The First Yoga Teacher
This summer I went to Derby in England to meet my first yoga teacher - or the teacher I count as the first; the one who ignited my yoga flame.
I'm not talking about the skinny one I met the first time I did yoga - the one with the whispering voice and countless head and -handstands. No, I mean the one I found a resonance in, where I felt heard and seen and I just wanted to learn more.
She moved from the continent, I moved to another country, and on top of that I lost her contact as my work e-mail was cancelled and she is not on any social media. I tried to find her over many years, and the more I dived into my own practice and work as a teacher and a therapist I wanted to find her to tell her how much she had meant to me.
Luckily, thanks to some lovely family members in the UK (thank you Geoff & Julia) I found her - and last summer I went to see her again. Not only that, I planned to go a day where she had a class so I could "come home" in my yoga practice.
And what a treat! A lovely slow-flow class with Julie Muller at The Bridge in Mickleover - I imagine it would be like it was like coming home for Thanksgiving in the States; when you've moved away, started your own path in life and then you come back, thankful and grateful for everything that hasn't changed in your life; your family, the discussions around the dinner table, the love, the banter - and you are in the strange vacuum of fitting in and having changed. And you feel both at home and and not at home - that nothing has changed and everything has changed!
Ah, it's a wonderful feeling!
To do a class with a teacher that your body remembers is a fantastic feeling. You don't need to have your eyes open, you needn't be nervous or stressed. You are at home. You feel a tingle of happiness when she uses sentences that you had forgotten and suddenly you understand what they mean ("Relax the muscles in your eye sockets. Let your forehead find ease.") and you think to yourself "God, that's a good way to make that understandable! I'll totally steal that and use it my classes..... I wonder how that's translated....?"
Another thing is that I really understood how far I have come in my practice, in my body. You see - when you do yoga on a regular basis you tend to get caught up in what you need to learn, what you find difficult and where your body resists the most. And that is quite ok because that makes you want to push yourself to become better, stronger and more flexible.
You tend to forget what you've been through to get to where you are now. You don't think "Well, at least I can do a decent forward bend!" when you havent developed the balancing skills to do a tree pose (as I haven't!)
So the occational class with a former teacher reminds you, lovingly, carefully, that you really have moved! And that you should be proud of the work you've done. You are on your way!
I think you as a teacher tend to forget the impact you have on the lives of the clients you meet, teach and touch with your heart. You have an enormous power when you work with people that get into resonance with their breaths, their bodies - and with you.
I believe that the shavasana is a near-hypnotic state of mind because of the connection you'll get through breathing body-mind-soul. You have to understand and be aware of the impact of your words! Always have respect for the work that is done, the development your clients do. And be kind in thought, speech and intention towards your clients.
My thesis is that it isn't only the yoga style that makes you decide to start going to a class every week - it is as much the resonance you have with your teacher. If you have a feeling of being heard and acknowledged for the exact person - limitations and everything! - that you are, you'll feel calm and relaxed and have trust in the therapeutic effects from the yoga, both emotionally and physically. Then it becomes yoga, not just fitness! When it becomes this type of yoga the effects of it will spill over from your body to your mind - and into your daily life and your entire lifestyle will slowly change!
For me that is exactly when yoga works.
So, thank you, Julie. For opeing the door ajar to the yogic path I have taken. I am so happy that you showed me the way and helped me through the first difficult steps. When I grow up I wanna be a teacher as good as you!
Yoga with Julie? Check out this website: