We were honored to have fitness guru Jessica Corbin at the Ranch as a guest yoga instructor recently. Jessica has a unique background in media and television as well as fitness and wellness. You may have seen her on TV interviewing celebrities or with Leo Laporte on Tech TV. Now she is launching her new fitness product, Vitness Rx, a smart phone app that helps you regulate your daily exercise routines. Jessica was kind enough to tell us her story regarding how fitness, yoga and wellness has changed her life and how it can benefit ours as well.
Kate Bello: First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I really enjoyed your yoga class at the Ranch, what a great workout!
Jessica Corbin: You are so welcome! It is a complete honor to teach at Rancho La Puerta, and it was lovely having you in class.
KB: When did you first become interested in yoga?
JC: I became interested in yoga when I was competing for UCLA’s cross-country team. Some weeks we would have to run 60-80 miles, a training rigor that is really hard to sustain. I was plagued with injury after injury. Literally, I would spend 3 hours in the training room doing rehab work daily, trying to heal my body. Eventually it was advised that I get a 3-part knee surgery to remedy my issues. It was that prognosis that led me to the awareness that I did not want to be a professional runner, and I decided to end my competitive career. Once I stopped formally training, I began exploring different ways to workout that didn’t inflame my body. Rest, yoga and various other martial arts ended up being my saving grace from surgery and chronic pain.
KB: What was the turning point when you decided you wanted to pursue a career in yoga as well as Thai Yoga Massage, Tat Wong Kung Fu Yellow Belt and personal training?
JC: In a way, I have been following both career paths simultaneously for 14 years. I had aspirations to be a TV host, but there are times when I was in between gigs. Most people that pursue a career doing “on camera” work have a waiter/waitressing job when in between media gigs. Being that I had a background in athletics, I got my personal trainer certification and would train clients in between media gigs. However, there came a point when my own health was suffering because I was burning the candle at both ends all the time for years on end. As my own health declined, and I came down with Adrenal Fatigue, I became increasingly aware that a holistic approach, not only to fitness, but life in general, was my new priority. From that realization on, I decided to follow a career in wellness full-time.
KB: Do you have any advice for our readers who are also interested in becoming certified in yoga? What is the process and what was your experience?
JC: I got my yoga certification after practicing for 10 years. I got certified before I even knew I wanted to be a teacher. What I was looking for at the time was an experience that would help me deepen my practice in a way that simply going to class a few times a week couldn’t give me. I chose to get my certification through a teacher named Dharma Mittra. I did the 200-hour teacher training that lasted a couple weeks, and it is geared more towards the classical “self realization” aspects to the yoga practice including the ethical rules, meditation, pranyama, and mantra. As far as “advice” for readers, I would say listen to your gut. This practice has a tremendous capacity to clear out the static, so you can hear your intuition, your Higher Self speaking to you loud and clear. So keep practicing whether it is in class, home practice, with a video, etc… and pay attention for those intuitive hints that signal when you should jump in to a teacher training.
KB: You have an extraordinary background in film, video production and television hosting. Tell us a little bit about that time in your life.
JC: Calling my career life “extraordinary” is being very generous. But in one sense, that time in my life was like living in an alternate universe. I had watched celebrities on TV and movie screens for many years, and now I am sitting across from them in person asking them questions, laughing with them, partying with them. Much of it was like a dream sequence.
KB: You also worked with Leo Laporte on Tech TV, who I love! You’ve also been on panels for The View, Larry King, CNN as well as interviewing a slew of A-list celebrities. What were those experiences like, and are you still involved in television hosting today?
JC: I love Leo too. To be honest, my fondest moments in my TV career to date were the early ones at TechTV. It was my first job out of college; I had so much energy, aspiration, and motivation to learn how to create good content. It was a start-up company during the tech boom in San Francisco, so the money was flowing, many friendships were growing. It was the best! Being a featured panelist on The View, CNN, Larry King Live was an absolute honor to say the least. I still remember the day I opened my email and saw Barbara Walters’ name in my inbox inviting me to come co-host. A peak experience for sure.
