by guest author Elissa Jordan
I miss Jaqui.
I was a happy Canadian girl living in London. I had my push bike and my belly dancing and my charity job. I had friends and I had my yoga. Then I met a Kiwi boy and fell in love. And now I’m in Wellington. A whole new chapter with thrilling opportunities and possibilities. It’s an exciting time. And in every yoga class I go to in Wellington I am met by my mat, my openness to the teachings and a stranger leading the practice.
And so I miss Jaqui.
Jaqui was my yoga teacher in London. She had an abundance of moxie, compassion and encouragement. She would push you hard, she would push you to your limits, but she would never push you farther than she knew you could go. And sometimes you need someone to have that confidence in you to be able to trust how far you could let yourself go. She was an amazing teacher and I would follow her classes all over the city.
I was surprised at the realisation of just how attached you can become to a teacher, to their energy and to the familiarity of their sequences. You tie so much of your own practice into the presence of your teacher. I know I always give more when I have a teacher’s energy pushing me to hold a posture longer and stronger than I can ever manage when I’m alone.
Yet it’s the new teachers that can help you grow just as much by introducing you to a new flow or a new asana. New experiences, new perspectives and new energies.
But it’s on those days where you find yourself in a new country, a new city with no friends or family, when everything can be a little overwhelming in its strange wonder when all you really want is something familiar – it’s then that a stranger at the front of the class can verge on being too much.
I had a class like that tonight. I was in a funk when I got on my mat. I was in a funk all through the class. Then my body stopped cooperating. Things that should be easy were requiring a whole heap of effort. Frustration started mounting.
But during seated meditation, eyes closed, back straight, continually trying to guide my mind back to its focal point the teacher, the stranger leading the class, came behind me and gently laid a blanket on my shoulders. And in this simple gesture I found my release. A release from the frustration of the day and the fear of the unknown. And I was reminded of all the reasons why I keep coming back to the practice of yoga.
Walking home from class through Central Park, in the pitch black, I took with me that lasting serenity given to me in that one simple gesture. And I took comfort in knowing that next time I visit that class, there won’t be a stranger leading my practice.
I’ll still incorporate elements of Jaqui’s teachings into my home practice. Just as I’ll incorporate teachings from those I’d met before her, the lessons from my teachers training, and those random movements that my body asks of me that have nothing to do with any traditional studies.
We don’t lose the old but we should never stop learning and growing from the new.
I just wanted to close by saying thank you. Thank you to all the teachers I’ve met and all the teachers I’m going to meet. Thank you for shaping my practice and for sharing your guidance.
When she’s not earning a living as a Digital Marketing Manager with a leading New Zealand charity, Elissa is a belly-dancing, blog-writing, cycle-commuting, vegan-cooking yogi.
She started seriously following a regular yoga practice about three years ago after several start-stop attempts. Never one to give up on something she cares about, yoga and Elissa are now crossing paths on a daily basis.
Elissa is new on the Wellington yoga scene having recently immigrated from Canada by way of London, England. She’s looking forward to the day AcroYoga makes it to New Zealand and has brought with her teaching qualifications from the British School of Yoga, A.M. Yoga and the Sivananda Vedanta Ashram in Neyyar Dam, India.