It's clear to those that know ROOTED Founder, Pandora that she's got a constant yoga bug.
A dear friend of the ROOTED crew is Jessica Skye who is Head Honcho (aka Founder) of Fat Buddha Yoga. Fat Buddha is a 'modern approach to the ancient art and science of yoga for the next generation of urban yogis'. Jessica's mantra is Peace. Love. Look Good Naked. She's interesting and realistic - and most importantly, lives life with balance. Whether you spot her on the decks at Shoreditch House or doing a downward dog at Dalston Roof Park, you'll beam from her energy. We did. What's not to love? ROOTED meets Fat Buddha Yoga...
How, why and when did you decide to launch Fat Buddha Yoga?
I’ve got a pretty varied background…At uni I studied Graphic Design, Media and Communications, I had a stint in fashion PR doing placements at Exposure and Jimmy Choo, then music at Kiss100 before settling in digital advertising at an extreme sports media house. During Uni I had spent a couple of months on a surf trip in Indonesia and attended my first yoga session… ever since… I’ve done yoga pretty much every day.
After realising sitting at a desk 9-5 wasn’t for me I packed it in and did my teacher training. I went to work freelance in the fitness industry and was DJ-ing a lot before launching FBY in May 2013.
It was during the transition of my yoga training that I started to see cracks and became frustrated with certain aspects of the yoga industry – such as the firm hold on religious beliefs some schools of yoga project, Chinese whisperers on the lineage of yoga (what we call yoga in the modern West bares little resemblance to the ancient practices of medieval India), the price, frauds and sometimes the attitude and pretension of studios/ students/ teachers and the lack of fun – nothing should be taken that seriously.
This wasn’t always the case as there are some amazing teachers out there who I love, but I made the decision that if I was going to teach and instruct yoga I had to do it in a way that felt authentic and true to me. I wanted to lower the barriers of participation, make it accessible and most importantly make it fun! Natural highs are the best and I love the feeling of leaving a class buzzed out on Zen from 60-90 mins of pure blissful escapism.
So that’s what I did… Started to create classes that pop-up at a variety of venues, affordable prices, banging tunes, keeping the positive vibes and losing any excessive hippy-dippy doo-dah chat.
How do you chose your venues? Our favourite is Dalston Roof Park, what’s yours?
My first venue was Google Campus and was an easy choice as I was hot desking in the building when I decided to launch FBY... As it’s my first I’ll always have a soft spot for it.
I love Dalston Roof Park and lived opposite it at the time so when summer came around it was my first point of call – it’s an awesome venue – everyone loves a rooftop and it has a great vibe. By the time winter came around I had venues approaching me to hold pop-ups – The Proud Archivist was a lovely gallery space. Although I don’t have a favourite as all the venues I use are so different to each other and create different moods (sunny rooftops, office space, gallery space, night club basements and 5* hotels with spas). The Book Club is pretty special for me – I’m a sucker for fairy lights so love the set up, lots of hues of colour with up-lighters, cool moving visuals on the walls, disco balls and most importantly for me MASSIVE SPEAKERS to pump out the Fat Buddha Sessions during the classes. South Place Hotel is super classy with a high-spec gym and luxury steam room / sauna so that’s up there too.
Your favourite yoga position and why?
My Favourite position is a super simple one – a good uttanasana (intense forward fold) I get my class to grab opposite elbows behind their legs as they fold. This gets into nearly everywhere – calves and hamstrings (be sure to tilt the pelvis up as you fold), it opens the space between each vertebrae (make sure to tuck your chin towards your chest to curve spine and keep windpipe open), if you can push your legs against your arms you’ll get into the rhomboids (muscles that connect shoulder blades to your spinal column)… Once you’re all warmed up and open a few of these scattered through out a session can really help to open you up and release areas of tightness you don’t always realise you're holding.
What does your typical day look like?
My schedule can be pretty mental and no two days are ever the same… Week to week I juggle 4-5 pop-up classes, 4-5 private clients each having between 1 and 3 sessions a week (some at 7am so I’m up at 5:30am around 3 days of the week). I have around 3 corporate sessions a week; I also do some occasional fitness/yoga modelling and DJ - so rarely get a day off… On a really crazy day I’m up for 18-20 hours.
On the early mornings I’m up and out – quick tea/ coffee and piece of fruit or smoothie, teach an early pop-up or private, will have breakfast out somewhere and do emails (Ace Hotel, Ozone, Pod do awesome eggs or anywhere with good coffee and wifi). I’ll either work from a café/ restaurant during the day until I teach in the evening (sometimes 2 or 3 classes back to back) or dash across London to do my corporate sessions. After teaching in the evening I sometimes hang out with friends – but usually I need to get an early night so head home to my boyfriend who is amazing and normally has dinner waiting for me so I can re-fuel (I eat A LOT), have a hot bath and curl up on the sofa before getting to bed for 11pm/12am… ROCK’N’ROLL! Weekends I normally have a gig at Shoreditch House on either the Fri or Sat and also teach on both Saturday and Sunday… So it’s pretty non-stop.
What's your typical day on a plate (food plan)?
Breakfast: If I’m in a super rush at 5:30am it’s a banana and iced coffee, if I’ve left myself time it’s a big smoothie – oats, banana, frozen berries with hemp protein, baobab, or spirilina with either almond milk, coconut water or fruit juice topped with chia seeds. My favourite is frozen banana with avocado and coconut water… so yummy and clean!
Lunch: I’m always dashing around so it can be hard sometimes to get the food you want and occasionally get stitched up with a Starbucks sandwich. Usually I’ll grab a salad, sushi or hot box from Chopped, Itsu, Pod or Leon (all scattered around my pop-ups and clients) so pretty easy. I snack a lot throughout the day – fruit, nuts, energy bars etc.
Dinner: My boyfriend and me love East-Asian food (or maybe I just make him eat it all time) so lots of stir-fries, noodle soups, also nice salads (love Greek salads and add watermelon to the mix), lots of sweet potato, lean meats and occasionally wheat and gluten free pasta. I don’t actually eat pasta (so I say) but when he makes it I tend to always clear the saucepan of leftovers.
I eat chocolate everyday... It’s not yogic, it’s not dairy, wheat or gluten free and I don’t care… I LOVE IT!!!
What's the favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of my job is meeting lots of amazing and interesting people, working with cool brands and partners, getting to move around a lot, staying busy all the time, learning a lot about myself and business by being my own boss and mostly getting to share what I love (yoga and music) with so many people. I get enormous satisfaction when students enjoy a class and leave full of Zen, all stretched out and glowing. Feels even better when they come back for more! I never dread working and absolutely love what I do!
How do you relax?
I relax by having some downtime with my fella (we both work non-stop so quality time is really important), jamming with friends - I love Hackney Wick so you can usually find me around there. My family is crazy important to me so I’m at my parents at any opportunity. Other than that – hot bubble baths, I’m trying to make massages a regular thing and although it’s technically work I relax a lot when I’m DJing – I can completely tune into the music and play for hours without even realizing.
Favourite foodie place in London?
I love a Viet and Shoreditch has so many – Loong Kee or Viet Grill are my favourites. Also Red Art café in Dalston does epic Turkish eggs and super reasonably priced meals. Viva is also in Dalston and does incredible authentic Mexican food.
What are you top 3 tips to staying stylish and healthy?
Wear red lipstick
Live the life you love and love the life you live
Your life motto?
“Do what you feel”
You can catch Fat Buddha Yoga here or on Instagram at @fatbuddhayoga.
Peace. Love. Look Good Naked!!!