KB: It seems you are mainly involved in fitness currently. How did you make the jump from media to fitness and more importantly, why?
JC: I am following fitness more than media at this time and that is because my experience with media has been a varied one. It was super exciting and fun, and gave me some awesome stories. But, it is like cotton candy for the soul. First bite tastes good, too much gives you a soul ache. I wanted to be a TV host very badly. I set my mind to it, took the necessary steps, and attained some amazing gigs. But, life threw a curve ball at me and my family pretty early on in my TV career. That curve ball being when my brother Ryan fell 3 stories onto concrete that left him with a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for months, and his rehabilitation is a lifelong process. As I watched my incredible brother grapple for his life for months on end, it brought me to my knees and left me with more questions than answers for a very long time. Doing entertainment coverage for fun networks like E!, and a show for The Style Network lost a little bit of meaning and sense of accomplishment because I had some other more important and critical things on my mind. For many years I could feel my heart wasn’t into being an on camera talent. I felt like I was more of a persona, than a person. I needed to take time away, discover what was important to me. After taking a sabbatical very akin to Eat, Pray, Love (so cliché, but true) I came back and had a vision for how to incorporate all my passions into a company that I felt had more inherent value.
KB: You’re also in the process of developing a smartphone app that monitors our heart rates, so we know when the best times to work out are and also when to de-stress. Can you tell us a little more about the app and when it will be available?
JC: Yes! The product is called Vitness Rx (short for vitality based fitness) it truly is a culmination of my journey thus far. Fitness, media and tech innovation all wrapped into one. Like many people, I was leading a very stressful life for many years and one of the best ways I found to help me de-stress was to go to acupuncture. When at the acupuncturist’s office, he would assess my pulse and then tell me how I should work out. Sometimes he would say, “Your pulse is wiry, do yin yoga.” Other times he would say, “Your chi is strong, you can run tomorrow.” I found this to be fascinating and began to wonder how I might be able to do this for myself. At that point a seed was planted, and an inspiration was born. I wanted to create a piece of technology that could assess people’s pulse and give them workout recommendations that would keep their body in balance. I found a bio-marker from a western perspective called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which is a window into your nervous system and tells you how stressed you are on any given day. With this information, the app prescribes fitness prescriptions that allow you to attain optimal results without over-stressing the body. Depending on Apple’s approval, we should be launched on the iPhone/iPod/iPad sometime in October. More information can be found at www.VitnessRx.com.
KB: You’ve had so many incredible accomplishments in your life so far, what are your goals currently?
JC: My current goal is to get Vitness Rx into as many people’s hands as possible. I believe in this product with every cell in my body and know it can help people foster a more holistic approach in their fitness and their life.
KB: What are three essential tips that you could give our readers in the area of wellness and fitness?
JC: 1. Honor your body: Spend time checking in with your energy on a daily basis. Workout in a way that is therapeutic, rather than abusive.
2. Move your body: Try to move your body everyday. You don’t need to sweat everyday. But definitely be mindful of circulating fresh oxygen and blood throughout the body whether it is through walking, range of motion exercises, or gentle stretching. Taking a little time to do this will help to increase your vitality immensely.
3. Love your body: No matter where you are at in your health & fitness goals, send that beautiful body of your’s some L.O.V.E. The chemicals your excrete through self-love and care will help your metabolism and speed up the process.
KB: Being the granddaughter of Pat Boone and the niece of Debby Boone, how has your family inspired you in terms of your career and other aspects of your life?
JC: I come from a family of dreamers. If I have gleaned anything from my family it is, “if you believe, you can achieve.”
KB: What have been your favorite experiences at Rancho La Puerta?
JC: There is so much I love about Rancho La Puerta. If there is one thing that I could identify it is “the container” it gives me to leave the busy-ness of daily life behind and to settle in to an environment, pace, and energy of health and healing. It is magical, and I am very grateful to have found it.
KB: Thank you so much for teaching at the Ranch and doing this interview. We hope to see you again soon!
JC: Thank you for your interest! Hope to see you soon as well.