This Philly-Area Yoga Teacher Is Juggling Virtual Workouts and Her Kids’ Education

Tessa Jenkins, training director and instructor for Bulldog Yoga, is teaching online workouts while overseeing her daughters' virtual schooling.


Tessa Jenkins is the training director and an instructor for Bulldog Yoga. Here’s how she’s been keeping up with teaching while at home. / Photograph courtesy of Tessa Jenkins.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one area resident to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected].

Who I am: Tessa Jenkins (@tessajenkinsyoga), 44

Where I live: Chester Springs

What I do: I am the training director and a yoga instructor at Bulldog Yoga. I’m also a wife and a mom to two daughters.

What role healthy living plays in my life: My first career was as an ICU nurse and I feel I have come full circle as a yoga teacher, assisting others in preventative wellness care. I have a history of cancer in my family, so I take steps living my healthiest life with an active lifestyle and eating well to allow me to be the best version of myself for my family!

Health memberships (and what they cost):

  • Purple Carrot — $72 per week (for three meals)
  • Bulldog Yoga — Free as an instructor

Monday

Jenkins takes an online plank-focused Bulldog Yoga class. / Photograph courtesy of Tessa Jenkins.

6:30 a.m. — Even during quarantine I’m making every effort to get up early and get a workout in before my daughters, Lola (11) and Sloan (8), wake up so I can do something for myself before online school begins for the day. I drink a glass of water and head to the basement to do a 30-minute run on the treadmill while catching up on the news. I actually hate running on a tread, but it’s raining and I need a little cardio to pick me up! I end my workout with a 10-minute plank focused class from Bulldog Yoga online.

7:20 a.m. — Enjoying the first cup of coffee with a splash of coconut milk creamer. I can’t do coffee without the creamer. It’s a guilty pleasure! I catch up on some emails while I sip.

8:30 a.m. — Footsteps are slowly starting from upstairs and I make my kids a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana smoothie. Set the girls up for online classes, Zoom codes, print off materials, etc. I am an educator liaison these days, but not very good at it. We’re all doing our best, though.

9:35 a.m. — Head to my makeshift yoga studio (also known as my bedroom) to get ready to teach a power flow format at 9:45 a.m. Now that studios are shuttered, I’ve been teaching virtually on Instagram Live and Zoom in an effort to stay connected with the yoga community. I take voluntary payments for each class and donate 50-percent on a rotation to local charities and support healthcare workers around the region.

9:45 a.m. — Teach (and take) 45-minute power yoga flow. When I am in the studio I don’t take class as I am usually walking in the room, but in this virtual space I am demonstrating the flow I teach to help virtual students if they get lost, so bonus workout for me!

11 a.m. — Return to the kids and help them with the rest of their online school work. Our school teachers are saints!

12:30 p.m. — Staying at home proves a lot more time making meals than pre-COVID did. Kids get bagels and fresh strawberries. I have become very good about using up all our produce and having less waste. I shred some kale and make an avocado and kale salad topped with lime vinaigrette and some crushed tortilla chips!

1:45 p.m. — Work meeting with the managers of Bulldog consists of brainstorming how we can stay connected and serve our communities both online and near our locations. We also begin to work with the management team on our reopening plan, whenever that may be.

3 p.m. — Mentor Zoom meeting with a newer yoga teacher. This connection is everything right now!! PS I have no idea what my kids are doing, but it’s quiet so let’s just go with it.

5:30 p.m. — Start prepping dinner while making new playlists for classes this week. At Bulldog, we take pride in our awesome playlists, so I like to keep things fresh. This week it’s “Corona Mixtape.”

6:15 p.m. — Enjoy some leftovers of cauliflower curry that my husband made the other day. He makes a mean curry!

7 p.m. — Sit my booty on the couch and catch up on Ozark for the night.

10 p.m. — Goodnight!

Daily total: $0

Tuesday

Jenkins and her dog, Gypsy, out for a stroll. / Photograph courtesy of Tessa Jenkins.

