We're so honoured to have interviewed Jessica Humphries from Yoga Journal for our TRIBE TALKS series – a segment that focuses on conscious souls who inspire & cultivate a purposeful life. Take a seat, grab a herbal tea & read on.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself & the work that you do with Yoga Journal.
As editor of the magazine it’s my job to think big picture – so my role involves coming up with ideas for everything from the cover, to content (print and online) and design. I work with a really small team and we collaboratively create each edition. I also make sure that I’m connecting with people in the yoga industry and attending lots of classes and events so the magazine is reflective of what’s happening in the real yoga world. Most people who meet me think I am really busy, and sometimes I am, but the amount of time I spend on my computer is fairly minimal. Mostly my job is just to immerse myself in yoga. I live in the northern rivers of NSW, near Byron Bay, and travel when I can. So it’s mostly quite solo work – with lots of emailing and a sprinkling of hanging out with yogis.
2. How did you first foray into the media industry and what has it been like?
It evolved really spontaneously and organically. I had done a lot of writing and project management throughout my university studies (in philosophy and communications) and career (mostly in events), but never worked in media before. I found myself chatting with the owners of the magazine over the phone one day as part of my job at a yoga centre, and I asked them how I would go about writing for them. The rest is pretty much history. The timing was perfect, I got along with the publishers so well and it all fell into place ridiculously easily. Within a few months I was assisting the temporary editor, and shortly after I was editing myself. The skills I had gained from years of working in events and managing a yoga centre, as well as my connection to many Aussie yogis and being a yoga teacher myself, really helped to support the work that is required of the editor. Who knew?! The process of finding my feet within the role has felt really effortless. Like I’ve found the thing I was meant to be doing all along.
3. What is the most rewarding thing about yoga?
For me, it’s connection to community and to self. I wouldn’t have a practice if I had to do it alone, and I love the connections I’ve made, but also the practice has supported so much internal enquiry and growth that has inspired me to be a decent human being.
4. How many years have you practiced?
My first class was when I was 14, but I didn’t really have a practice until I was about 19 (I’m 32 now). Then I had an on again/off again relationship with my yoga until I started my first teacher training 6 years ago. I’ve been consistent in my practice and integration of yoga into my life since then.
5. What is your favourite style of yoga?
I love the feeling of dance-like meditative flowing – so Vinyasa is often my go-to. But I love to balance that out with yin and restorative sometimes too.
6. How do you stay grounded (e.g. meditation, cooking etc).
I spend loads of time with my family (I currently live with my sister and one year old nephew, and my parents live close by). I cook and eat really nourishing food. I live in a place that is surrounded by beautiful nature and I’ve arranged my life so that I have a fair amount of free time. This sometimes means saying no to things that seem like really good opportunities, but it mostly feels like a pretty fulfilling way to live.
7. 3 Instagram accounts and/or blogs you are loving right now?
I’m a bit old school and much prefer to read magazines and books over blogs, but I do love wasting my time on Instragram! I love my friend Lorien’s instagram account, Wholesomelovinggoodness, for recipe and healthy living inspiration.
8. If a song could describe your life, which would it be?
I’m not sure this would exactly describe my life, but right now I’m really relating to Julia Jacklin’s ‘don’t let the kids win.’
9. What are your top 5 non-negotiable life values?
10. If there was one thing you could tell your 15-year-old self what would it be?
It’s all going to turn out fine. You can relax.
11. What makes you come alive?
Travel (and making plans for adventures). Creativity – coming up with ideas for yoga classes and workshops – music - writing. Learning new things and putting them into practice. Playing with my nephew.
12. If you could have dinner with 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?
I’m really bad at this question. Mostly I just like having dinner with my family and friends. I think I’d just be really socially awkward if I tried to have dinner with someone I really admire, like Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert or Alain De Botton.
I don’t think I could condense that into one person. I’m inspired by different people for different reasons. I’m inspired by every single yoga class I attend. I’m inspired by my family, my dad especially – who lives this totally simple life and dedicates so much of his time to learning and taking care of us all. I’m inspired by my boyfriend. My friends. Nature. Sometimes I even inspire myself!
14. How important do you think having a spiritual connection with oneself is?
I think it’s important, but that it looks different to everyone. For some people, it’s going to yoga or meditating in the forest. For others, it’s just a knowing that your own life and your own ego, isn’t the most important thing in the world. And a tradie is just as capable of realising that as a yogi is.
15. If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Oh, just the ability to always be present. I think that would be a pretty enjoyable super power.
16. What do you want to be doing/feeling in 5 years time?
Spending time with my family and friends, travelling, connecting with nature, working on yoga related projects (writing, teaching classes and workshops and collaborating with other people). I’d like to be living lightly in a little patch of nature with an awesome vegie garden, being healthy, moving my body, feeling fulfilled, abundant and unconcerned about the future. Maybe doing something profound like writing a book.
Probably Bali. Just to warm up and do a little bit of yoga and dancing in Ubud. It’s really cold today!
18. How do you cultivate a balanced heart and mind with so much going on?
I don’t think it’s possible to be very balanced when I have too much going on, so I just make sure I don’t have too much going on so that I can spend time indulging in the things that nourish me – like yoga, cooking and being around the people I love.
19. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m starting to share more of my teaching through workshops, retreats and collaborations with other yogis. That feels really exciting - I’m feeling really inspired to teach and share at the moment. I’ve also been doing some teaching at a rehab centre, which is really rewarding and sometimes challenging, and I’m getting the second winter edition of the magazine organised.
I’ve had a beautiful experience with Hanako. I’ve intuitively felt drawn to regular spritzing, and it’s a lovely ritual to share with my students – I’ve been sharing my bottle of "I Am" Brave around my classes and inviting students to give themselves a spray and breathe deeply at the beginning of a session.
Got a question for Jessica? Leave a comment below.