Yoga Babe Jade Alectra on How to Find Your Zen
Part time mermaid Jade Alectra’s Instagram is will have your #goals radar pinging.
Her feed consists of sensual and artisticÂ dance-like yoga videos to hip hop and rap songs, delicious healthy food tutorials, poetry by women, and the gorgeous girl herself in impressive yoga poses on the beach.
Even though she looks like a goddess, the Orange CountyÂ native is refreshingly not afraid to keep it real on Instagram. She oftenÂ opens up about her personal struggles, channeling the lessons she has learned to inspire others. We asked her how to take the perfect yoga picture, about her diet and exercise regime, and more below.
What led you to your yoga practice?
I used to be a basketball player and a pole vaulter. My coaches ingrained in me, if I wasnâ€™t working out to the point of pain and failure, I was not working at all.
I brought these ideas into my relationships and disconnected with my body to the point where I couldnâ€™t feel my knee as it tried desperately to communicate that it was going to dislocate if I didnâ€™t stop the way I was training. I didnâ€™t listen and it eventually popped out. I had weakened myself so much that I was unable to walk without a limp for a year. I gained 30 plus pounds and doctors told me I was never going to be able to run or work out again. I listened to another about my body AGAIN and was darkly depressed for a full year.
Finally at my wit’s end, a yoga teacher recommended I try out her class. I told her yoga was for sissies, but showed up any way. I walked out of the first three classes I tried to take because instead of feeling good, I felt all of the pain and avoidance I had been shoving down into this little body. I wanted to run from the truth. On the fourth class, I stayed all the way, and havenâ€™t left since!
How do you think yoga, poetry, and art intersect?
I think they are all the act of being honest. Finding the truth in the movements or the body. I heard once that art is what happens when exactly what’s on the inside confronts what is exactly on the outside. I think that is true of yoga and poetry as well and that all the best work comes out when this happens. When you are seeking your truth in any of those, its the rawest purest most concentrated dose of you. And that is some magic shit!
Do you prefer practicing at home or in a studio?
I prefer practicing at a studio but it’s hard for me to find the kind of teacher I am craving these days locally. Too many teachers get you too into your head and not enough into your body. They teach you to stay mindless and I want the opposite.
I want feeling. I want truth. I want tears. I want to work through the shit in my life on my mat so that I can be more free to be loving to everyone and most importantly myself when I leave. But I also deeply love cranking music and throwing the rules out the window and finding just me, and a candle and some lingerie in my room and flowing. Honey movements from soul. It’s quite beautiful to move the way your soul wants to move and to listen to that.
Do you have any tips for yogis just starting out?
Every time I teach a class, I make a little speech. I tell them, if you donâ€™t love my class, thatâ€™s ok! But donâ€™t stop coming back to your mat in other classes. Yoga class is like a therapist or a doctor. You donâ€™t go to one once and then stop going to doctors for the rest of your life if it’s not the right doctor for you. You try another and another until you find the one you like. The one you need now.
I’ve found that I move through yoga teachers like dating. Sometimes you outgrow them, and you just move on to another that challenges you. Do not take teachers that allow you to keep yourself in your comfort zone. Find the ones that arenâ€™t afraid to push you in a healthy and loving way. Stay hungry and reaching for your potential. Â Let yourself be brave on your mat so you can be brave in the world.
Do you work out besides yoga? Whatâ€™s your routine?
I do! I love to run and cardio is so important for our hearts. I love to hike. To run stairs. To play basketball. And I’ve worked at a gym called Equinox for the past 10 years so it’s in my blood to lift weights.
What is your diet and food philosophy?
My amazing friend Stephanie Birch (@StephyNow) recently shard with me a really amazing talk on food and how theÂ relationship you have with it is a metaphor for your relationship with yourself. If you withhold food, and are restrictive, then you are most likely restrictive in your life. If you gorge yourself, you are most likely trying to hide from your pain. I think it really opened my eyes to what I put in my body and that food is a form of self love. Or self hate. There is an amazing documentary series on Netflix called “Chefâ€™s Table” that has opened my eyes to food and life and it really is one of my main sources of teachers for my entire life but is rooted in food and chefs from around the world. Highly recommend you check it out.
Any tips for taking great yoga photos?
Find the message of the pose in its most simple form. And then do your best to capture its honest truth and you will see yourself come out so beautifully in any way you end up. The most beautiful poses Iâ€™ve seen arenâ€™t the most â€œperfectâ€ alignment and deepest expression; they are the person’s most honest attempts to be exactly who and what they are. And that is the most beautiful thing we can be: ourselves in the exact moment we are in. <3