Jonathan has a mélange of jobs that appeared on his path before he finally found his calling as a yoga teacher: civil servant, recruitment specialist, actor, the cosmetics counter at Estée Lauder, and making smoothies! His story is a testament that life can be a meandering, curvy and bump path; no matter how many detours life takes, if you pay attention to the signs and listen internally, you will discover your true path.
Jonathan grew up in Norfolk, and had a conventional upbringing. His father passed away when he was young, but he and his brother and mum formed a tight bond which continued into his adulthood. He went off to university to study Law, though he was more keen to study English and Drama. After studying law for a year without passion, he moved to London. Once there, he became a civil service government worker, studying drama and singing on the side.
While Jonathan was working for the government, he began learning about Buddhism and meditation, attending classes and lectures. It sparked an interest in him and resonated with some of the experiences he had had with psychics and mediums growing up. After six years as a civil servant, he left and went into recruitment. The work didn’t suit him, so he enroled to Drama School full-time, working part-time at the cosmetics counter at Estée Lauder.
Jonathan’s dream was to attend the Lee Strasberg Studio in California, but a relationship in Spain postponed those plans. Meanwhile, yoga became a mainstay in his life; an activity he kept returning to in the background of his life. His extra-curricular learning continued, and he studied kabbalah, meta-physics, and astrology. To make a living, he began working a smoothie stall at a famous London market.
When his relationship ended, he spent months in Barcelona regrouping. Upon his return to London, he decided to focus his energies into becoming a TV presenter. As he contemplated finding a job whilst looking for presenting work, a friend suggested he become a yoga teacher. His heart cried out ‘Yes Yes Yes’, but his head said ‘No No No’. He followed his heart.
Through a friend of a friend, he found the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. There was an upcoming teacher training in six weeks, but he didn’t have the money. He rang his mum, whom lent him money for the flight. He ransacked his flat, looking for money for the training. He discovered an envelope left in his desk drawer that somehow contained the £1,500 he needed. He was off to the Bahamas.
Weeks later, he was on a boat going to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and a voice in his head muttered “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” As soon as he arrived, he knew this would be the best thing he had ever done. It was indeed the single most life-changing experience he’d had. The training was incredibly hard, but he knew he was on the right path, and felt deeply connected to the energy around him.
When Jonathan returned to London, he was ill for months, letting various toxins leave his body and integrating the new systems he had learned. When he recovered, he needed work, so he went back to the market and the smoothie stall. His first day back, he could tell that something was amiss. He took off his apron at the end of the day and never went back; with no money and no job, he couldn’t see the next step.
There’s a gym near Jonathan’s home, and the following day, he walked in and asked if they had any openings. It turned out that the yoga teacher had walked out last week, and they needed a teacher immediately. The manager asked him for a 15-minute demonstration and following that, asked him what day he’d like to start. It was the greatest lesson he could have learned: when you let go, and allow yourself to be led, doors open.
Jonathan began covering for other yoga teachers, and he developed a reputation as a reliable, well-rounded teacher. Through his contacts, he was put in touch with Conrad Paul at Yoga Professionals. Conrad wanted him to begin teaching other teacher-trainers, and he consequently trained Jonathan for a year. Yoga Professionals joined with the YMCA, and shortly thereafter, Conrad designated Jonathan the lead teacher. One year later, he became the lead director and he’s been directing courses for the YMCA since 2014.
Jonathan is clear that this is the beginning of his yoga journey. For him, it feels like there’s always something spiritual, mental and physical to discover and uncover. That’s one tenet Jonathan is happy to pass along to his students.