We sat down with Jessica Schatz to learn from her about the importance of movement, her holistic lifestyle, and how to live a more joyful life.
Jessica is the creator of The Core Expert™️ Method - Where Science and Spirit Align. She is also a Master Pilates Instructor, Yoga Teacher, Integrative Wellness and Lifestyle Coach, and founder of Body By Jessica® and Champion Pilates™️.
Professionally, she has become known and identified as Jessica Schatz, The Core Expert™. She combines scientific knowledge of the physical core with an intuitive sense of the inner core of each person, and is a frequent contributor to health and fitness publications. She also teaches and speaks at conferences, workshops, on radio, and on TV, and coaches professional athletes and dancers and non-professionals to feel better, function better, and live better. Her work is rooted in an integrative methodology, which emphasizes the mind-body-spirit connection.
We loved getting a glimpse into what Jessica’s daily routine is like, and felt inspired by her dedication to nurture her mind, body, and spirit.
Q: How did you get into the health and wellness field?
I came into this world moving, and I have been ever since. Movement is my life force – the most innate part of my being. It is as elemental and intuitive as breathing – it's what makes my heart beat. Movement has always been my medicine, and it’s what most powerfully unites my body, mind, and spirit.
I studied dance from a very early age under the tutelage of brilliant mentors. While I attended college as a dance major focusing on performance, I also immersed myself in the study of anatomy, biology, kinesiology, and all of the sciences behind my artistic pursuit. I wanted to thoroughly understand movement and how the body functioned. It was an intensive dance program, and I felt fortunate to be a part of it.
At this time I was also absorbing the life-changing principles of Pilates and yoga, gaining enormous benefits for my body and mind. I later began teaching them as my "day job" while I continued to be a professional dancer. Eventually, these things took on a life of their own.
At 30, I had a career-ending knee injury, which was both physically and emotionally traumatic. Being a professional dancer was my identity! I had essentially been living, breathing, and eating dance my entire life. This was an extremely difficult time, as my world had been suddenly shaken to the core. I couldn’t see how I was going to share my gifts with the world without dance. But somehow, I dug deep into myself and found a tiny light that still wanted to shine. I decided to turn my “day job” into my career and do something for others that, at the same time, I needed to do for myself: feel well in body, mind, and spirit.
It became my mission to help as many people as I could to live better lives through optimal health and wellness.
As I found my way to move forward, to self-examine, reinvent, and to ultimately find my larger life’s purpose, I could then find a way to shine my light again - even bigger and brighter. In fact, I believe it is these profoundly painful experiences that allow us to redefine ourselves, and our paths by offering us a different door through which to walk – one we may not have seen otherwise.
Through many years of teaching Pilates, yoga, and other techniques and practices, I continued to study, learn, and teach – biomechanics, nutrition, and other wellness practices. I loved working with athletes and dancers, and even developed a specific program and company dedicated solely to that market. But I soon found how I loved and got so much out of working with so many different kinds of people. I wanted to expand my practice and offer my services to everyone, from the very young, to elders experiencing challenges such as Parkinson's. As a master Instructor and health and wellness coach, it is my passion to guide others – no matter their age, abilities, challenges, and stage in life – towards optimal wellness.
I also spend considerable time writing blogs and articles, speaking at workshops, conferences, and on panels, and developing my growing online subscription based business. My mission in all of these endeavors is to help guide people on their conscious journey toward experiencing the power of true health, in body, mind, and spirit.
Q: What is your morning routine like?
I love this question because one of my coaching modalities is about the power of a conscious morning ritual. How we start the day is the key to setting the tone for the day, and designing a morning that nourishes my body, mind, and spirit creates more vitality, peace, and a greater sense of overall well-being.
Upon waking, I take a handful of long deep breaths to get really tuned in and connected. Next some very gentle light stretch movements, followed by naming some things for which I’m grateful, and setting an intention for the day. I have found that beginning my day with intention allows me to cultivate a greater sense of vitality and offers me the necessary insight and direction to stay on track.
After I drink a lot of water (usually warm water with lemon), I practice mindful meditation with one of my favorite meditation apps. This practice has been a game-changer for me. Starting my day with meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, promotes a greater sense of well-being and increased focus, and helps me face life’s inevitable challenges and experience more joy.
Then I exercise. Whether it’s an hour or 15 minutes, I always move my body in the morning. Depending on how I feel and what I have going on for the day, it’s either Pilates or Yoga (or more often a combination of the two), or Cardio/HITT, and always stretching. Research shows that those who exercise in the morning, are more likely to be successful, more productive, happier, and content.
Basically, when I break down my day it looks like this: I wake up, I meditate, I move, I teach, I write, I read, I study, I create, I connect with people, and do my best to make aligned choices that support my health, well-being, and life’s purpose – not necessarily in that order. Oh and I always make my bed and take my daily GEM!
But keep in mind - there is no one right routine that works for everyone, just like there is no one right diet for everyone. It’s important to design a morning aligned with what feels right and resonates with each individual. Think of it as a sacred time you cultivate that empowers you to move through your day with clarity and intention.
Q: What attracted you to GEM?
One of my favorite mottos is “Just Eat Real Food.” While certain supplements are a part of my (and many others) healthcare regimen, the more we can get our vitamins and nutrients from real food the better. This is one of the many reasons I fell in love with GEM. When I read about it’s inception, philosophy, and story of why it was created, I immediately jumped on board. I too, like the founder Sara Cullen, spent many years tackling digestive issues and other gut challenges. I was inspired by her story as it resonated so deeply, and philosophically we are extremely aligned. And I am always looking to support women entrepreneurs who work hard to bring holistic health to other women. It’s also delicious to eat, easy to digest, and helps me to feel my best!
Q: Do you have advice for people interested in living a more holistic lifestyle?
Everyone is at a different place on their journey. Therefore “more holistic” will vary depending on the individual. But I will say to start simply and be good to yourself. There’s so much information out there, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s also easy to idealize the lives of others. The things we see on Instagram, for instance, might feel unattainable. Of course, it’s great to be inspired, but be careful. We live in a “culture of comparison,” and that can be quite discouraging. Start small. Start simply. Remember how important it is to address the whole self: body, mind, and spirit. Look to nurture that connection. A few ways to start small are to drink an extra glass of water each day, spend a couple minutes writing down a few things for which you're grateful. For a few minutes a day (or more), mindfully focus on your breath. When you’ve been sitting down, stand up and stretch your body. Park farther away, take the stairs. Basically, move more and breathe deeper. And when it comes to food, my golden rule is: if it comes from a plant, eat it; if it’s made in a plant, stay away. And as importantly, notice how you feel. Check in.
Yes, getting into a regular exercise routine, a healthy nutrition program, and a regular meditation practice – all of these are great things that lead to optimal wellness. But if you start small, you'll see and feel the improvement and that will encourage you to do it again, to do it more regularly, and for more time. And remember, the body-mind-spirit connection is at the root of wellness.
What all of this ultimately leads to is the ability to experience more joy. With the freedom of movement, a body that feels better, you're happier. When your breathing is better, you feel happier. When you're thinking more positively and mindfully, you're happier. When your relationships are better, you're happier. When you're following your joy and doing the things that make you feel good, the entire picture improves. When I talk about optimal wellness, here’s what I’m saying: with better health comes more joy – in body, mind, and spirit.