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Meet Jess Man of Yoga off Pico in Central LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Man.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jess. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
During my last year living in New York City, things got tough and I felt stuck. So much of me knew I was not an NYC lifer, but I stayed in the City for nine years trying to figure it out. Like most people who say, “I am figuring it out,” I did not figure out as much as I wanted. I just knew I needed to do something different in my 30’s. The 9-5 grinding life is not for me. It’s not that I don’t like working hard or having stability, but it doesn’t allow for much freedom or creativity in your day to day schedule.

I had this dream that I would do yoga teacher training, become a yoga teacher, teach and travel (this all still hasn’t come to fruition yet, by the way). Also, at this time, I was also so unhappy with everything and thought “F-it, I am going to bite the bullet and sign up for yoga teacher training with Yoga to the People.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It could be great, it could be bad, but I knew I was invested because I signed up for a payment plan to pay off the cost of tuition.

Yoga teacher training was something I always thought about doing because during classes, I thought to myself, “I could do that.” However, it’s like grad school or getting into a relationship. You have to be fully committed because if you are not invested, your focus will drift into an oblivion of uncertainty and you will not get that much out of the experience. The stars aligned, I took training at the right time in my life where I felt like I could whole-hardheartedly commit and not runaway.

I will not lie, the first evening of teacher training, I thought I was walking into a cult meeting. If I was in my right mind, I would have walked out and never return. I stayed and stuck out the entire training. It was roughly about four months. Soon after, I quit my full-time job, drove across country, and arrived in a new city, LA.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, not all. I think I was a bit naive about how on everything would play out. In my head, I thought by offering free or donation yoga classes, people would come flocking into my yoga practice. My business would flourish fast, I would do privates, kid’s yoga classes, teach at multiple studios. I would be a growing at a nice pace where I would not question my decisions. I would be a self-sufficient boss b****. Someone had other plans for me.

Teaching yoga in LA is hard because everyone here teaches yoga or is in teacher training. The market is very competitive and people want to know where you’ve taught, how many years you’ve been teaching, what’s your specialty. Also, people have busy schedules, live far away, and are looking for a workout instead of a practice that will ground them. So, it’s difficult to get buy in from new or interested students.

The list of struggles can go on and on, but that’s not productive for me. There have been many times where I wanted to give up. To keep motivated when nothing seems to be making any traction is one of the hardest things to do. It seems easier to just practice yoga for myself and tell stories of a distant past, “I used to be a yoga teacher.”

Though I believe all this will lead me somewhere I will not expect, maybe not in the teaching yoga realm, but I think I am doing this because it is what I am meant to be doing right now. Also, quitting before I am really in the midst of it all would mean I cut this story short. I would not get to see how it all plays out.

Please tell us about Yoga off Pico.
Yoga off Pico is a yoga practice for all ages, accessibility, levels, and experience. I am based out of Koreatown, but I have traveled to Venice, even Cerritos to hold classes for the greater community. I have taught yoga for a run club in the OC and I did a collaboration with Saje Natural Wellness, an essential oils store in the Century City Mall. I teach vinayasa, yin, and restorative yoga. I am also certified in kid’s yoga as well. I teach yoga to a lot of runner’s that run half and full marathons. I have run long-distance races as well.

I come from a donation-based studio in NYC, Yoga to the People, so I have it ingrained in me that yoga doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot. It’s really about showing up to your mat and being open to what happens during class: the movement, the breathwork, the challenge of certain poses, or the ease of calming postures. I am continuing the traditions of Yoga to the People and I run a donation-based yoga practice.

On Tuesday’s, I do a 7:30pm vinayasa flow class out of my apartment. Honestly, it all started in my apartment back in December of 2018. I have had upwards of 10 people in my living room doing warrior 2 to music. Some people I knew personally, some people were friends of friends.

On Sunday’s, I do a 10:30am restorative yoga class at the Harold A. Henry Park (890 Lucerne Blvd) in Koreatown. This class is great to decompress from the week and to get deeper into stretches or to energize yourself with relaxation for the upcoming week.

And finally, on Thursday’s I do a 6:45pm vinayasa flow class at the Nike by Melrose (8552 Melrose Ave) in West Hollywood. We start out with light stretching and heat building sequences, then go into some flows, have a peak posture, and come back down to poses that bring your heart rate down. You can find the link to register in my Instagram bio.


  • Tuesday/Sunday classes are suggested donation $10. You just have to look out for the Instagram story postings for specific details for each day. I usually post about it a day or two in advance.
  • Nike by Melrose is free, you just have to sign up. I post about it in the Instagram story.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Steven Carvente, Arjaybphoto

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