Jess Corey is a 2015 graduate of Flow’s teacher training program. We started out wanting to hear about the challenges and benefits of learning how to be an instructor at Flow, but soon learned that this was the tip of the iceberg. Just who is Meadow Milagro? And what’s all this business with trees and coining different phrases.
To learn more about Jess, a truly fascinating flowgi, read on…
FB: Welcome to the Flow teaching staff, Jess Corey! We’re so excited to have you on board and thanks for joining us for this interview.
Yes. Of course! Ask away..
FB: For starters, what’s your background? Where did you grow up and have you always lived in Loudoun?
JC: I was born in the land of enchantment – Albuquerque, New Mexico which is one of my all time favorite places. My family eventually moved to the east coast. I did most of my “growing up” in Mount Vernon, Virginia but I feel like I have the opportunity to grow up each and every day of my life if I stay open.
I moved to Southern California when I was 18 and spent almost 10 years living on the west coast and soaking up free sunshine. Sunshine is about the only free thing out there so I eventually moved to Loudoun with my husband – we wanted more space, fresher air and to be closer to family. Shortly after that we welcomed our daughter Meadow Milagro into the world and we now consider Loudoun home.
FB: Based on your bio, it’s clear that yoga has had a really powerful effect on your overall health. Can you speak in a little more detail about how it’s impacted your life?
JC: Yes, yoga has been huge for me in really every area of my life. Though ultimately it has helped me live happily and joyfully despite an autoimmune disease. I was diagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis shortly after giving birth to Meadow. Hashimoto’s (I’m chuckling right now because it’s such a funny ninja-like name) is a malfunction in the immune system. My body thinks my thyroid is an invader and constantly attacks it causing all sorts of interesting symptoms.
“Some days I feel pretty good and can cruise through a hot vinyasa class and, somedays I feel awful and just need a little Supta Baddha Konasana in my life.”
I spent a lot of time, years, upset with my body. I felt betrayed by my own vessel – defeated – I lost my glow. Although I’ve come to know that my glow can never be lost its just hard to see sometimes.
Yoga has given me my glow back. It has taught me to celebrate my body no matter what condition it is in. It has taught me how to slow down and tune into what my body needs. I used to just push it, force it to work without listening and I have paid the price for that many times. I have learned to sit on my mat – tune into my breath – scan my body and let it talk to me. This self-awareness has crept into all areas of my life. I have become a better mom, wife, daughter and friend. I feel more grounded and able to be of service to others without overextending myself. What a huge gift. And I thought yoga was only about contorting your body to look cool.
FB: You’ve gone straight from being a student in our classroom to a teacher on our staff (which is fantastic) so in a more general sense, how was this journey for you?
JC: I was afraid and felt inadequate when I signed up for the teacher training. I was afraid and felt silly during teacher training – like my brain would tell me – who are YOU to be a teacher? I felt afraid when I practiced teaching and afraid when I taught the first time at Flow Yoga as a certified teacher. In fact – I’ve come to know that I spend most of my time feeling afraid. But guess what?! It doesn’t matter! Fear isn’t real and it hasn’t held me back from doing anything. Feelings aren’t facts.
My journey has been a powerful one about letting go of negative thoughts, and not allowing them to control my life.
FB: To what do you attribute the majority of your success? Hard work? Passion? A combination of things?
JC: Well, first of all I think I have pretty amazing teachers – Tori, Marcia and Coleen are such loves and good at what they do. I felt like I was pushed out of my comfort zone a lot during the training and that helped me look beyond my fears. I also have fun while I’m teaching. I enjoy guiding people through class, and connecting with their breath. Class can be a time-warp, an hour long class can feel like five minutes. Time flies when you are having fun! Teaching gets me out of myself..really anything that pushes me beyond myself is good and rewarding.
FB: If you could give someone who’s thinking about signing up for teacher training a few words of wisdom, what would they be?
JC: Just GO FOR IT!
“Especially if it frightens you. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.”
You will get in really awesome shape and meet some awesome people.
Also – be YOU, bright and shiny YOU. Just because you intend to be a teacher doesn’t mean your voice has to change or you have to act different.. dress different. Just be your authentic self and people will connect with you naturally. Some of my best moments in class are when I stumble over words or forget something in the sequence because we can all laugh about it together and share in our human-ness.
FB: What were some of the biggest challenges in the program?
JC: I feel like I’ve touched on this already – but I was my biggest challenge. Mostly all of the limitations I try to put on myself based on fear – mostly fear of looking silly.
And, yes there is a lot of information. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed with the work load and physical demands, but I was never given more than I could handle and we were all in it together.
FB: Outside of yoga, what’s been going on lately?
JC: I get to play house a lot :). I have been able to stay at home with my girl, Meadow, who is 3 years old. She is my best bud and we usually spend our time outside somewhere being goofy. Other than being a Mama I’ve been playing with the art of wood burning and trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life! Who knows what my next adventure will be? Sometimes not knowing is the best part!
FB: Does your family ever take any of your classes?
JC: My daughter adorably practices yoga with me at home, but I have not gotten anyone into class yet. My husband does cross fit .. maybe someday he will get his butt into one of my classes. I haven’t really pushed him to come because I’m afraid either one of us will bust out laughing at any moment and totally mess up the vibe of the class. We have a hard time taking each other seriously sometimes. We are goof balls.
FB: What’s your favorite color and why?
JC: Hmmm, there are so many colors in this world and it is hard to pick out one. Probably either turquoise or Sedona clay red. My early days were spent in the southwest and I will forever be connected with that land and its heritage. Almost all of my jewelry is turquoise and silver. My love for turquoise is my DNA, my mom’s side of the family originates from Mexico and I have a strong pull towards Native American Culture.
FB: Who is your biggest inspiration as a teacher?
JC: There are so many amazing yogis out there traveling the world and spreading their love and knowledge about yoga, but I am ultimately inspired by the newbie in class. The person that walks into class for the first time, gives it their all and stays till the last OM.
Yoga can be intimidating. I know it was for me.
“I left my mat, towel and water bottle in the middle of my first Bikram class and just walked out – never came back to collect my belongings.”
I later learned there are other styles of yoga better fitted for me like Vinyasa and have even learned to appreciate Bikram as well. I walked out of my first class and now I am a teacher! Nothing is ever set in stone.. experiences change.
FB: Do you have a favorite pose, and if so, what is it and why?
JC: I love love love tree pose, because I can really imagine what it might feel like to be a tree, and I love trees. When I was five I coined the term..”it’s as easy as looking at a tree”. That expression still rings true for me now. I love the feeling of rooting down and growing tall – limbs eventually kissing the sky.
FB: We imagine your book bag is pretty full right now. Any great yoga books to recommend?
JC: Great question – I’ve been looking for a new book to read, haven’t found one yet, but I do have three books that I reread often:
Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsh
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
You cannot go wrong with any of these.
FB: Any big summer vacation plans?
JC: I have been lucky enough to go on a couple trips already this summer, and I have one more left. In mid-August we will be making our annual trip down to Bald Head Island, NC. It is one of my favorite places on the planet. There are no cars – just golf carts and it gives us all a chance to really disconnect and unwind. I plan to swim with sharks :), do yoga in the sand and maybe, if I’m lucky witness a sea turtle nest hatch. It’s really something to watch tiny sea turtles make their way to the deep blue ocean – the great unknown. What a testimony to bravery.
FB: Thanks again for joining us!
JC: Thanks for having me!