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Meet Jessica Rihal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Rihal.

Jessica, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My practice with yoga began at home. I remember being curious about yoga but I didn’t feel empowered enough to join a class. I had NEVER seen yoga practiced by or marketed to average people in larger bodies.

I remember searching online for instructors/classes that made the practice more approachable and at the time the only resource I could find was a physical DVD – “Yoga, Just My Size” with Megan Garia – this was around 2006.

This little DVD was my very first introduction to yoga.

From here it would be years before stepping foot in a class and deepening my practice. It took me finally seeing other instructors and practitioners who looked liked to give me the push I needed to pursue my teacher training Seeing people like Dianne Bondy, Anna Guest-Jelley, Amber Karnes, and Jessamy Stanley practice and teach really gave me the validation I needed to follow the natural path to instruct I’d been pushed into. This realization really helped me to see the importance of visibility and authenticity and I realized I needed to step up to the plate and be part of the change and diversity in the yoga community that I needed so badly.

Once I decided to pursue my yoga teacher training (YTT) I settled on a program at Orange Coast College, a local Community College. I took the program over the course of two semesters. I completed the program feeling confident and nurtured by the program Ashlee McKeachie.

I was lucky enough to begin teaching right away after earning my YT 200-HR certification in June 2018. I currently instructor Sundays at EveryBody Los Angeles in Glassell Park and Mondays and Wednesdays at Curvy Love Fit Hub in Old Town Tustin (Orange County)

Since graduation I’ve been able to take this practice on the road, I was invited to lead yoga and guided meditation at Bonnaroo music festival just outside of Nashville which was such an incredible experience, I’ll never forget leading meditation in VIP lounge for a group while Hosier had his sound check on the big stage outside of our tent. I’ve also had the opportunity to lead a class for International Yoga day at UCI. I’m really looking forward to where this practice takes me next.

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?
Any pushback I’ve had from strangers doubting me has been very rare and mostly stem from strangers on the internet that put yoga in the same category as gymnastics – this has had almost no impact on me.

The real demon is negative self-talk. I remember halfway through the program thinking “what am I doing, no one is going to take me seriously” but luckily I was surrounded by a support system and I pushed through this feeling of unworthiness early on, I was so lucky to be surrounded by a people that believed in me and reminded me all the time. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who see you and believe in what you do.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I lead Yoga/Meditation 4x a week in both Los Angeles at Everybody Los Angeles and in Orange County at Curvy Love Fit Hub. As a plus-size instructor, I specialize in working with all bodies and abilities. My focus is to adapt the practice to the body you’re in today, Not yesterday or sometime in the future. I believe that yoga is for everybody and can be adapted for all bodies. I use body neutral language and have a heavy emphasis on breath work and meditation.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Walking to the edge of the pier on Huntington Beach and staring into the water trying to imagine all the sea life beneath the surface. The salty smell of the ocean and sounds of gulls and waves crashing in the background.

Pricing:

  • Curvy Love Fit Hub $10 walk-in classes/membership available
  • Everybody Los Angeles $15 walk-in/membership availavle
  • Private instruction – sliding scale up to $60/hr

Contact Info:

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