- Jess wears Nike
- Words Cal McIntyre
The founder of Fat Buddha Yoga and DJ, Jess Skye is all about blending her selects with her nonpretentious Yoga classes to make the mind, body, soul and ears feel at peace. We got to grips with the mindful master to get some zen in our lives.
In an age where mindfulness has become an almost trend that can be monetized, Jess Skye has been keeping it real for six years with her Fat Buddha yoga classes.
Created to carefully blend her selected tracks with her classes, Jess Skye wanted to remove the sense of entitlement, or the feeling of ‘not being good enough’, out of yoga. Proving that everyone can do it, all the while listening to music you wouldn’t necessarily hear at a yoga class. Approved for the 21st Century, Jess’s mission is to simply to make people feel good. Something we can all get behind.
We wanted to find out more about Skye’s journey so far, what 10trax she is playing right now, and where she is planning on going. See you on the yoga mat.
"At The River" by Groove Armada
Describe yourself in a few sentences.
I’m a business owner, music maker and life lover based in London. I’m all about enjoying life, and I strongly believe there’s no point in doing anything if it doesn’t serve you or help you to live the fullest, happiest and healthiest life.
My mantra: Buy the ticket, take the ride!
"Les Nuits" by Nightmares on Wax
What is Fat Buddha Yoga and how do you see it differing from other yoga classes (also how do we join)?
Fat Buddha Yoga was launched in 2013, and exists as a modern approach to the ancient art and science of yoga for the next generation of urban yogis.
It operates as a series of weekly and monthly residencies in London; ranging from sunny rooftops, panoramic skyscrapers, iconic nightclubs and some of London’s best hotels. Music is a huge part of the experience, as is the setting.
We also run bigger scale events, such as pop-ups at festivals and run clubs. We offer corporate wellness, surf trips and retreats worldwide.
"Gabriel" by Roy Davis Jr
What makes you different?
We were one of the first in London to take the approach of turning up in unusual spots (nightclubs, basements, power stations, art galleries, and aquariums… You name it!).
We created tailor-made playlists and mixes to sync with the classes to add an extra dimension to the practise – it really gets people into the zone.
Our main objective was keeping it fun and light, and steering away from the yoga stereotype – creating a space that everyone feels welcome and comfortable in. I totally get the elements that can put people off trying a class, so our mission has been to approach yoga in a way that makes everyone wants to come and see what it’s about, with the aim of them to leave feeling better than when they arrived … And hopefully, come back for more.
"Sincere" by MJ Cole
You lead a busy life. How do you find time to balance both yoga and music?
I get asked this a lot. In all honesty it’s a constant effort. Time management is key – I’m always writing lists and plans to organise my work flow, so I meet deadlines and feel prepped for what I have coming up. No matter how organised you are, curve balls still get served, laptops die, trains get cancelled, the internet goes down, meetings get pushed back, so that plan you made will need to be tweaked on the fly.
I keep my foot to the floor most of the time to stay on top. I also do my best to switch off and take a break when I need it. It’s so easy to feel guilty about taking some downtime when you work for yourself… But it’s a must to avoid burn out.
While short-term balance can tail off, there is a sense of equilibrium throughout the year. For instance, yoga is super busy from mid January until early winter when we slow down for Christmas and New Year. Music is pretty consistent throughout the year, but it picks up in early winter as we enter the party season, then slows down in January while everyone focuses on health and wellness again. Summer is a peak time for both yoga and music so it definitely keeps me busy.
"Matadora (Medina RMX)" by Sofi Tukker
How important is regularly training for you, and what do you like to do?
Training is vital for both my physical health and sanity. I love yoga because it was my first experience of mindfulness, feeling in tune with my mind and body. I love the movement and the balance between building strength and gaining flexibility. I loved what it did for my body, but honestly, it’s made me a much happier and mindful person.
In life you need three things to be happy:
- Stability – Structure and purpose.
- Progress – A sense of achievement and moving forward.
- Connectivity – Social interaction and community.
When any one of these things falls off, it makes us unhappy even if the other two points are in order. I strongly believe that training offers all of these things, and as well as keeping us physically fit, it helps us to stay mentally strong and HAPPY.
My journey with Nike has shown the positive impact training has on those around me. In London, there can be so many barriers to entry when it comes to fitness (the weather, the price point, access to facilities). Nike has identified this too and has put many initiatives in place to facilitate people getting out there and discovering the incredible impact training can have on their life. It supports fitness communities with equipment, offers access to facilities, and empowers groups and individuals who are looking to build fitness communities to reach their full potential. It’s been a real honour to be a part of these projects and share people’s training journeys with Nike.
"Bakerboy" by Gunjah
Tell us more about your affiliation with music… What are you currently working on?
I’ve been DJing for seven years (which is scary) and playing with production for perhaps the last four/five years, but I haven’t been as focused on it because Fat Buddha Yoga has been the front runner.
Fat Buddha Yoga also has Fat Buddha Music on Soundcloud and Spotify which is where you’ll find all of our playlists and mixes from our sessions.
Last year I made the decision to channel more energy into music. It’s such a huge passion for me, and I’ve got so much more of myself to give in music. I had my first release in March this year on Marshall Jefferson’s label Freakin909. I’ve got a couple of other tracks in the pipeline for this year and a killer remix due out early 2020.
"Celeste" by BICEP
Both producing/DJing and yoga can be seen as quite daunting for those who haven’t tried. What do you think is the best way to start?
You have to just get stuck in. Invest as much time as you can, sit in with friends or mentors who can show you the ropes. Play, experiment, and get a feel for what you like. The most important thing is to enjoy the process of learning because you won’t stop – use it as a creative outlet and, most importantly, have fun!
"Useless (Kruder & Dorfmeister Session RMx)" by Depeche Mode
…And if you had to choose between the two?
Both aspects of what I do, yoga and music, are my passions, and even though the two may seem like conflicting or opposing career paths, there’s also a lot of parallels and synergies between them.
They both involve creating a space and vibe for people to let their hair down, and they both involve me reading a crowd and getting a feel for the energy in the room. I then use the tools I have to deliver what I sense the crowd want and at the same time lead and steer the session. They both bring a room of people together, and after a really good gig or yoga session, the energy in the room is palpable and electric… It’s the most incredible feeling.
It would be impossible to choose between the two!
"The Temple of I & I" by Thievery Corporation
Any 2019 plans we should know about?
Festival season is also looking awesome for both music and Fat Buddha Yoga with Parklife, Berlin and Lovebox on the cards, not to mention some Ibiza plans are cooking too, and a string of events and retreats. Most exciting – we’ve just had a monthly pop-up at Nike Town LDN in June!