Like many of the teachers at Flow, Jamie Markle is a homegrown talent and we’re always super proud of that. She’s excelled in our teacher-training program back in 2013, and now she’s focused on attaining her 700 RYT certificate at The Wisdom Method School of Yoga. In addition to that background, Jamie lives a pretty happy and healthy lifestyle, which is something we’re always excited to hear more about since it’s one of our mottos at Flow.
So take it away, Jamie!
FB: Where did you grow up and how did you find yourself in Loudoun County?
I grew up on a farm out in the middle of Nowhere Central California, and when I was twelve my mother remarried and we found ourselves two blocks from the beach in Southern California. This is where I learned to be a beach bum and spent my formative years just sleeping on the beach and surfing. That was the life! And Huntington Beach will always be home to me. But you know, things change. I changed. And even though I had traveled quite a bit I’d never lived anywhere besides Cali. The economy crashed and I had family living in Leesburg, so I gave away most of my possessions, packed what I could in my car, and I drove across the country.
FB: How about your family. Are they into yoga, do they attend any of your classes or just practice themselves?
I’m the only yogi in the family, but that is slowly changing. I’m slowly converting them one by one! But it hasn’t really required a lot of effort on my part; we’re all pretty healthy and active people. My dad, who is 70 years old and ridiculously active, just bought his first yoga mat. How awesome is that?! And my mom always wants to do Down Dog when I visit her in Arizona. And my sister just sent me a text message the other day saying she can’t wait to do yoga with me when I visit at Christmas. They are all unbelievably supportive of what I do. So since they are no longer in Loudoun County this makes it hard for them to attend my classes, but my mom says it’s on her bucket list. I feel blessed to be able to share this practice with them.
FB: What’s your favorite color and why?
Black! As in Johnny Cash black. I know that sounds so funereal but it’s what makes me happy! My wardrobe is predominately grays and blacks, but this makes me feel so light and cheerful, it’s where I feel the most comfortable. But in the last few weeks I’ve bought some colorful yoga tops: peach, purple, and white. And some rather colorful leggings. This is definitely me stepping outside of my comfort zone. But we need to do that from time to time. Break the monotony. Try something new. Feel slightly uncomfortable. Crazy yoga leggings will definitely do the trick!
“There is nothing like a studio experience when you are being guided, and you’re sweating and breathing with all these other people and you’re all speaking the same language.”
FB: Walking out the door of one of your classes, how would you hope that we feel having just taken your class?
I hope that you walk out feeling better than you did walking in. I hope that you feel challenged in some way, but also a bit lighter, more balanced, more focused or strengthened. I hope you walk out feeling like your practice meant something, and I hope that feeling can transgress into your life, into the day you just had or into tomorrow. I take classes at Flow and I know what it feels like to walk away from a great class, so naturally I want to impart that on the people who take my classes as well. It’s the ripple effect.
FB: How did you initially hear about Flow and what brought you back?
Well, my very first class at Flow was an Ashtanga practice with Marcia. I had a relatively strong home practice but I was still acclimating myself to Loudoun County at that time and I struggled with inoculating myself back into a studio. When it came time to do that I didn’t look for another studio, I just went back to Flow in Leesburg. I gently and periodically eased my way back in. I think I can consider myself completely acclimated now because there is nothing like a studio experience when you are being guided, and you’re sweating and breathing with all these other people and you’re all speaking the same language.
FB: Do you have any travel and yoga, or workshop-type offerings or aspirations that you’re looking forward to in 2015?
Well, it’s a lofty goal because I still feel very much a novice in my practice and my teaching, but some day I would love to lead a workshop on arm balances and inversions. Not because of the allure that most students have towards the two, but because of the core strength they require. Since teaching I’ve noticed that most students shy away from working this area of the body, because it’s challenging and it’s easier to gravitate towards something that comes easier. I’ve definitely been guilty of this myself. So for me it’s more about the mindset in approaching arm balances and inversions than it is about the actual physicality they demand.Obviously strength of the body plays a part, but these postures also require strength of mind.
FB: Talk a little bit about the 700 RYT training you’re in right now. What does that involve and how’s that going?
It’s intense and it’s all-encompassing! I just did my first 40 hours this weekend beginning with Yin and Restorative yoga. Over the course of 700 hours we cover a plethora of modalities, from Yin and Restorative to Fascia and Anatomy, as well as touching upon Ayurveda, Wellness, and Yoga Lifestyle. What I’m looking forward to the most is Fascia and Anatomy – I love to geek out on this kind of stuff, it’s how I spend my hot and exciting Friday nights, but there is also a lot that I don’t know. And I love that, because I love remaining a student and having that “back to school” feeling. I never want to stop learning and growing. It’s so important to have big, long-term goals that make you feel alive and give you a sense of purpose.
FB: Do you have a favorite pose?
Omg, handstand!!! Can I just say for the record how excited I was to be asked this
question? Seriously, I love handstands. Just this year I cracked the riddle on how to do a handstand without a wall, in the middle of the room. Words cannot describe this feeling, so I won’t even try. And I was really okay if this never happened for me. Let me repeat that last part, I was really okay if this never happened for me. I stress this point because you have to be unattached to the end result, because if you’re not it will eat you alive. I’ve been practicing handstand for years, and this year I had unexpected, massive break-throughs. It’s rocked my world, and it’s been a beautiful reminder that hard work and a consistent practice pays off profoundly. What’s important is the intention behind what you are practicing. This practice continuously gives back to us. Whatever you are working on, handstand or anything else, don’t give up on it.
“I don’t want to always be in my prime though. I look forward to aging and letting yoga age with me. This is okay! Because it very much feels like a lifelong relationship.”
FB: In your bio, you talk about your camera. What’s your background there? Can we see some pictures of you teaching or practicing yoga?
When I was a teenager my mom gave me her old manual Minolta. This was before the age of digital cameras when I could develop the film myself and get lost developing pictures in the dark room. I could be there for hours. Creating photos this way was an art form, and it was much harder than handstand! I pretty much just take my camera with me wherever I go with the purpose of documenting my life, or to capture things I see that catch my attention, things I find interesting. To this day I like to be behind the camera, not in front of it. It’s never felt natural! But in the last year or two I’ve gradually felt more comfortable having my picture taken in yoga poses, so I can see my alignment but more importantly so I can revisit an asana and see my growth and progress. And this has been very revealing, because some postures that felt right needed improvement, and then quite the opposite, there were some postures I thought I was doing poorly but was in fact doing alright!
Can you talk a little about your practice when you first started yoga, your practice now, and where you see your practice in the future?
When I first started yoga almost ten years ago I had no idea what I was doing. I just kept going back to class because there was this indescribable feeling I would get after practice and I wanted to feel good. I didn’t care about flexibility or doing fancy poses. But the last few years have been all about exploring strength, flexibility, and strong postures. This is just where it is right now. I don’t want to always be in my prime though. I look forward to aging and letting yoga age with me. This is okay! Because it very much feels like a lifelong relationship. Right now I can do Flying Pigeon. Will it always be this way? Probably not, and I am content with this. This year in particular has been the most humbling so far. At the beginning of the year I had major physical setbacks, but then I experienced astounding break-throughs with handstand later on. I can’t explain this. I just sit back and let yoga do its thing and I listen to what my body wants. But I will say this, if I’m 90 years old some day and rocking crow or handstand, I’ll be the coolest 90 year old ever!
We appreciate your time and look forward to attending your class this holiday season. Namaste!