This week’s Q&A stars an inspiring, passionate Yogi and all-round beautiful person; Jordan Thackray. Jordan was my Yoga teacher at the ACP Magazines’ Health Club, for over a year. My weekly classes with Jordan were always a treat – Jordan’s yoga style and approach is kind, free-flowing, compassionate and forgiving. Through Jordan’s classes he taught me to practice self-love on the mat – that it is okay to laugh at yourself if you can’t master a difficult pose, as well as to listen to my body – if some days I was feeling crappy, listen to that and just surrender. These lessons have translated into my every day life, allowing me to practice self-love and to not take life too seriously. To me personally, Yoga has played an integral role in my health, wellbeing and spiritual growth. From someone who used to be a slave to the treadmill & high intensity group fitness classes; today I would not step foot near such activities; but rather I’d opt for Yoga, Pilates, running/walking outdoors and ocean swimming. I truly believe Yoga finds you, when the time is right. The benefits to mental, physical and spiritual health are endless. So today I have interviewed a master of his craft, a true Yogi in exploring all things, Yoga, health, wellbeing and Spice Girls Read on to learn more about Jordan…
1. How did your Yoga journey begin?
My yoga journey began when I was born I think. Kids are so good at yoga because they are untainted, pure and present! When I was a kid I loved movement and dance. My first attempt at actual yoga asana was as a teenager, to a video at home. It’s a funny story actually. You might think it would involve a vision or some spiritual awakening! No, mine is very simple, you see I love the Spice Girls! So when Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) brought out a Yoga Video I had to try it. It struck a cord and has been healing me ever since.
2. For those with limited knowledge of Yoga, can you briefly distinguish between the different types of Yoga practice?
Yoga is a union with your self. Yoga is the yolk, the core of who we are. With all the systems and styles it can get confusing and make you ask the question how and why?
To Me Yoga is simply Yoga.
But to answer the question, I’ll try and break it down as I see it (please note this is just my view, I beg you to investigate yourself and draw you own conclusions). Instead of distinguishing the differences, I think its best to seek out the similarities. The one thing I would hope they all share, is they are all seeking balance of breath, body and spirit in accordance to the 8 limbs. The differences are vast, many and ever changing, some systems keep more to the traditional methods and principals passed down through generations, the some newer methods of practice can be more modern in their approach appealing to people in todays world. Essentially all are like river systems, all flowing along different paths, but seeking the same common destination. I suggest to ask teachers, try different styles and read varied text and find the yoga system, style, lineage that is right for you. Carve your own river towards a union with your true self.
3. Tell me a bit about the birth of your Yoga space – F.L.Y (Finding Lotus Yoga)?
FindingLotus was born of an idea I had in India. where I went to study Yoga. FindingLotus just sounded right to me. The lotus flower is a symbol of hope and spiritual realization (Samadhi) and this is what I hope as a student of yoga I am on the path towards. Whether I achieve it in this life I am not yet sure, but I plan on doing my best. So I now share my knowledge of Yoga as a teacher. I wanted it to be clear though, through the name of my business that I too am still looking. That when I teach I am simply a guide to my students, I am happy to share what I know and what I contemplate throughout my investigations and practice but I am making no claims of being any kind of guru. I am simply an inspired student hoping to light the flame in the hearts of those I share my practice and teachings with.
When I opened my school FindingLotus Yoga the FLY abbreviation just worked well with the vinyasa style of yoga that I teach. It was just lucky because I do try to make my classes feel like a free experience, where one can discover or re-discover their strength, inner peace, balance and dedication, taking FLYght towards their truest lightest free self.
Each student brings something to the table I hope it to be a fair exchange. I’m learning from students all the time!
I like the idea we are all like little caterpillars and we practice on this earth so we can find wings and FLY to a higher place when its our time to move up. You might laugh because I sound super naff! Laugh at me or with me its all good! I do! I am just trying to keep being the imaginative little boy who loved to tell stories and dance alive. Just being the person I am best at being…myself.
