Jessica Jollie doesn't look like the stereotypical business woman. There's no fitted suit or intimidating brief case, no hard-edged jaw or severe hair style. She's wearing yoga pants and grinning from ear to ear the first day her new business, Yoga Landing, opens at Warehouse Row. In fact, she actually bursts out in tears when she opens her doors for the very first class (she offered free classes all day for her grand opening!) and the space is filled to capacity, if not beyond.
"I apologize," she says, wiping her eyes. "I am just so moved! So honored that you all thought enough of me to give up your Saturday and come here this morning."
Well, duh. Jessica is the kind of person you just want to be around, and if she teaches you a thing or two about yoga, all the better. She has a genuine way about her as she looks around the room and thanks everyone earnestly, beaming as she does so.
That first day the yoga room at Warehouse Row was so thick with brightly colored mats they actually overlapped. The only open space of floor was a tiny shoe-box sized rectangle against the aged brick wall where the instructors were supposed to stand. Barely big enough for two small feet, not nearly enough room for Jessica to demonstrate a down dog or a standing split or any warrior position, the instructors surely were in a quandary over how to lead the class. But that little detail didn't seem to bother Jessica in the least. She and two other instructors, Josh Harris and Allison Fellers, walked softly around the room as they spoke softly, guiding us into poses with their words, laughing every now and then, which immediately got rid of any intimidation factor. They all gracefully eased around outstretched arms and extended legs as they randomly and magically somehow found pressure points and tweaked them, massaging them just so. And those few little seconds of massage are incredibly healing.
It's the healing part that has been consistent with Jessica her whole life. A high school counselor in her former life, Jessica was all set to go back to that profession after selling her portion of North Shore Yoga, the business she helped start a few years ago.
"I had been looking for a space to open another yoga studio, but couldn't find what I wanted. Then Warehouse Row contacted me, and the rest is history," she says. Soaring ceilings, sandblasted brick, tall windows, exposed beams and free parking....the space at Warehouse Row is incredible. If you haven't been there since Nautica and Joan Vass were the anchors, it's time to check it out. From the light-entwined tree suspended over the food court to the gleaming wood floors and upscale, sophisticated feel, it's worth a trip. Even if you're not shopping or going to yoga.
A dedicated yogi for over half her life, Jessica has been practicing yoga since she was a student at UT and injured her back snowboarding in Tahoe. "I had a bulging disc and my back was completely locked up. I had a Erich Schiffmann video and that made all the difference. I haven't missed more than three days in a row since," she says.
Jessica is training in yoga therapy now, so that will add a whole new dimension to Yoga Landing. But for now there are classes taught by an impressive group of teachers including Karen Persinger, Allison Fellers, John Oehmig, Allison Foster and more. Child care is available and there are always workshops and teacher training.
In case there was in doubt about this lovely, gentle soul being a successful business woman, check out her web site at www.yogalanding.net and read the details on the classes she is offering now in yin, heated vinyasa, ashtana, athletic recovery and meditation.
Or pop by this Thursday for the Holiday Open House Warehouse Row is hosting all day. Yoga Landing will be offering local organic apple cider, as well as discounted class packages, memberships and gift cards, and you are invited to come warm your soul and spirit this holiday season.
No matter which class you do, you'll feel both relaxed and energized afterwards. Almost like you've had a full-body massage but without the price tag.