Key people on your yoga journey: Yoga Teachers...
Once I made up my mind to start doing yoga, the adventure began for me. When I am so keen to deal with something, I’m always very stubborn to find the right direction with the right people. It was exactly the same for me on the path of yoga.
First I started to visit the local places: Gym clubs, leisure centres, yoga studios… They were either too expensive or too business oriented… And also something was missing in them that I was looking for; the spirit of yoga! I was dreaming a place with an ambient of a fortune teller’s dimmed tent with burning candles, smelling incense, lots of chanting and lots of ancient ornaments and icons on the walls. However, I couldn’t find such a place in the centre of one of the largest western cities, London. At least not in my town…
Then I started to enquire about the right organisation to start with. So there had to be an institution which carefully regulates the principles of yoga-teaching. During the time of my enquiries, I heard lots of very nice and inspirational stories about yoga experiences alongside with wrongly guided ones, too. Therefore it was essential for me to start with the right people in the right place and in the right way. So I was lucky and I came across to the right yoga organisation for my needs: the Wheel (BWY). Step 1 was completed!
Step 2 was finding a teacher to establish a bonding with. Ah yes, what I was looking for was a kind of Kung Fu Panda & Master Shifu relationship or Karate Kid & Master Miyagi or Luke Skywalker & Master Yoda… or… Oh what ever; but it was greatly important for me to have some strong, positive vibes between me and my yoga teacher like falling in love at the first sight. So I typed my home post code in the little search box of the directory on BWY’s webpage and found my master within couple of miles. How great this feeling was! =)
I started to follow her blog with a big interest. I wondered a lot to see how a yogi lives, thinks, enjoys his/her time. She was amazing with all her guidance and life style as far as I could see on the blog… And then the time arrived to meet her. I sent an email to her by saying “I want to bond with you!”. Oh no! When I look back from today, it sounds really scary for her =) However, I truly started the journey with a big bonding.
My first class was an evening class, at 8pm. As a full-time working mother, I usually used to be so exhausted after around 6-7pm. It was a big challenge but also a big success for me to go out in cold winter evenings to attend yoga classes. In the past I had enrolled pay as you go gym memberships, monthly gym memberships even annual memberships but always gave up after couple of months. My husband kept saying that I was in the wrong place to donate my money on a monthly basis; charities were definitely the better options, not the gym centres.
The place where I joined my very first hatha yoga class was a midsize, half wooden half stone hut, serving as a kids nursery during the day. The front of the building wasn’t even and it was leaning to its left side a little. The heating inside was not great at all but the ambient was very warm with lots of paintings and colorful posters made by the children. Although it was a temporary place for couple of weeks during that time, I fell in love with this place as soon as I stepped inside. I remember that I was a little nervous that night like a person who takes the stage to cover someone else in a show and who shouldn’t forget the movements for the sake of the performance at all. I grabbed a mat from the big bag and squeezed it right in the first row in front of the teacher. Yes, weird. Since my student-hood I always like to sit at the closest spot to the teachers. But no, I’ve never been the most hard-working one in the class
Although she was so different than Master Miyagi, she was so natural, energetic, witty and confident with her knowledge. There were no chanting, no candles or incenses but the atmosphere she created in the room was so friendly and inviting. What a chance that the theme of the week she scheduled was the Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga; the ethical principles (yamas) and personal discipline (niyamas). From the very first moment her style hooked me and with each posture we went in and out the tension on my body and the stress level in my mind reduced.
I was planning to do yoga once a week before the class but started to attend her classes twice a week from the very next week onwards including some of her strong sessions and workshops. It’s been almost 3 years now and I still join her classes in a weekly basis.
With her guidance and advice, she helped me a lot to find the right direction on my path of yoga. When I mentioned her that I’d like to go deeper in yoga and meditation, she encouraged me to break my shell and to try different teachers. So I met other amazing and inspirational teachers. They all changed my life with their different unique styles.
Today I am taking the same path that they already walked. I have huge respect to their experiences and the way they practice their own yoga. I am so thankful for their light which brightened my path and inspired and encouraged me to take the same way too. Today as a Student Teacher, I am so happy to remember my first email that I sent to my first teacher:
“…I SEE THAT YOGA HAS BEEN A TREND AGAIN SINCE 1980S AND THERE IS A HUGE NUMBER OF TEACHERS AROUND AND I FEEL THAT SOME OF THEM TREAT YOGA ONLY AS A MEANS OF INCOME. ALSO WHAT I UNDERSTAND IS THAT YOGA IS A LIFESTYLE AND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A WHOLE WITH EFFECTS ON ONE’S BODY, MIND AND SOUL. SO IT SOUNDS THAT IT MUST BE A BIG CHAIN OF PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY TO EDUCATE, MEDITATE AND CARE ABOUT THESE ALL. THEREFORE I WOULD LIKE TO START THIS NEW LIFELONG JOURNEY WITH THE RIGHT PERSON AND WITH THE CORRECT PRACTICE IN ORDER NOT TO FAIL JUST AT THE BEGINNING OR HALF WAY THROUGH…”
These words can be my only advice to the beginners of yoga.
Because you need your yoga teacher not only as a physical form or an "exercise provider" in your weekly fitness schedule but as an energy, the medium through which knowledge flows to the receiver, you. Unless other forms of your relationships in the community, your yoga teacher takes full responsibility of your internal and external growth, inspiration and safety by monitoring you every second. Yoga teachers literally carries the student on the journey of evolution. They are not someone who does sweet talk or makes random promises to gain your support. She holds a mirror that may help you to see your true self and helps you elevate yourself, provides you a refuge, a space where she wants you to rise.
I started to this journey with the right people towards the right direction 3 years ago and I am so grateful as they made this journey really enjoyable and meaningful for me, too.
With Peace & Love