jemma for answering the blog questions and being part of this community. If you have any comments or questions make sure to leave them in the comments section below.
Until next time, may you all be safe, happy, healthy, and free.