Wellness Author Jody Shield: Why I Love/Hate Yoga

Welcome to Love/Hate Stories, the 657Journal’s series exploring our unique relationship with exercise, by those who’ve fallen for it after years of stubborn resistance.

Jody Shield needed to escape.

In 2009, after ten successful years in advertising, she had a “full-on meltdown”, quit her job and disappeared off to the Peruvian jungle.

There she faced her demons, shed the emotional baggage that had been weighing her down since childhood and learned to completely overhaul her life.

Now the author of LifeTonic: A Modern Toolbox To Heal Your Life and Soothe Your Soul is driven to help everyone overcome the “stress epidemic that plagues the corporate world”.

We caught up with the public speaker, entrepreneur and meditation guru at Be:Fit London to learn more about this voyage of self discovery and unearth how it’s influenced her love/hate relationship with exercise.

I used to be very insecure. I was working in advertising as a business director in London when, six years ago, I decided to quit my job and go to South America, to the Peruvian jungle. I really wanted to understand more about myself and why I felt insecure in my job, why I felt disconnected with myself, why I was stressed out, anxious, afraid of public speaking, all those things.

Crazy experiences with indigenous tribes opened my eyes. I realised we have this amazing connection between our mind and body and we need to start understanding ourselves on a much deeper level. I realiesed we escape ourselves everyday, whether it’s through partying, Instagram, or some other form of escape.

I learned to empty and clear baggage I had been holding onto for my whole life. As humans we hold onto memories and stuff from our past, from childhood, school, dates. We’re full of emotional baggage and we need a way to release it.

I found the space, determination, motivation and interest in something that was bigger than what I was doing in the corporate world. I came back to London and retrained in lots of different skills, I travelled the world working with the best speakers and coaches and healers and then started a career in wellness. Five years later wellness is really booming, not just physical wellness but also mental and emotional wellness.

Our brains are too busy. We create the world around us so for long lasting permanent change we need to go inside and change our thoughts, feelings, mental mess, everything that’s going on inside our heads. To do that you need to get quiet and you can do that through meditation. It’s about reconnecting with yourself on the inside to change what’s happening on your outside world.

We need to learn to let go of resistance. When you go into a yoga class for the first time and learn new moves you might think, “I don’t know what I’m doing, how do I do this?”. You won’t get into the moves because you’re creating resistance. We love creating obstacles around new things. Call it resistance, baggage, mental chatter, stagnation, whatever it is. Letting go of it helps release space and lets you hear yourself clearer.

For ages I really hated yoga. I couldn’t get into it. Everyone assumes I’d be into yoga but that was not the case. I had all this resistance around yoga. I’d go to classes and everyone else was doing all the moves and my ego was getting in a pickle because I couldn’t do them. I really started hating yoga. I also had a very hateful relationship with my body. I was bulimic for eight years. I had a lot of resistance with connecting with my physical body. A disconnection from my physical body, a disconnection from yoga.

I overcame my resistance through meditation. I learned to honour my resistance every step of the way. I spent time witnessing my thoughts and allowed them to detox their way out of my system. I was determined that I wasn’t going to let this beat me.

Being fit and strong and healthy is really important for me. I was an exercise avoider for many years because I had lots of issues with my body. Being able to feel really strong in my body allows me to be the best version of myself in everything I do.

Ten years ago I wish I knew that I am enough in whatever I do. That’s so important. I love that people are becoming more aware and awake like I have in the last few years. It excites me a lot. It means I can reach out to more people.

You can learn more about Jody Shield and her upcoming LoveTonic workshop on Modern Healing For Your Romantic Woes here, follow her on Instagram here and on Twitter here.

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