Alice Popkorn

As you may remember, I was a teenager when I first started to practice yoga and my continued practice was more to do with weight management than for anything else. I remember you trying to tell me that body image isn’t as important as I seemed to believe at the time, but I wasn’t ready to listen. Thank you for being persistent!

As time went on my focus shifted more towards practicing with a patient, peaceful mind and I realise now that that was you at work. As my practice developed, I realised that thoughts such as, “I won’t try this pose because I won’t be able to do it” ran parallel with my state of mind outside of class. “I’ll just take it really really really easy with this“, was actually pretending to myself that at least I was trying.  It was around this time that I actively started to form a more conscious relationship with you. Thank you for your patience.

Since ‘completing my training’ three years ago, you whispered that it was important for me to dedicate more time to personal practice, and to develop my skills to a point where I could more honestly call myself a teacher. It has been three years of actively developing my teaching skills, spending more or less all of my working week attending classes, teaching classes, assisting teacher trainings and learning to do this in an informed and skillful way. Currently I am studying and working with a skilled Iyenger practitioner in India and I have substantially developed my teaching during my 4 months here. I am more ready to share than I have ever been and I sense that you are proud.

The most significant guidance that I have received so far was in the form of a gentle nudge to be open to various personalities and teaching styles, regardless of initial impressions. Following your wise advice, I have tried many, each time observing in my body and my mind, and then deciding whether or not I wish to incorporate any of the learning into my mental syllabus. Through this I have studied with more teachers than I can remember. Surrounding myself with such variety has allowed me to refine my teaching style, and I feel deeply thankful for the learning from each class.

You have supported me to observe that some teachers are quietly skilled and others more expressive. Some possess more knowledge than they present, others present more than they possess. Some are outwardly confident and inwardly have a lot to learn, and others seem inwardly wise, yet somehow not confident. You taught me to look in from the outside and then choose what I wish to take from each situation. How fortunate I am that you stay with me.

Recently you reminded me to be humble and to remember that this learning is continual, that if I wish to be a good teacher I will have to attend to it for as long as I continue to teach – it keeps things interesting and fresh for both me and my students, and my relationship with you beautifully clear.

Thank you for being strong and loud enough for me to hear.

With gratitude,

Jayna