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Meet Trailblazer Jessica Waala

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Waala.

Jessica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Because of my own personal healing journey, I have been called to my deep purpose as a yoga and breathwork teacher, healer, and self-love coach. When I was growing up, everything seemed “perfect” on the outside. Straight-A student. Social butterfly. “Successful” on society’s terms. On the inside, I was trying so hard to maintain this “perfect” image. I was a people pleaser. I was an overachiever. I constantly worried about what others people thought of me and if I was good enough. I always tried to stay positive, be “happy” all the time and stuffed down the not-so-pleasant emotions.

It was not until I discovered yoga, meditation, and Breathwork in college that everything changed. My whole world opened up. I got to find who I was beneath all the expectations. The masks. The B.S. I got to be me. I realized that everything I was looking for in other people — approval, worthiness, and joy — was already within me.

I WOKE UP.

I became so passionate about spirituality, wellness, and helping others find that joy within themselves. After I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in psychology, I co-created Fulfillment Daily, an online magazine on the science of happiness, with my mentor, Emma Seppala.

I went onto work at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), coordinating outreach and events with top authors, spiritual teachers, and researchers on compassion. I also did CCARE’s 8-week Compassion Cultivation Training program. It was an absolute dream to be at Stanford, one of the most beautiful and prestigious universities in the world.

Then, I had my first anxiety attack.

It was during an interview with a potential hire to join our team. We sat around a long table in a conference room. When it came my turn to introduce myself and ask her questions, my mind went blank. My heart was racing. My chest was tight. I could barely get words out. A cloudiness came over me, and I felt like I lost control of my own mind and body. Cue the shame and the embarrassment.

I began working with a spiritual counselor who propelled me to go deeper within myself than I ever had before. With her guidance, I faced my anxiety. I faced my darkness. I faced the childhood wounds I carried with me my whole life. I really sat with my suffering and my deep rooted limiting beliefs. All of it. It was uncomfortable A.F.

But guess what? I got to FEEL it to HEAL it. I got to meet myself with full acceptance and self-love.

This inner transformation opened me up to my purpose.

While assisting yoga and meditation courses for Stanford students, the head teacher encouraged me to lead a yoga class. I thought “Who, me?! I can’t. I’m not ready, even after practicing yoga for years. I’ve never done this before.” I pulled together the wisdom I learned over years of practicing yoga and my own healing. The next day I got up in front of the students and as I started to teach, it felt like something divine was moving through me as I spoke and guided the students through the flow. I felt more alive than I had ever felt in my life. In the end, the students shared how much the class meant to them. That for some of them, it was the most peaceful and calm they had ever felt. That the class was a space for them to just be themselves. (They also asked when and where they could take my next class — little did they know that was my first class ever.)

It all clicked for me then. I was put on this planet to teach and guide others in their healing. It’s one of those things that you don’t just know, but you feel. I feel it in every single cell in my body that this is what I MUST do.

So, I took the next step and dove into Yoga Teacher Training with Elka Haeckel, while working as a social media manager for a digital media start-up. I learned to teach from the heart. I found my unique voice. I explored my gifts as a healer.

I took another dive into Breathwork Healer Training with Danielle Hering. I tuned into my intuition. I learned to facilitate this profoundly healing practice (some of the most profound work I’ve ever experienced). I honed in the art of creating a safe space and releasing “stuck” energy and emotions.

I was teaching more often, landed my first yoga festival gig, and started coaching private clients. I quickly realized that this is not just a side hustle or a passion project. I had to step FULLY into my role as a healer. So, I cut the cords with my stable paycheck, the security of having a “real job,” the prestige of working with top influencers and embraced my true path.

Now, I’ve supported thousands of people through my workshops, classes, Breathwork circles, yoga festivals, and private sessions for Breathwork, yoga, and self-love coaching. I’m hard at work on creating online programs and group coaching to spread the love even farther.

I’ve also co-created The 2.0 Experience with the love of my life, Dr. Cory Ostroot, to take your mind, body, and soul to the next level through workshops, Breathwork, and coaching.

