Have You Felt the Magic of Mindful Movement?
An Inspiring Student Spotlight with Jessica Kay Lee
You know that feeling when it just “clicks”? Maybe you finally picked up that complicated salsa move, you found the perfect summer dress that speaks to you, or even better, you meet someone who you feel totally on the same page with! Finding this kind of magical “right fit” is what this week’s newsletter and Student Spotlight is all about!
Five years ago I first had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Kay Lee at a Taipei networking event brimming with fierce and phenomenal female entrepreneurs and leaders. She and I briefly connected over mutual acquaintances, her family business with youth sports, and our mutual love of Zumba. Something just “clicked” and I was left with the feeling that our paths would cross again!
Fast forward to today and Jessica is the founder of The Lotus Pond, a mind-body and spiritual wellness consultancy agency, and my enthusiastic client in a private group Fit + Flaunt Burlesque class.
I recently sat down with Jessica for a chat about her journey rediscovering dance as her ideal fit for joyful movement and the incredible impact it has had on her mind and body! Read on for some snippets of her story then head over to our blog for even more bits of inspiration!
K: Can you tell me a little about your experience with dance? How did it come into your life and why is it important to you?
J: I first started dancing back in elementary school-- ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics-- not really out of my own interest, but my mom had signed me up for classes. When you are younger you don’t really think about the “Why” behind doing your hobbies, but this introduction developed my love for dance. Over the years, I found ways to keep dance in my life, mostly just for fun when going out with friends and my husband. But all of that stopped when I got pregnant. As a young mom with many responsibilities, two kids and a family business that we had built, I really took on so much. Eventually it all compiled, and I felt like I had hit a low point. I was trying to exude this impression that I could do everything, that everything was totally ok, but I knew deep down I needed to take a sabbatical. It was during this break that I started going to all kinds of activities like classes for writing, mindfulness, and Zumba.
K- What was it like when you started Zumba?
J- At that time I was really looking to take care of myself and my body since I felt like as a mom I had neglected my physical needs. When I went to my first Zumba class I couldn’t entirely keep up initially and I was completely drenched in sweat, but the energy was amazing and I kept going back for more and more. I think through motherhood I realized there was some kind of mind- body connection-- a link between how my body physically felt and my emotions. And then through dancing again I had this experience of mindfullness for the first time. I felt really present when I was dancing.
K- That's something I really love about class too-- listening to the music, moving and forgetting everything else for awhile! Can you describe more about how it feels when you are in class?
J- Fun, joy, liberating! When I dance with you I feel at ease even though it's definitely challenging. You know, I never considered myself an athlete-- I hated PE class growing up! But I see the whole session as an experience for my mind, body, and emotions. It gives me a chance to feel free, happy, and connected with myself. I know I feel like more of my whole full self when I dance.
K- You have gathered this great group of your friends for our private lessons and chose to have Fit + Flaunt Burlesque Fitness class. What was behind this decision?
J- I had been following you for years online and I knew I was interested in your classes and style. I was just waiting and hoping for you to travel to my part of town! I really love group classes-- I'm not the kind of person who wants 1-on-1 fitness class because I like the energy of the group. And I love the emphasis on variety, sensuality, and femininity in Fit + Flaunt. It's something you can't find in other classes and that is so needed in my opinion!
K- What are some of the changes you have seen within yourself from having our class time together?
J- Honestly I can see a drastic difference. I feel so much happier and more balanced. My current work is really based on calmness and going inward, so I can feel the benefits of unlocking higher energy from class. It's really confirmed that dance is a necessary part of my life that I want to be able to do for years to come. My family sees it, too. My husband will be like, "Go dance and do your thing!"
K-I’m so happy to be a part of it! Do you have a favorite style or part of our class?
J- I love the whole Fit + Flaunt style and session! You've got a great eye for the styles I like and I really enjoy the curriculum you created of slower songs, faster ones and then breaking down a routine. The more sensual style of the class is not a part of ourselves that we really let out often. As women and moms we often think we need to act a certain way. So when I do moves like body rolls or hip circles I know it’s a good workout, but I feel like it opens up my creativity and expression which translates to other areas of my life, too. There's this side of myself that is a free spirit that doesn't want to be judged and that wants to encourage others to let it out as well. Your class really helps us to open up in a way that feels fun and natural.
K- That means so much to me. I always loved dance, but I felt very shy when I was younger and definitely never considered myself athlete. Dance really changed that . I truly believe in the transformative power of dance and I’m so passionate about how I can help facilitate that for others- to give them a space to feel safe to move and express.
J- I feel like you have that special power to help people feel beautiful and sensual . When I take your classes I feel like it’s a natural relief. Over the previous years when I studied spiritual psychology and meditation I focused on my inner wellbeing a lot. It feels so good to recommit to my physical wellbeing now, too. I want to be able to do this forever .
K- You’ve really become like a leader for your group of friends in the class, always motivated, positive, and communicative. How do you kept yourself motivated?
J- I thrive in a community and when I see someone else working hard it also keeps me more motivated. I had known for a long time that I wanted to dance with you, so when you were willing to come to our area for class, it was a perfect combination of time, convenience, and the right instructor. My family knows that the class time is a "nonnegotiable" commitment for me to myself. I set my work schedule and other things around our class, and also I just truly look forward to it!
K-I think this is the biggest obstacle for others — struggling to keep showing up because there are so many barriers to working out like time, money, and energy. Also many of us had negative experiences with fitness, felt embarrassed or ashamed when working out, punished ourselves with exercise or were punished in PE class by having to run laps, etc. What advice would you have for others who may struggle to overcome these obstacles?
J- I think I found my "go-to" exercise . It’s important to be honest with yourself and see what exercise speaks to you. I know who I am and who I am not, what I need and don't need. I have no desire to become a marathon runner for example. Find YOUR modality, and be brave to show up for YOU. Be compassionate to yourself. You don’t have to keep up with what society expects or the popular new trend in working out. Find what you enjoy and you will look forward to it!
A massive "Thank You!" to Jessica for taking the time to share her story with all of us! Keep an eye out for more content from Jessica in a future blog as she shares some of her expertise on mindfulness. To learn more about Jessica and connect with her now, head over to her website www.thelotuspond.org
Wishing you a week of presence and joyful movement ahead!