Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Russell Herbert Jack, and I am a yoga instructor and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. I am into spirituality, veganism, and protecting animal rights. I specialize in helping people connect their bodies and minds through practices such as Yoga, Qigong, and mindfulness.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
My career and business wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t realize that I needed to drop out of school early enough. I studied environmental sciences at the University of Otago for a year but soon realized that I felt more energized when learning and practicing yoga and meditation. Many of my friends and family members asked me if they could join my class even though I never advertised it. I intuitively knew that this was the right path for me, and I am glad I took it.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
I’ve taught yoga for a very long time now but only recently started sharing my knowledge with audiences from all over the world via the internet. I consider it a mistake, but I am grateful I have an opportunity to do it now.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
I see that the interest in yoga, mindfulness, and spirituality is growing exponentially. Many people turn towards work out solutions that don’t require gym attendance; they turn to mindfulness to help them manage their increasingly stressful lives. I think this trend will remain and continue to expand. Practices like Qigong and Tai Chi will grow in popularity as well. I believe that more and more people will turn inward and establish balance in their lives.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Skipping the basics and seeking enlightenment, as I call it. In both yoga and meditation, it can be challenging to know when to practice the basic asanas or breathing techniques, and when is the time to advance. It is very individualized, and I always recommend that my clients lean towards over practicing the basics rather than under practicing them. Everyone wants to learn how to a headstand, but it’s not what yoga is about. Learning the fundamentals and practicing them consistently is what I like to focus on with my clients, and when they are ready – we move on to the next learning phase.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I’ve been vegan for quite a while, but I’ve also had a sweet tooth since childhood. I recently started to manage my sugar intake and became better at saying no to sugary treats.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
If you are an entrepreneur, read “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. It’s one of my favorites books on business. If you want to advance spiritually, I recommend “You are here” by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a great mindfulness teacher; every single one of his books is full of wisdom.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
You’ve already arrived – you persevered and graduated. Relax and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Many recent graduates feel like they have to start a business straight away, or get married and buy a house. Don’t rush – you still have so much time ahead of you. Your twenties are the time to explore and learn yourself.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
I really like “There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way” By Thich Nhat Hanh. Happiness is always within us and is not dependent on our achievements, income, status, etc. Learn to wake up with a smile on your face and gratitude in your heart and go to bed in the same state.
Please reach out through my website: russelljacksouthland.com.