Saturday, December 3, 2011

My First REAL Yoga Teacher

I was blessed a few years ago to meet a beautiful woman who would forever change my life. I work as an itinerant teacher (I travel from school-to-school). And every time I would head to one of my schools, I saw this woman who I would always wave to. Never met her before, but our paths seemed to cross often.

One day as I was in the library of the school where I'd see this woman, she approached me and started talking to me like we'd been old friends. It felt so very comfortable--like our souls knew each other, even though we, as people, had never met. She said her name was Hansa, and asked if I would like to join her yoga class after school on Wednesdays. Heck yeah!   Though my journey through yoga began before that, she was the inspiration I needed to continue. (She didn't even know I practiced yoga! Albeit a hodge-podge style to be sure!) How she knew I'd be a perfect fit for her class, I'll never know. It was one of those chance meetings that wasn't so chance.

I felt my blog was lacking something, when yesterday I decided I needed to interview my first yoga teacher. Though she no longer teaches at the school, she remains my teacher in my heart. Here are a couple of my interview questions and her responses: (More will be shared in later posts.  Most importantly: How has yoga changed your life?)

Where (specifically) and when did you study?
I started the practice of yoga at 18 years of age.
It started off with an interest in yoga just to stay fit. However it soon transitioned into a much deeper interest and grew and blossomed into a search for more intense practices.
I visited several ashrams throughout India, and eventually settled to study to be a teacher at 2 schools, which were quite diverse in their beliefs and vision.
One was Vivekananda Kendra, Headquartered at Kanyakumari located on the southernmost tip of India, and Bihar school of yoga, Headquartered at Munger,Bihar, located in the state of Bihar. Both schools philosophies were different. BSY was a research based highly scientific system of the practice of yoga, almost entirely backed by data. VK was again a research based school, more emphasis being laid out on the spiritual aspect of the practice. I was lucky I had a fusion of the best of both philosophies. Fortunately both of these school had branches in Bangalore, which is the city of my birth. And it was easy for me to gain entry into their teacher's training program, where along with the study I was an in-house teacher.
What style of yoga did you study?
Over the years that I taught I adapted the best practices from each school,and came up with and individualized practice that I call adaptive yoga. The style is called Viniyasa yoga, which is more a practice based on slow movements, breath awareness and focusing on energy flow. It can also be called meditation or mindful awareness.

There is so much more I will cover in later posts when Hansa and I have more time to uncover her personal journey. Namaste.

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