One of the things I read early in my parenting journey, which really stuck with me, is our children mirror our behavior. After listening to Erica being interviewed on a podcast, where she spoke of becoming the best version of herself, in order to be the best guide for her students, I decided to reach out to her for this interview.
Erica Jago is an artist, designer and yoga teacher, in addition to being someone I’ve admired from afar since I discovered Art of Attention, a book she designed and co-authored. Although the book was written as a gift to yoga teachers, the lessons inside are universal for anyone wanting to challenge and improve him or herself.
You designed and co-wrote a beautiful book, the Art of Attention, which has inspired me so much in my doula practice; what could a pregnant mother or new parent learn from your book?
I’m so happy to hear this! Not having children myself, I can only relate to the idea of parenting. But as an adult, I find myself still learning how to nurture and care for my own inner child. The book, Art of Attention teaches ways to speak to your emotional body; feeling forgiveness as a release of tension in the body. In chapter two, we release blame in the solar plexus, which is a huge power loss. All of these universal lessons will assist you in becoming a clearer channel for yourself first, and others around you, second.
Why do you think it’s important to be your best self in order to teach others?
Conflict comes from when I’m living a contradiction. What I teach in the classroom must be a true reflection of what I live at home, otherwise I’m a fraud. Integrity is the utmost important attribute a human can obtain and a topic I cover a lot in my classes and retreats.
How do you quiet the noise of outside influences and make space to hear your own answers when you’re faced with important decisions?
Women and men who have attended my retreats, become close confidants and friends whose advice I seek out. I listen, invite them to mirror back to me my current situation and then I’ll go for a run, jump in the ocean or take myself out for an artist date to process the reflection via writing or meditation. By then I’m ready to connect and feel what is mine again.
How can you know a particular habit you have isn’t serving you in the best way?
When that obsession takes me away from my art. If I’m not creating, then I know its time to move inward.
What is one small step someone could take to slowly shift him or her away from a habit they would like to change?
Replace your habit with a compelling, future-focused behavior. Ask yourself what do I want in 5 years? What do I stand to gain? What does the path of (fill in the blank) lead to if I continue to make this a daily decision of mine? Once you have a strong image of the NEW YOU then remind yourself three times a day what it is that you are striving to become. It works!
Parenting can be exhausting, especially in the first couple of weeks. Do you have any good tips for calming the nervous system and getting a little boost, that only take a few minutes?
Ahhh how you go on no sleep is a mystery to me! For a boost I do ego eradicator. 3mins with hands above the head, fingers folded in with thumbs plugged into the sky. Your arms are straight and out like a capital letter V. Eyes closed, rolled up and in towards the third eye. Lips are closed and quick sharp exhales through the nose, inhale happens naturally. Otherwise known as breath of fire. After three minutes, feel; don’t look as the thumbs touch above the head. Take one last inhale, HOLD for 30 seconds then exhale release hands down, palms facing up on your knees and drop into a meditation for as long as you like.
What is inspiring you right now?
- DakhaBrakha YouTube videos, their music combines the musical styles of several ethnic groups.
- Loose leaf herbal teas: licorice root, uva ursi, and valerian root before bed.
- Lastly, the ocean, I have been body surfing with a good friend and learning how to release and let go in the Hawaiian waters at least twice a week!
What was your favorite bedtime story as a child?
The Fox and the Hound “I love the scene where they are eating spaghetti and accidentally kiss. LOVE!”
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Photos Courtesy Of Erica Jago