This past week I was able to attend a class instructed by one of my favorite teachers, Judy. I was finally able to make it to an evening class and was hurried to go because this is the last time Judy would be teaching this class. She is moving out of province so I had to have one more class with her.
I have had many discussions with Judy about becoming a yoga teacher. She knows what I do for a living and could tell I was very interested in learning more about yoga. Prior to having a baby, I attended her Friday after work class for over two years and even while I was pregnant (she was very gracious to support my practice while I was pregnant by leading me in appropriate prenatal poses - even though it wasn't a prenatal class). Thinking back on it now, it was such a gift. Her words, voice, energy and presence were just what I needed every week, particularly at the end of my week.
To reflect back, what have I learned from Judy? First and foremost, was to be gentle with myself. After many years of pushing and stressing the body hard with vigorous exercise, it was a huge challenge for me not to push my practice. She offered guidance on how to let props, particularly foam blocks, help release tension. She always emphasizes moving to the point of tension but never pain and allowing the body to be supported so that it can release. It is not in the number of blocks we use that we should judge how well we are doing! She always jokes about letting go our preoccupation with using props. They are there to help us!
Judy taught me to explore what my body can do with simple movements, which can have a profound effect on mobility and surprisingly, mental calmness. I recall the encouragement "to be curious but not to judge" in particular with my breath rhythm. Her classes always challenged me but in a profound inner way. Her direction commonly include the words "less is more".
Having experienced Judy's classes for years, I can say she allowed an environment to explore, to respect your body and experience the benefits of yoga. What I learned from her is that every day your body (maybe interchange with mind too?) is different, every day you practice you are different and thus, take each class for what it is and be in that moment.
It was a bittersweet moment to reach corpse pose (savasana) this week. Such a blessing to have a moment to myself but sharing this moment for the last time (at least for now) with Judy. She ended our practice this week with a quote about being on a journey. How fitting for her but also, in some sense, quietly me too.
Be gentle to yourself.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.