4. In your opinion, what does Yoga teach us?
Yoga has and continues to teach me so much! For me it has been a journey of healing! Strengthening my belief in myself, which I do through dedication, discipline, patience, confidence, humility, truth, love, the list is truly endless! Yoga helps us harness and refine the strengths we already possess in our personality and feed the growth of aspects of our person that we sometimes neglect. It will bring out the best in you.
5. How important do you think good nutrition is to overall health and well-being?
Eating well is so important, I am someone who had suffered from eating disorders and body dis-morphia, so Yoga helped me find balance and now I find a very healthy balance to my food and the relationship it has to my body image. Food is literally what fuels our bodies its so important to enjoy food and get the balance right. Going back to your first question, nutrition is as complex as the many systems of yoga! There is a diet and lifestyle right for everyone. The key word I would say in all aspects of our life especially our diet is Balance!
For me I like to keep it simple, avoid sugar like its poison, start out with good breakfast and espresso, eat fresh green things more than once a day and stay hydrated! Pretty much just be as healthy as possible – I teach loads of classes each week, I run around, take dance classes, swim and love outdoor soft sand! So I need my carbs so if it comes in wholegrain I’ll have that options. I also love to carry around mixed nuts a good trail mix. I love a big meal before bed that’s what’s right for me helps me sleep. Then, some days I just let go, grab a beer and a pizza and chill out! Then it’s just back to being good, balanced and simple tomorrow; it is all about balance and moderation.
6. What does optimal health and well-being mean to you?
Optimal health and well-being is eating consciously, drinking loads of water, dance, meditation, singing, being naughty every now and then, and having a kindness to yourself. We spend so much time judging ourselves and fighting against our body! I think optimal health requires the skill of learning to get off our own backs! And to love yourself! Being aware of what serves you well and what doesn’t and not being to regimented with food or exercise, allow it be joyful so you are able to enjoy life and its earthly fruits, of course this means food, exercise and Yoga Yoga Yoga!
7. Who inspires you?
My mum, plants, animals and my dad. My mum because I love her so much and I’m glad she taught me all she knows and encourages me to go on and do the best I can, she really believes in me. I have loads of pet plants, I love seeing them grow and take shape towards light, they work harmoniously with their environment they are each so interesting and unique! Animals are also great, they’re what they are – and they don’t apologize for it. You’ll never hear a dog ask the question why am I here? They are just present and in the moment. You’ll never hear a bird say ‘am I a bird?’ it knows it’s a bird so it just does the shit birds have to do! I love that! Also, my Dad! He taught me to have faith and he loves with an open heart.
8. What suggestions would you give a Yoga student who is just starting out?
Have all your actions flow through a fearless heart and be witness to each moment and SMILE!
9. Finally, what message would you like readers to take away with them about finding the perfect balance in health, wellness and happiness?
There are so many messages people are taking in. It can be confusing for me so I like to keep it simple! What I can share today is to see the ‘perfection’ in the good and the bad, respect health, nurture illness. Seek wellness by sharing it with the people around you and for the sometimes, elusive happiness, simply feel the joy that exists perfectly inside your heart. I also love these two quotes -
Issac Newton’s Third Law of Motion – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Don’t be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams!
About Jordan Thackray
An 11 year dedicated personal yoga practice has taken Jordan from his mat in front of an at home Geri Halliwell Yoga Video to classes at Shala’s and Mandela’s in India, to countless yoga schools and styles in between. Jordan is such a humble student and teacher, an inspiration and a beautiful person. His passion flows through every single practice and his students are always led through a strong, spiritual and inspiring journey through every single downward dog to their final shavasana.
Jordan takes private and corporate yoga classes throughout Sydney, and holds classes at his Findinglotus Yoga studio in Bondi.
FindingLotus have some exciting projects in the wings, workshops at the studio, a solo exhibition and a children’s book are among a few! So be sure to keep posted by connecting with FindingLotus Yoga below.
Connect with Jordan & FindingLotus Yoga
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