6:15 a.m. — Wake up! Once I’m out of bed, I sip a hot water with lemon and roll out my mat to do a 45-minute virtual Bulldog class. After, I lift for 15 minutes with weights I have in the basement, concentrating on the upper body.

8:45 a.m. — Get those kiddos up (quarantine life has them snoozing a bit longer) and get them some breakfast. I enjoy my first coffee of the day (and hello, coconut creamer).

9:30 a.m. — Set up Zoom class for the girls, toggle in between their two school “stations,” and assist with questions and tech issues.

11 a.m. — Head up to the virtual studio in the bedroom and teach a private yoga and meditation class to a group of athletes.

11:45 a.m. — Kids plow through their work pretty early, so I decide to teach them some card games. Today is WAR and Old Maid!

12:30 p.m. — Lunch for all of us is homemade acai bowls. Luckily, I stocked up on frozen acai at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. I blend in a perfectly ripe (almost too ripe) banana, and top off the creation with coconut flakes and granola. I add walnuts to mine for extra protein and fat. It’s delicious and makes me think of the beach.

1:30 p.m. — After loading the dishwasher, I plan for end-of-the-week classes, plus a virtual yoga retreat I am holding on Friday.

4 p.m. — Weather is dry but cold, so I bundle up and take our dog, Gypsy, for a three-mile walk while the girls ride their bikes. Have I mentioned my husband is working from home too and we are a loud family? Outside is good whenever possible. Living in Chester County brings me beautiful views, rolling hills, and little traffic.

5:15 p.m. — Snack time! I’m making that trendy whipped coffee that has flooded social media. I sub out regular sugar with coconut sugar and reduce it by half. It turns out to be decadent and totally worth the hype!

6 p.m. — Back to the kitchen, sheesh a lot of time here these days! Tonight is a Purple Carrot dinner of spring vegetable pilaf (super yummy).

7:15 p.m. — Big trip to the couch. I try Ozark again, but I need something light tonight so Schitt’s Creek finale. Ewww David!

10:30 p.m. — Lights out.

Daily total: $0

Wednesday

Jenkins’ own home-brewed kombucha! / Photograph by Tessa Jenkins.

7 a.m. — I roll out of bed and head straight for the coffee. I decide to write in my journal, focusing on gratitude. Check some overnight emails while laying on my mat stretching out my hips. The hilly walk I took yesterday tightened my hips so laying in pigeon pose and working on my laptop were just right! After emails are scanned, I take a 20-minute hips and hamstring Bulldog class, which does the trick.

8 a.m. — Teach (and take) a 45-minute invigorate yoga practice to our Instagram community. Invigorate is a Bulldog offering that is a power yoga class with lots of dynamic movement and awesome playlists! It was nice to “see” my students from the studio sticking to their yoga practice.

9:15 a.m. — Kids are sleeping later and later! They are finally up, fed, and at their workspace for the day. Teaching 3-D geometry to a second grader is NO joke!

12:30 p.m. — Lunch time! Having leftover vegetable pilaf with some chickpeas added in to boost the protein.

1:15 p.m. — Lola, Sloan, and I make a 10-minute kid yoga video to share with the online Bulldog community. Since so many of us are at home with kids, we wanted to give a PE option. These girls are handling quarantine so well, and I am so proud!

2:30 p.m. — Both girls play soccer and this week they were assigned drills to do, so we bundle up and head out to practice.

3:30 p.m. — Back to the computer to respond to emails, update social media for teaching schedules, and shoot some photos with my husband’s help. Kids are in the kitchen looking for more baking recipes. Again.

4:15 p.m. — I brew my own kombucha, which is actually quite simple and saves major coin! Today, Sloan is helping me bottle the brew and we make a quick tutorial about it. Peach ginger this week!!

6:15 p.m. — Dinner tonight is homemade black bean burgers and sliced sweet potatoes with avocado sauce, served up from an old Purple Carrot recipe. Thankfully, the kids like this particular veggie meal, so everyone is happy. Girls and hubby clean up. I am off for a date with the laundry.

7:30 p.m. — Watching Trolls World Tour with the kids. I taught the girls how to make stove-top popcorn with olive oil and some salt, so it’s a great movie night.

