Before I started publishing yoga teacher profiles, I erroneously thought most yoga teachers were just coming from the physical, teaching asana (postures) and not much else.
How wrong I’ve been proved.
In profile after profile, New Zealand yoga teachers are revealing their depth of understanding of yoga’s spiritual side. They do so with humour, with humbleness, and with awe.
Reading through Jessica’s answers, I felt inspired and moved – especially by her relaxed attitude to the nature of a yogi mother, who must integrate her practice with the demands of children, and her love of spiritual texts from the likes of Rumi, Paramahansa Yogananda and Hafiz.
Read and enjoy 🙂
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I did my teacher training with master teacher Nicky Knoff who brings together the precision and rigour of Iyengar with the internal heat and dynamism of Astanga Vinyasa.
I’m also influenced by the organic and energetic principles as taught by Donna Farhi. The Eight-Limbed Path is my compass.
I’m currently teaching at Freyberg Aquatic Centre Oriental Parade, Contours Ladies Gym and Hot Yoga of New Zealand, Wellington.
2. How did you come to yoga?
Blindly through a haze of alcohol, cigarette smoke and disaster, age 21
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
Bill’s Astanga classes, Cuba St 1994.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
Yoga has given structure and integrity to my existence.
5. What is your home practice like?
I am mother to a one-year-old Margot and a two-year-old Demitrius. My asanas at home are immediately ambushed by little people, interrupted by poo emergencies and stolen amid the piles of washing. I try to practice my yoga when the baby wakes four times a night and when my best laid plans and intentions are thwarted by the children.
My home practice involves finding the sacred in the domestic: giving thanks for our food and for the peace in our land. Sending blessings to those in need. Shimmering in meditation into the night. I study, I read. I hang out with Rumi and Paramahansa Yogananda.
Sleep at night, peace in the morning. What else?
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
Yoga is a reunion of the body-mind intelligence; freedom from the illusion of separateness.
Yoga is experiencing life as a luminous, vibrating, conscious whole, the entire universe and everything in it (including each and every one of us) as the body of Godde.
Yoga can lift humanity to its highest potential.
Yoga makes you feel better.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
Precise alignment, strong muscular work, burning enthusiasm and good humour.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
We are so humbly revealed and instructed by the honesty of our bodies.
I love seeing people move out beyond their perceived limitations of their own identity. Most of all I love it when a whole room of people lose their own personal entanglements and let the Spirit of Grace move in.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
Yoga is not just another placebo in the consumer culture (as it sometimes gets peddled as). It is an on-going spiritual discipline that teaches Self- Realisation.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
Every individual yoga practitioner who is dedicated to this amazing discipline transforms the world one person at a time.
We can emerge from individualistic, self-destructive self-centeredness into open-hearted comm-unity. This current yoga revolution is no accident. This technology has been intentionally passed on to us. It’s our duty and privilege to keep passing it on.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
If God invited you to a party and said “Everyone in the ballroom tonight will be my Special Guest,” how then would you treat them when you arrived? Indeed, indeed! And Hafiz knows there is no one in this world who is not upon His Jewelled Dance Floor. (Hafiz, 14th century Persian mystic)
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground – Rumi. 12th century Persian mystic
12. And finally, how do people find you?