In The Spotlight - Jo Pope
Welcome to In The Spotlight
Do you have an amazing business to showcase, or an incredible story to tell?
This month emmaheaven.com is shining the spotlight on...
I have been searching for a yoga ‘guru’ for the last two years, to front a special feature I have been working on.
After bending, flexing and stretching my way through many different classes, I finally found ‘THE ONE’!
The one I connected with.
The one I thought my readers would connect with.
The one who was perfect for what I had in mind.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our fabulous new yoga/spiritual ‘guru’ Jo Pope. Welcome to #TeamHeaven Jo, over to you!
“Hello everyone. My name is Joanna Pope, although most people call me Jo or Popey. In some cases I am referred to as the Pope. I don’t know whether that is a mark of respect or a more polite way of calling me ‘holier than thou’!
Born and raised in Swansea, I went to Bristol University, to study Economics and Economic History.
I spent much of my time singing and dancing, performing in drama shows, and formed a band which still gigs to this day, albeit less frequently, not least because the keyboard player now lives in San Francisco!
I have been performing since an early age with much of my teenage years spent in the renowned West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, performing with the likes of Russell T Davies (of Doctor Who fame).
It is a theatre which has helped shaped the likes of Michael Sheen, Rob Brydon and Catherine Zeta Jones, amongst others. I’m not name-dropping...Much!
Leaving university, I qualified as a stockbroker. This was the ‘Margaret Thatcher era’, awash with ‘yuppies’ and privatisation of many of the State run utility companies. Everyone was out to make money.
After the initial thrill and excitement had worn off, I found it a soulless, empty, unfulfilling experience; I left and went to join the steel industry, where I qualified as an accountant.
I have worked there for over 30 years in many roles. It is an industry which continues to go through tough times as the world evolves, but it is an industry which has served me well.
Whilst pursuing my career, I married, raised two wonderful children (of whom I am immensely proud), divorced and continued (when I had the time) to sing and dance.
Miraculously, alongside the day job and home life, I somehow managed to win an award for playing Dolly in Hello Dolly!
As the magic age of 50 loomed, with (relatively) more spare time as the children got older, I began to explore Yoga alongside my Zumba and other exercise activities.
I first started Yoga with a view to stretching and remaining flexible, and as a preventative measure to osteoporosis which can affect many women during the menopause.
Before I knew it, I was hooked!
Not only did I find flexibility and space within my body, but I somehow found clarity of thought, space within my mind, and a sense of contentment and peace.
It has been over five years since I started Yoga and I feel transformed by it.
My decision to teach came after a retreat in Goa, where someone suggested the idea to me, as a means of ‘bottling and passing on a piece of joy and sunshine’ to my students.
I have always been regarded as a sunny person. I’m not saying I’m happy ALL the time; and yes, I am sickeningly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings, but I am extremely positive, always looking for the best in people and in situations.
Yoga has become a vehicle allowing me to help my students find that space, joy and contentment, whilst pursuing the physical benefits which yoga brings: stamina, strength and flexibility.
And that is exactly what my Yoga business -‘Joga’ - has at its very core.
It is not just a physical practice but by practicing it, you find space to breathe and relax and find some serenity. This comes with learning to meditate which is something that can unnerve people, but really it is something we all would benefit from, by practising regularly.
I am hoping not only to teach adults but children too. Yoga is slowly being introduced in some schools, with some marked success stories. And the elderly too.
Yoga really is for everyone.
It can be practiced by all ages, alone, or in a group. The yoga community is a socially-engaging and bonding one.
You can find me on Instagram @joanna_pope, and here at emmaheaven.com with my new feature every month.
Love and kisses.
Tags: In The Spotlight