JARED & THE CREATION OF EV/CO
From corporate consultant to traveling health coach
WHAT I BELIEVE
I believe that our highest potential is discovered through movement, mindfulness, and self-discovery. I was able to discover this at a young age, thanks to some early struggles, my loving parents, some brilliant teachers, and the good people I’ve met around the globe. The journey has immersed me in the practices of movement and mindfulness, allowing me to evolve and thrive at a rate that would not have been possible without the support of everyone I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with.
EARLY LIFE IN CANADA
As a young boy living outside Toronto, Canada, I watched my father sacrifice his mental rest and time with family to advance his career and provide for our family. He taught me to lift weights when I was 12. I would often get up at 5 am to spend more time with him and workout together in our basement. That is how I discovered my 1st passion; Movement.
As an early teen, I struggled with anxiety. I thought that if I were to become as successful as my father, I would have to sacrifice my mental rest as he had. When the panic attacks set in, my parents got me help from a mental health professional. He taught me breathing and meditation techniques. Eventually, the panic attacks subsided, and I discovered my 2nd passion; Mindfulness.
As the years went on my physical and mental practices began to merge. I began feeling the damage I had done to my body and mind through ego-driven workouts, emotional attachments, and overthinking. I began practicing yoga postures to open my body so I could sit comfortably for meditation and regain the mobility I had lost from constantly sitting at a desk and excessive weight lifting with poor technique. I become more and more aware of myself, in body, mind, and spirit, as my practice deepens.
I continued practicing through my university degree at OCAD University and eventually landed a great job at a large consulting firm. It paid very well, promised opportunities for professional growth, and financial security. It was everything that I had been told I should strive for after university and more. I did an internship, which led to full-time work, and eventually, my first official promotion, which I when I began feeling utterly empty and lost.
It became a constant struggle to maintain all my practices outside of 9-5 hours; journaling, breathwork, meditation, weight lifting, yoga... I was trying to do too many things and began to notice the onset signs of burnout. Worst of all, I couldn’t find a compelling reason to go to work in the morning. I felt like I had no real purpose, that I was only helping the rich get richer, and that I was chasing someone else’s dreams instead of my own. All of this made me very confused about my direction in life, eventually driving me to leave my job and plan a trip to the other side of the world.
There were countless reasons not to leave my job and many fears that nearly stopped me from traveling; The thought of being alone, possibly getting into dangerous situations, losing all my savings and going broke, throwing away years of professional progress, and so much more. I choose to be someone who acts out of love and optimism, not fear. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my new life yet, but I knew it had something to do with movement & mindfulness. A month after quitting I got on a plane to Koh Samui, Thailand.
TRAVELING ALONE & BECOMING A COACH
“The mountains are calling and I must go and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.”
- John Muir
I discovered my self-confidence while socializing and exploring Thailand. From there, I flew to India to train as a yoga teacher. I studied Hatha and Ashtanga yoga at a school in Rishikesh (The Rishikesh Yoga Teacher Training Center), a holy city in the foothills of the Himalayas. My practice deepened as I discovered a sense of true Self. Until my yoga teacher training, I had not yet fully understood the holistic nature of wellness and the connection between movement and mindfulness practices. I didn't need to practice all these separate things (breathwork, meditation, weight lifting, yoga) they are all one practice; Movement. I also learned that body, mind, and spirit are parts of a whole. To effectively care for one is to care for all.
I continued traveling. visiting several other locations in South-East Asia and eventually returning to Koh Samui, the only other place I’ve ever called home outside Canada. I spent my days studying for my personal trainer's license by the beach. I began teaching a variety of classes and coaching one-to-one clients at my favourite gym. I also spent some time studying Buddhist philosophy in meditation retreats. It was in Koh Samui I began to solidify a vision for myself. I discovered that a unique combination of movement and mindfulness skills plus a background in business and design set me up for success. I could work as a traveling coach and entrepreneur.
The practice of movement and mindfulness has taught me that the only thing we need to live to our fullest potential and to be our most wholesome selves, is to become aware of the abilities of our unique bodies and minds. Humans are truly the greatest movers on the planet. The variety of things we can do with our body-mind is unmatched by any other living thing we know of. That is an incredible gift. Something we can all be grateful for.
COVID-19 & THE CREATION OF EV/CO
I returned home near the end of 2019 for what I intended to be only a few months. I began working as a personal trainer and yoga teacher out of a couple gyms in my hometown. In March of 2020, the gym and much of the world closed down. Times were very difficult. The lockdown was a major challenge for everyone’s mental and physical health, including my own. However, I had my toolkit; knowledge and skills of movement and mindfulness. I knew I could keep myself in great physical and mental shape anywhere, anytime, and I had the opportunity to teach others how to do this too.
EV/CO started as a free database of exercise tutorials I had created for Instagram. I uploaded all the videos I had (about 80 at first) to YouTube and linked them to a spreadsheet that I embedded on my website. Over 100 people signed up in the first month.
I realized this content would be very helpful, and COVID-19 wasn’t going anywhere soon, so I kept the content growing. I started learning how to produce better content, create a better coaching experience online, teach classes over Zoom, and keep the platform evolving as we did.
It is the greatest joy to watch this platform, and our community (and soon other coaches!) evolve collectively. I hope it provides you with a deep sense of purpose, gratitude, and potential. It certainly does for me.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of observing my body, mind, and life evolve as they have been molded by the practices of movement and mindfulness. Most days, I practice mindfulness in the morning. I work (and play) happily with students throughout the day. In the evenings I practice movement and teach my body new skills. These practices have permeated into every aspect of my life, keeping me healthy, and happy. If it were not for my parents, my teachers, my friends, and YOU, I would not have the joy of doing what I love every day and this platform would not exist. Because of you, I get to live out my chosen purpose:
I am (and we are) a catalyst for collective evolution by exploring and sharing the practice of
movement, mindfulness, and Self-discovery.
WHAT IS COLLECTIVE EVOLUTION?
Since I completed my yoga teaching training in 2018, I've been writing this mission statement in a journal (nearly) every morning. To me, it means profound things on different levels:
Biologically, it means to be fit for our environment. It means adapting to the challenges of life and growing stronger through these challenges. It's about aligning with the ecological patterns that Darwin first revealed to us.
To be human is an epic opportunity because on some level we understand and can take advantage of these patterns; the processes of evolution. Today, we know that evolution is not something that takes place only on large scales and over many generations. It also takes place on smaller scales and over the course of just a single lifetime. Our lifestyle choices, habits, thoughts, and environment shape our genetic expressions (epigenetics). These gene expressions, altered through lifestyle and environment, can be passed on from parent to offspring. What we choose to do today will have an impact on the generations that follow.
What we choose to do today will also have an impact on those around us. Make a choice to move more, to share a smile, to say hello, hug a little tighter, love a little more... These little things have ripple effects that spread throughout our families, communities, countries, and the planet.
The combination of these things is what I refer to when I say:
We are all catalysts for collective evolution. It's the highest calling to take responsibility for our actions, to be grateful for the opportunity to be human, and to seek out our highest potential. I hope you will join us.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you well 🌿