Self-discipline is an act of self-love...

Jovan Tevin

500 hours. That’s the amount of time that Jovan Tevin spent in Thailand completing his yoga instructor training, committing himself to one of the hardest disciplines of yoga, Ashtanga. It’s the physical nature of the practice that can force people to spend months to years on just one of the six challenging series, but Jovan’s mantra is clear:

“Self-discipline is an act of self-love.”

As a teacher, Jovan is known for making up his flow on the spot, reading the energy of the room and focusing on how he wants his students to feel walking out. As a practitioner, keeping his mind, body and spirit seamlessly connected is what led him to yoga in the first place. And as a Gay Black and Hispanic man, it’s Jovan’s resilience that is the foundation of his strength to keep going forward. 

Working with Jovan on our newest apparel collection, we squeezed in a quick Q&A about how yoga has changed his outlook on life. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what drew you to yoga? 

Yeah, so I guess initially my background came from gymnastics and then competitive all-star cheerleading. The idea of perfectionism is just being drilled into you constantly. You’re constantly being asked to literally be perfect and do things correctly to the point where you start to identify with this fantasy. Because perfection is something that just doesn’t exist. But it really took me time to find my yoga practice and then dive into the practice of meditation to understand that perfection is now. Perfection is the moment. And to no longer try to create a scenario that you don’t need to. It only leads to expectations, expectations lead to feeling overwhelmed, and then you’re suddenly burned out because you are chasing this non-existent idea of perfection. It’s only important to understand that perfection is now. And if we can bring ourselves into the present moment, that is what we are doing. Being our authentic self in the moment. That’s perfection.

How does yoga affect your confidence?

I feel like the source of my confidence definitely comes from my practice. It allows me to really see myself in a vulnerable state. Once I understand that I’m feeling vulnerable, then I go through this process of “Oh, I’m actually capable. I actually have this potential. I understand that I have this fear, but this fear doesn’t need to control me. I can combat it.”

My yoga practice really supports that entirely. I’m allowed to exude confidence when I’m no longer on the mat and interacting with the world.

What is one of the core foundations of your yoga practice? 

I think going back into how my yoga practice supports who I am, in general, especially the breathing aspect of practicing yoga. That’s the most natural thing you can do. When you’re finally breathing and then when you go out in nature, breathing with nature, you feel this deep connectedness with the earth. That’s the support system you need to do whatever you want, whether it’s something you’re afraid of or something you thought you’d never do. It gives you the capacity to go into that void. Into that unknown space.

What does “Stitched Different” mean to you? 

For me, “Stitched Different” just feels like we’re no longer trying to be perfect. I think that a normal stitch is very linear. We have an exact image of that in our minds. Saying “Stitched Different” allows me to find the perfection within imperfection.

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Stance x Jovan