From January 2013 I taught a yoga class in Hyde Park on Wednesday evenings. It was a free class mostly of friends and friends of friends, affectionately named “Hump Day Yoga.” As of last week however, due to the weather change and the dark that creeps up on us earlier, Hump Day Yoga is no longer is session.
It was bittersweet for me.
As a teacher, I get attached to my students, and a part of me wishes they could be with me for as long as I can teach. I love seeing how they progress from week to week, and the fluidity of how my class plans change as they change. I love the banter that goes on, and how they have become comfortable enough to bring themselves into child’s pose when they need it. I love seeing them grow in strength and flexibility and how they brave the dark spaces in meditation. And I love how this beautiful group of people has made a mid-week yoga session a platform to reconnect, build new connections and to have proper, honest conversations. For some of them, this was the first step into an unknown world and I thank them for sharing the experience with me.
As a student however, I understand that this journey is a personal one. You meet teachers that speak to you and you might travel with them for a while. Then the time comes when you might go your separate ways. You need the space to explore your practice, perhaps try different styles, and listen to different ways of being told things.
The space on the mat does not exist in a bubble, you come in carrying the weight of your day, your diet, the sleepless nights and injuries on a physical, mental and emotional level. When we get onto the mat, we don’t leave the rest of us behind. My Hump Day students have become comfortable with that and know that it’s perfectly fine to take breaks, and to have a laugh when they need.
The role of the teacher is but to guide, and offer a safe space for people for self enquiry and self exploration. However, a teacher too brings all that they are into class. When I started teaching, I worried about bringing my personality into class, of being vulnerable and open with my students, but Hump Day Yoga allowed me to learn to relax.
We are all a work in progress, as students, as teachers, as human beings. In our journey we will meet people who open doors for us to get to the next level of our work and we make the choice to walk through that door or not. So I thank my Hump Day Yogis for three months of beautiful practice and for both opening the door for me, and stepping into the invitation I sent to you. You were as much my teachers as you were my students, and may our practices continue to grow so that we can bring more into our future meetings.
Some of the Hump Day Yogis speak about their practice here:
“Yoga is a great de-stressing activity for me. I am able to clear my mind of all pressures outside of the class and just focus on me, my body and my mind. This mid-week yoga session is exactly what I needed. As I lay on the ground at the end of the class staring at the tree branches and evening sky, nothing else mattered. I was relaxed, at peace and had no worries.”
– Shady Lim, Marketing Manager , http://www.shadytravels.com/2013/03/how-i-de-stress.html
“Hump Day Yoga (HDY) is why I love my Wednesdays.
Why do I love it so much?
I get to de-stress, BREATH, and challenge myself during this 75 minute session, but it’s also about the people sharing their day, week & their life with you. It helps me achieve a level of physical exercise and a mental fulfilment.”
– Jenny Schnell, Client Services Manager
“A few month ago, I faced one of the biggest challenges in my life and I needed to find myself again. Thats when a long time lost friend Az invited me to her yoga sessions and it was truly uplifting experience to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and with myself that I had been brutally tough on. Az would always bring stories and wise words for every one to think about and Id come out of the class not only physically balanced but also mentally empowered. Although it was for a short term but I personally really enjoyed the experience and am grateful that I was a part of it.”
– Nina Jung, Marketing Manager, http://www.junglebananas.com/
‘Azra’s yoga classes are fun! A playful yoga teacher, Az’s deep knowledge of yoga generally and her own practice shine through more and more each week. I am looking forward to being guided by her for years to come. Namaste my friend.’
– Meriana Baxter, Yoga Teacher