We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Parsons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking a risk is always a little scary! I remember when I was first learning to teach yoga, I was team teaching with another, more experienced teacher. Together, we taught an Inclusive Yoga class for students with all types of abilities. One day my teacher/partner became ill and was not able to make it to class. All of the parents and caregivers (including mine) said we would have to cancel the class and go home. But everyone was there and ready to go, so I said I would do it myself. I don’t think anyone believed that I could instruct and demonstrate the poses myself but I knew that I could do it. And I did! I taught the entire class and had so much fun with it! Everyone was so surprised and happy! I have been teaching yoga ever since. After that, taking a risk teaching different groups has become easier. I have said yes to podcast interviews, on camera appearances and teaching at yoga conferences. Sometimes there has been over 20 students in my class! Now, I’m the first female yoga instructor with Down syndrome.
My in-person classes had to be put on hold during the pandemic. My students asked me to put my classes online. This was a big risk as I was not sure if posting videos and photos of myself teaching yoga on the internet would be such a good idea. I was afraid that people who didn’t know me might make fun of me. But when I started posting my classes, I received such happy comments. Then I knew it was ok to do this.
In addition to yoga, I started putting my art projects online. I am selling my ceramics and knit scarves on my website. I have received so much love and support from the online community.
I must say I could not do any of this without my team of support staff and the encouragement of my family, teachers and mentors. I will also say that taking risks plays a big part in just about every area of my life!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One of my favorite things to do is create art. I enjoy knitting, sewing and making ceramics. I sell my art on my website and at local art shows. I donate money from my sales to organizations that support people with special needs. Currently, I am donating all of my proceeds to Doggie Does Good, a non-profit organization that matched me with a service dog named Kenny. Kenny is a mini goldendoodle that is trained especially for me. I love making unique items and sharing them with people all over the world. If you would like to see my handmade goods, please visit my website, jessicaparsonsyoga.com.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love LA! My favorite spots are the Hollywood Sign, The Getty Villa and the Santa Monica Pier. I love to grab a quick bite to eat at Birds Hollywood, the Grove or on Larchmont Blvd. The best way to spend your time is to go for a walk on the beach in Santa Monica, see a comedy show at the Groundlings or try to spot a celebrity in Hollywood!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family! My parents are yoga instructors, and they started the first yoga studio in Santa Barbara in 1986. I learned so much from them growing up! They started Let It Go Yoga and teach online yoga courses for people of all abilities. I am so happy to have learned yoga as a kid along with my sisters, who are all yoga teachers as well! It has been great to be a part of a big yoga family. If you would like to read more, please visit letitgoyoga.com.
Alex Coleman, Emily Parsons, Indra Strong