9:45 p.m. — Early to bed.

Daily total: $0

Thursday

Jenkins completes a strength training workout in her basement. / Photograph courtesy of Tessa Jenkins.

7:45 a.m. — Decide to skip the morning workout today. During this stressful and unprecedented time, sometimes rest can be the greatest gift. So I sit at my desk with some hot lemon water and do some journal writing. After, I listen to a meditation session on the Bulldog app, which makes me feel rested but ready to start the day.

9 a.m. — Settle the kids into the online classes. Today is hard. We learned that PA schools will remain online for the remainder of the year. Lots of tears and snuggles, and we decide it’s a pancake kind of morning.

12 p.m. — For lunch, I make a green smoothie from the last of the kale, celery, ginger, lemon, some frozen pineapple, and lots of cayenne pepper. Love me some spice in a green smoothie.

2 p.m. — We watch Trolls again to brighten the disappointing news of the day.

4 p.m. — I’m feeling a bit restless, so I head to the basement to do an upper body weight circuit and take an online Bulldog Yoga class with Brittany, my co- manager who I miss a lot. It was like I got to spend time with her, which is the real win of this workout!

6 p.m. — Dinner time. I really wanted takeout, but we have plenty of fresh food that needs to be used. So it’s Purple Carrot again, this time an Asian stir-fry.

7 p.m. — After a family clean up and more laundry folding, I learn a TikTok dance with my 11 year old. Not her idea. MINE. Like many others, I am finding joy in the strangest things but we laugh and have some fun then watch some more TV.

8 p.m. — Zoom meeting with the soccer team parents. We discuss how we’ll move forward with the training of the team and what the future might look like when the kids can play again. Lots of unknowns. But, nice to see everyone!

10 p.m. — Kiddos asleep, and I am in bed listening to one of my favorite podcasts before bed. I think it’s how I am socializing these days?

Daily total: $0

Friday

Jenkins leading her virtual yoga retreat. / Photograph courtesy of Tessa Jenkins.

7 a.m. — Up and at ’em! I drink some hot water with lemon and head out for a 35-minute run.

8 a.m. — Home with coffee in hand, and prep for the virtual retreat I am hosting. I had to cancel my first yoga retreat that was planned for May, so I decided to make the most of it and host a virtual retreat with a full yoga class followed by a discussion by my friend who is a mental health therapist.

9:30 a.m. — Virtual retreat begins! Amazing fun flow with a great turnout. My friend discusses adapting to this new world and processing emotions in a healthy way. It’s enlightening and powerful. Over 45 people attend via Zoom and all money collected goes to charity. It was a fantastic morning of community.

12 p.m. — Two over easy eggs with green salsa and coffee, obvs. I feel a bit dehydrated so I filled up a huge water bottle to encourage some fluids.

1:15 p.m. — Weekly grocery trip. This is one of the biggest differences to my routine now. I used to go to the store several times per week, now my husband and I rotate the daunting task. My turn today. Throw on my mask and get the hand sanitizer and head to the grocery store, which is now a surreal experience with arrows, signs, gloves, and masks.

3:30 p.m. — Family workout! While my husband and Lola do more soccer drills in the basement, Sloan and I both do 20 minutes on the treadmill, followed by a push-up, sit up, and plank competition. To finish off the family sesh, Lola and I do a Bulldog core-focused workout.

6:30 p.m. — TAKE OUT TIME!!! Having takeout once per week during quarantine just gives us a cooking break! We have a fantastic restaurant near us, Epicurean Garage, that does curbside delivery and has great vegetarian options ($65). The family enjoys a day off of the dishes and we teach the girls how to play black jack. That counts as math right?

8:30 p.m. — Girls go and hang on their own in the basement, so the hubs and I hang upstairs and watch Ozark.

11 p.m. — OMG my kids are still up! It’s a weekend. And we are in quarantine. I’ll allow it.

Daily total: $65

Weekly totals

Money spent: $137
Workouts complete: Seven
Classes taught: Four

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