Current town:  ON THE ROAD

Website:  jakepaulwhite.com                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Instagram:  @jake_paul_white

What’s your story?  I was raised in an ever-changing environment as a result of my Father being in the Army. Perhaps as a result of this, as a child and teenager I had the idea that I had to be a ‘winner’. As a young adult, I delved into the world of Fine Art, which helped me grow out of those thoughts and into my own ideals of passion, not succession. 

I was always encouraged to explore physical activities I enjoyed throughout school and got really into slackening and rock climbing as well as art and design. I found myself torn between the two worlds, not yet realising I could make the two collide. Slacklining and climbing became a core focus throughout my Fine Art studies at University, introducing to me a balance between physical activity and the art world. I guess the search for this balance of the physical and creative is what led me to discover yoga and it’s one I continue to unravel as I travel all over the world with work and play in both yoga and design.

What did you want to be growing up?  I never had a clear vision of what I wanted to be when I was growing up, but always had this drive and ambition to be the best in whatever I attempted - especially in sports.

How would you describe yourself?  Driven, passionate, enthusiastic, creative, ambitious, inquisitive. 

How would others describe you?  Nomadic, humble, kind, loving, unpredictable, analytical, self-doubting.

How would your mother describe you?  Hard-working, inspirational, caring, supportive, big-hearted.

What do you most value in others? Why?  People who can stand tall and speak their truth with both humility and conviction. I value meeting people who I see as a mirror to the values I wish to uphold: people who possess direction and an understanding of their dharma.

Favourite meal?  J-BAY Smoothie Bowl from Nalu Bowlin Bali: Peanut butter, banana, honey, coconut milk.

Favourite drink?  LOVE Smoothie from Jevamuktea Cafe - NYC: Medjool dates, banana, kale, spirulina powder, & almond milk.

Favourite book?  The Alchemist. I continually find myself re-reading this book in times of discontentment, uncertainty and self-doubt. Turning those pages, I feel as though the book and I have a deep connection. It provides me with succinct words of comfort in times where I am in need of some direction.

Is there anything you preach but don’t practice?  I definitely struggle with practicing self-love and acceptance, but am constantly driven to offer this to others. I experience the urge to remind people to ‘slow down’, having been on the constant receiving end of injuries following the urge to exceed my own limits and self-expectations.

Ok, let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it?  Enjoying a lifestyle of travel, graphic design and playful movement didn’t seem to satisfy me completely. There was this empty space in my life. I had absolutely no previous experience with yoga but heard enough about it to be interested, when an opportunity arose to complete a yoga teacher training in Thailand. Always excited for new physical challenges, I jumped for it. However, throughout the training, I quickly came to the realisation that yoga offers far more than physical challenges and benefits. That experience was extremely humbling in many ways; I was able to learn a lot about myself and feel the safety of a true community. It motivated me to bring yoga into my life permanently, and it has become a life practice for me.

What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing?  Letting go. Letting go of ego, expectation and control. My Ashtanga teacher training was, in actual fact, the very first yoga practice of my life. I entered my training with a lot of mental conditioning. This resulted in a shoulder injury, preventing me from taking part in the physical aspect of an entire week of the training. A further two weeks in, I was sat on the sidelines. Ironically, this experience proved to be one of the most beneficial and humbling experiences I could have ever wished for.

Why do you keep coming back?  Since developing a solid yoga practice, I seem to be on a consistent path to resolution and balance. Stepping onto my yoga mat is my check-in place - it’s a place for self-discovery and direction. As Matthew Remski simply puts it in ‘Threads of Yoga’: “Yoga is found in the resolution of consiousness”.

What would make you skip practice?  Self-doubt. I find myself constantly questioning why I practice and sometimes this can get the better of me.

Do you teach? What’s it like?  Yes. Teaching provides me with fulfilment - fulfilment of both myself and of others. Through structure, breath and playfulness, my classes are an opportunity for students to connect to their true and present selves.

Other than yoga, what keeps you busy?  As well as being a yoga teacher, I am also a freelance graphic designer. I carry my laptop all over the world, specialising in brand identity and logo design. 

What advice would you give to someone stepping onto the mat for the first time?  Keep stepping onto the mat.

Tell us about a time your yoga practice came into play off the mat?  Every single day. I find general life obstacles far more difficult to overcome ifI don’t practice daily. The most relevant example would be my decision to leave the corporate design world around two years ago. Upon this decision, yoga helped me realise that I didn’t have to give up my passion for design - I simply had to find a balance.

What does the BOYS OF YOGA project mean to you?  I see this project as an opportunity to reach out to boys and men, promoting the understanding that yoga is a simple and strong foundation for life - and not gender-specific. It’s a chance to work within a team of like-minded and passionate people, fuelling a project we all feel very strongly about.

What’s your favourite pose? Why?  Handstand. Because they make me happy. They give me a feeling of liberation and freedom, boosting both my self-control and self-confidence.

What pose do you fucking hate? Why?  Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose). I find I lack in hamstring flexibility, resulting in instability. This creates an immediate sense of awkwardness within my practice and also encourages self-doubt.

Yoga is…  the practice of love and kindness.

Your quote or mantra:  Love yourself.

Interviewed:  January 18th,  2016

Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA Ltd.