What do you look for in a teacher when it comes to taking care of your health and fitness? What makes you come back to keep taking their classes? Is it knowledge, passion, their personality, or that they can kick your butt and yell at you, while still having a pretty smile plastered on their face? We all have different likes, goals, and reasons for practicing a healthy and active lifestyle, so it is great that nowadays there are a plethora of options to fit YOUR needs.
When it comes to yoga teachers whose classes I revisit, I like a variety of styles, that fit whatever my body is currently needing...it could be more focused on stretching my hips; building up my core; or honestly just getting my butt kicked and getting in a good sweat session. I want to introduce you to Jessica Haims from Powerflow Yoga. She is ONE of those teachers who in a matter of 75 minutes educated me, stretched, strengthened, and kicked my butt! Her passion and knowledge of the yoga and the human body...The way she effortlessly flowed into the poses...Learn more about this beautiful woman and why I consider her a yoga goddess!
I Am Jessica Haims:
My approach to yoga is to be safe, educational, challenging, and fun. I believe in educating students about their bodies so that they are equipped to make appropriate decisions about their bodies on and off the mat. Classes are based heavily through a lens of biomechanics and anatomy, always explaining to students why we do a pose a certain way. I want to offer as many tools as possible to my students so that they learn how to modify poses when necessary, and know how to play their edge when appropriate. I am both a vinyasa teacher and Yoga Tune Up® teacher and seek to blend these two styles together to link movement and breath in an intelligent manner. I mainly work one on one with students teaching self-care; we come up with a routine at home comprising of myofascial release work, corrective exercise, and yoga. After suffering a serious back injury due to years of competitive ballroom dancing and teaching full time it became my mission to empower students with the relationship to their bodies!
Why did you start teaching yoga?
I started teaching yoga because it gave me a sense of empowerment and peace that was uncanny. In 2011 I took my first class ever (at Powerflow Yoga in Chatham!) and it was the HARDEST thing I had ever done (seriously I thought I was going to collapse on the mat by the end of it) - but then savasana came and I nearly fell asleep. I left the yoga room called my mom and said “I want to be a yoga teacher after school” - it was one of those weird gut feelings. I did my first training a little over a year later and fell in love with the studies of anatomy. Over the past year, I have dove deep into the study of biomechanics, anatomy, and the science of stretching. The more I learn about anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, etc… it reminds me why I always want to teach - to help people understand their bodies and to feel good in their bodies.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Half moon! There are SO many different ways of approaching this pose with props, the wall, different isometric contractions - I always find something new about my body in this pose. When I’m in it I feel like I’m flying and floating!
What is your least favorite pose and why?
I have a hate/love relationship with warrior 3 (which means I probably need to do it more ;) ) - it always kicks my butt no matter how many times I do it!
What advice would you give to someone (aka - me) who is scared of handstands?
Work slowly away from the wall and with a teacher you trust. Going upside down is a HUGE mental game so it’s all about taking those little steps until you feel ready! There is a move called “scissor kick handstand” that Phillip Askew taught me and it helped me get away from the wall and over my fear of hand standing (will have to show you during our coffee date!). Working on shoulder/core stability and hamstring mobility are major players in working into those handstands. One of my favorite moves are working planks and doing scapula push ups! Another great exercise is doing plank with a blanket under your feet and pulling the blanket towards your hands (ending in forward fold) and then sliding back out to plank.
How do you practice a healthy lifestyle?
I practice self-care by setting aside time for myself every day - whether it's 5 min or an hour for a workout. I love to go hiking, cooking, writing, reading, and watch old Hollywood movies! I make sure to fuel my body with clean food, get in exercise 5 times a week, and take 2 complete days of rest when I can to re-charge and do active recovery (or binge watch Netflix for hours ;) ! )
Sweet or salty?
SWEEEEEET!!!!! I have such a strong sweet tooth - chocolate covered anything will have my name written all over it. My one vice is chocolate and coffee - I can never say no to it. My favorite chocolate is german chocolate, but my favorite sweets are my homemade chocolate chip marshmallow cookies - they are out of this world!
Tell us 3 FUN things that we should know about you...And if there is anything else you want to add, go for it.
I LOVE old jazz music - I always say I was born in the wrong era… I love old Hollywood movies and music. Ella Fitzgerald, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, this list goes on and on. I would have killed to live in that era and see those people perform. I had the honor and privilege to see Tony Bennett live with one of my best friends (she got me a ticket for Christmas!) I started tearing up during the performance - it was one of the most amazing experiences.
I won world and nationals in 2011 for ballroom dancing! I miss those dancing days with all my heart and when I hear music my mind will wonder off into choreography!
My dream is to have a huge back yard one day for a garden and chickens!
I am a huge nerd and love spending free time reading about human anatomy and the latest research on the science of stretching (Jules Mitchell is an amazing resource for anyone interested). One of my goals with teaching is to eventually develop an anatomy module for 200-hour training that gives newer teachers a concrete understanding of the human body. It is our responsibility as teachers to keep these people safe and I would like to see the bar raised in this department!
What do YOU look for in a teacher?
Tell me your favorite teacher and where they teach!