JES­SICA OLIE

Women's Health (UK) - - GOOD LOOKS -

The main mo­ti­va­tion be­hind Jes­sica Olie’s prac­tice when she started yoga three years ago? To touch her toes and split to the floor. De­spite an ac­tive South African up­bring­ing, then eight years swim­ming for GB at na­tional level, flex­i­bil­ity was not the Brit’s forte. Look­ing for a way to stay in shape af­ter quit­ting the pool, Jes­sica tried yoga. She de­cided to teach her­self, repli­cat­ing In­sta­gram poses in her room. ‘I started off with 10 min­utes a day, most of which was spent fall­ing over,’ she says. ‘But be­cause I could con­trol the pace, I quickly im­proved, which was re­ally mo­ti­vat­ing.’ This spurred Jes­sica on to be­gin doc­u­ment­ing her jour­ney us­ing so­cial me­dia – and within a month she had 10,000 fol­low­ers. ‘It was crazy,’ she says. ‘I was a 20-some­thing prac­tis­ing poses in my py­ja­mas! But I sup­pose peo­ple could re­late. So­cial me­dia can be a safe space to con­nect with oth­ers who share your mind­set and goals; which you don’t al­ways get in real life.’ Jes­sica em­barked on a three-month teacher train­ing pro­gramme and be­gan coach­ing pri­vately. ‘I never set out to teach,’ she says. ‘I just wanted to de­velop my own prac­tice. But when your mum’s friends ask for one-to-ones, how do you say no?’ Jes­sica now teaches around 20 ses­sions a week in Dubai, and de­votes four to five hours to her own prac­tice each week. When word of her classes reached In­sta­gram, Jes­sica was flooded with re­quests for Youtube videos and Skype ses­sions – her re­sult­ing ebook #letsstar­tyoga was re­leased in March 2015. World­wide work­shops fol­lowed and, ear­lier this year, an 18-carat gold and gem­stone jew­ellery col­lec­tion, in­spired by yoga’s spir­i­tual side. ‘The beauty of yoga is it has so many dif­fer­ent di­men­sions. And you can’t fake or rush the re­sults of any one; you have to work for them,’ says Jes­sica. As she posts yet an­other hand­stand pic and her fol­low­ers creep closer and closer to the 400k mark, it’s clear she has done just that – and, boy, has it paid off.

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