We spoke to Jessica Skye: Ministry of Sound DJ, Nike Trainer and Fat Buddha Yoga founder
Is there anything she can’t do
Three years ago, Jessica Skye set up Fat Buddha Yoga: a non-pretentious, non-hippie dippy fitness class that combines yoga with music.
She tells us it’s for everyone – including people who don’t think yoga is “for me”, and she tailors playlists for each class. It’s held in nightclub basements, on sunny rooftops and in five star hotels. It’s now one of the most popular yoga classes in London.
She’s also a contributor for Women’s Health, a DJ for Ministry of Sound, the Soho House group and an NTC Trainer for Nike. She’s got 7,214 Instagram followers and 1,1187 on Twitter.
When did you start Fat Buddha Yoga?
I started up Fat Buddha Yoga in May 2013. It began as a weekly morning class at Google Campus and has grown organically since then. It was a side, passion project that has become my full-time job.
There’s a lot of yoga around, but you’ve done something really unique.
I wanted to create something different to what was around at the time. I love yoga and I love music so wanted to find a way to combine the two. I’d already decided I was going to run pop-ups before I was teaching, and that I wanted to keep them affordable and accessible, and to create something fun.
What makes Fat Buddha Yoga different from other classes?
It’s designed to be a modern approach to the ancient art and science of yoga for the next generation of urban yogis. It’s aimed to appeal to everyone – especially the ones who think yoga isn’t for them and is a bunch of breathing and ohm-ing.
The approach is laid back, non-pretentious, non-hippie. FBY pops up in a range of places and holds regular residencies that change seasonally – from sunny rooftops to nightclub basements. Lighting, scenery and the soundtracks set the vibe.
Tell me a bit about your classes.
There are six different class types.
- Yoga Virgins- clue is in the title
- Release – for the runners, gym bunnies and stress-meisters
- NRG – energising rooftop sessions
- Fire – fast-paced, strong class
- Yinngyang – a mix of Yin and Yang with elements of Qi Gong
- The Sunday Rehab – a Sunday detox flow class
The classes last between 60 and 75 minutes and the group is a mixed bag; mostly 25-35 year olds. People come both solo and in a crew, especially at the weekends.
Is it mainly women?
I’d say the classes are 70 per cent female, but that is steadily changing as more men are starting to do yoga.
What do you think of the rise of healthy living in London?
I think it’s a booming industry. It’s great that it’s become mainstream, as it’s bringing a next level of awareness to fitness, diet and lifestyle. There is so much choice and people are now more informed on how to live healthily. I love all the outfits that are now on the shelves. Especially since it’s all I ever wear these days.
How long have you been DJing for?
I started playing at Shoreditch House quite early on. I think this September might be four years. I’ve had numerous residencies, but the Soho House Group is by far the longest. I signed with Ministry of Sound around 18 months ago.
How did your job as a trainer at Nike come around?
Nike got in touch a little under a year after I set up Fat Buddha Yoga. It was a dream come true as they were my first choice of brand to work with.
What do you think the next trend is for sports classes?
I have absolutely no idea! I’m more interested in fitness which keeps you healthy and alive for longer – as opposed to making you exhausted and burned out. I think the fitness and wellness industries are leaning towards regimes which cross over with other disciplines – blurring the lines as opposed to pigeon-holed workouts.
What about sportswear trends?
In terms of sportswear, I’m loving the increase in items you can wear in the studio or gym but can also get away with wearing out.
Talk me through your daily routine.
Some days I’m up at 5:30/6am to teach early classes or see private clients. I have corporate sessions in the mornings and lunchtimes and usually have FBY in the evenings. I’ll have meetings back-to-back some days, other days things may be quieter and I get to work from home. Some days I’ll go straight from yoga sessions to DJ gigs.
In the morning, I tend to have a hearty smoothie with fruit oats, almond or rice milk with a plant protein powder. I’ll eat lunch on the go. I tend to work from cafes or restaurants during the day. In the evening I usually get home late – at 9 or 10pm. So it’s a quick shower, dinner with my boyfriend and straight to bed.
Have you always lived in London?
No I moved to London for university around eight years ago.
Do you have any hobbies?
Boardsports, watersports, hunting for music, visiting cool cafes, bars and restaurants (I’m a foodie) and sleeping.
What are your favourite places to go out in London? Your favourite place to go for food, and to go shopping?
I’ve lived in East London the whole time I’ve been here and I love it. Soho has grown on me a lot recently. I love all of the little restaurants.
How do you get the motivation to keep so busy all the time?
I have a goal and have to remind myself what it is I’m trying to achieve every time I get tired or distracted.
What are your plans for the future – will you be doing any pop-ups at any festivals this year?
I have so many plans for Fat Buddha Yoga… you’ll have to watch this space. I’ve got a trip coming up in Italy that I’m really looking forward to. I’ll also be going to Ibiza at some point – I go every year. And a girls’ holiday in the diary for the end of summer. I love festivals – but I don’t currently have any in the diary. I tend to jump in at the last minute.