Open Letter to a Yoga Teacher

Yoga to the People Standing Bow

Dear Katherine-

When I realized that you were teaching class today I got nervous first and choked up, second. Your standing bow pose looks at me every time I walk into the locker room. But taking class with the person on the poster wasn’t the reason for the lump.

It’s funny, the day before another amazing teacher asked if we adjust our expectations based on who is teaching, when instead we should look internally when it comes to our practice.

Several months have passed since I took a class with you. Since then, life has changed exponentially.

I’ve started teaching yoga.

Your classes played a big part in that decision.

A year and a half ago I walked into your 6:30 pm class. I had never been so far away from myself- emotionally or physically. That class ripped me apart. 90 minutes in the heat.

Your voice was firm, focused and freeing.

Work hard but rest when you need to.

Find limits and grow but be intelligent about choices you make.

You can be comfortable or change, but you can’t have both. 

I know it’s yoga but it is also life. I didn’t know back then that I’d end up teaching- but that night was the flicker.  It was a spark that had to light from a puddle of sweat and tears.

Class was so f*cking hard. But I’d never been more grateful.

That night, I picked up my towel and soul off the mat.

I’d wash the towel. My soul was another story. It was shaky. And tired. You are never more lost until you are found.

At home, I crumbled. Cried until my eyes were puffy. No more hiding. No more running. It was time to start my life over, again.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times. Trying to articulate this after class would have resulted in me crying- not because I was embarrassed but until being confronted with seeing you- I didn’t actually realize how much I have changed. Or changed back to who I was before the fall.

In this day and age of the over share- the whys, whats and wheres aren’t important, but thanking people is a lost art.

So thank you, Katherine.

Your class makes me tap into something deeper and lighter. I have become my own best teacher.


7 thoughts on “Open Letter to a Yoga Teacher

  1. Thank you, Oneika. That was beautiful. That came from down deep. And I look at that pic, and I think… Man, I don’t know what I think. Sometimes I see a pic of someone rockin a tough asana, and I think “show off.” Ungenerous on my part, I know. This one, though… All I get is, This one’s coming from down deep.

    1. Thanks Bharat. I kew I needed to write something because I scurried out of class like a scared rabbit- which if you know anything about me- that ain’t like me. She is the kind of teacher that encourages working hard but smart but doesn’t allow you to give up on yourself- unless you want to. It’s a gift when you find teachers who are full of power and compassion and leave ego at the door. Her classes are just like that bow pose now tat I think of it. Thanks for the comments- I was a tad nervous to post. Om shanti and hope you are feeling better:)

  2. Oneika-
    Kahlil Gibran wrote on teaching: “No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.” As students, we sometimes don’t know why exactly we have stepped onto the mat or perhaps we come to class with one intention only to have our perspective shifted. But as teachers, we cannot force change upon students who not yet willing to go there. We can only hold up a light to the dark places and invite our students on a different path. I am honored to have been a catalyst in the transformation you took over the past year. I could always sense that you were a strong, highly capable woman. But when I saw you the other day, I saw a softness that has crept over you as well. While I don’t know all the details of your journey, I venture to guess that this softness is the result of breaking down some of your defenses. It looks really good on you, Oneika.

    Thank you, friend, for sharing these words. It is enough to watch a student shift and grow over the course of their practice but it is a luxury when those changes are put into words. Your voice is pure and well needed in the yoga community and I look forward to reading more of your stories. I am honored to be called one of your teachers.

    All love, light, and good things,

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