If someone asked me to sum up what I do, I’d said “I crack hearts open to healing for a living. And give big hugs.” It is such a gift to do this work and connect on a deep level with human beings. I witness tears and laughter, breakdowns and breakthroughs, resistance and expansiveness, pain and inner peace, and beautiful transformations. Every day, I am committed to guiding others to self-love, so that together we can heal the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It certainly has not been a smooth road, and I am so grateful for that. Life would not be as beautiful now if I didn’t have the struggles and challenges (and still do!).

One thing people don’t often tell you about when you dive into your personal growth and healing is that it shifts your relationships. You’ll be growing and evolving, and there may be others in your life who are not on this path. You’ll try to involve them, and they may not be interested or think that what you are doing is “weird.” Some people may judge or assume that you’re “better” than them now. As you grow, you let go of what no longer serves you, and sometimes that means letting go of relationships. This is one of the toughest and painful challenges, but remember that every person has a purpose in your life and will teach whatever you need to learn from them.

On a similar note, when you start living out your purpose, there likely will be people who won’t “get it.” They will tell you what they think you “should” do. There will be people who doubt you. Especially if you want to be a healer, a coach, or are on some unconventional career path, people will ask, “That’s actually a thing?” Some people are genuinely curious. Others will project their own fears onto you. No matter what anyone says (even your dear parents!), stay true to who you are. Remember your Why and what lead you to do this work in the first place. Think about all the lives you will touch. Like Mario Forleo always says, “Keep going for your dreams. The world needs that special gift that only YOU have.”

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Jessica Waala – what should we know?
I teach weekly oceanfront yoga classes at Sunset Cliffs on Tuesdays at 5:30 PM and Saturdays at 10 AM that are donation-based. I also co-lead weekly Breathwork Circles with Cory on Thursdays at 6-7 PM at Lorna Jane in La Jolla.

For those that are ready to go deeper, I offer 60-minute private Breathwork healing sessions that can be done virtually or in person. The most powerful healing and breakthroughs I’ve ever witnessed has happened in these sessions. I also offer 75-minute private yoga + meditation sessions that are tailored to your needs and will leave you feeling less stressed, relaxed, and grounded.

For those who want to connect deeply with themselves and with others, I also lead self-love workshops. As co-creator of The 2.0 Experience, I co-lead transformational workshops with my love for the law of attraction, success, happiness, and healing. Many who have experienced our workshops describe them as life-changing. Our next event is our Law of Attraction Workshop on September 29 at 2-6PM at Lorna Jane in La Jolla.

As I mentioned earlier, I am also hard at work creating online programs on self-love and healing. If you want to be the first to know when they are released or about any other offerings, email me or sign up for my mailing list.

What makes my work different is that it’s not about doing fancy yoga poses, sitting in full lotus and blissfully meditating, or throwing around “self-love” like a “fluffy” term. It’s about being real, raw, and vulnerable. It’s about getting uncomfortable. It’s about opening your heart up to every part of you. It’s about uncovering your emotions. It’s about what happens the moment you step off your yoga mat. It’s about what happens after a private session. It’s about taking what you’ve learned and integrating it. It’s about healing your life. I’m here to remind you how.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
When it comes to networking, my #1 tip is to ask the other person, “How can I support you?” It’s a direct and genuine way to show that you care about their work and is much more powerful than saying “Let me know how I can help!” Get involved with their work, whether it’s attending an event or purchasing their service/product. When you focus your attention on giving to others rather than what you can take, you’re much more likely to create a lasting connection, and they, too, will want to support you.

Tied with my #1 tip is to be authentic and REAL. Let’s be honest, people can sense B.S. from a mile away. If you like someone’s work, reach out to them with your honest, heartfelt words. Get curious and ask questions about their story. Make it about them and wonderful they are. Who wouldn’t want to receive a message like that?!

Pricing:

  • [Single session] Private Breathwork Healing: $125
  • [3 sessions] Private Breathwork Healing: $355
  • [5 sessions] Private Breathwork Healing: $575
  • Private Yoga Session: $75 (+ $10/extra person)
  • Group Yoga Class (Corporate, bachelorette party, pre-wedding, fitness events, etc.): Customized pricing

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Kiley Shai Photography, Last Salsero

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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