MY TEACHERS AND MY LINEAGE
One’s lineage is a lens that allows us to reflect on what we have learnt through the practice with our teacher(s). I have studied with and owe my knowledge to many teachers who have influenced my approach to yoga, movement and life in profound ways:
I had been fortunate to study Hatha Yoga with Sucharita and Mike Jenkins, and through Sucharita I found the most valuable words that would influence my approach to life – ‘Never follow a (single) teacher’. If and when one embraces the mind of a student, beginner’s mind, the teacher(s) appears – through the physical presence of a teacher, through situations, words, actions of others, or even oneself. And therefore as a student of yoga, one should never simply (blindly) follow a single teacher, but instead learn to teach oneself as within ourselves we have the capacity to reflect the entire cosmos.
Through Bo Srey and Anusara Yoga I realised the importance and value of curiosity, playfulness, and community. Through their teachings I realised how approaching life with curiosity, wonder and play changes the nature of the practices and inspires sustainable growth. Bo made me realise I could ‘melt my heart’ and ‘playfully lift my left leg up to the sky’. I have also been deeply inspired by how inclusive and connected Anusara practices are, often involving partner work. This is important because as humans we cannot go at it alone. Being in a community, actively supporting and being supported is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.
Studying Anatomy with Trish Corley sparked my interest in the human body and made me realise there is no one size fits all solution. As she said, we all have ‘our true north’ and this may vary from person to person. Listening and following the lessons of Paul and Suzee Grilley and reading Your Body Your Yoga by Bernie Clark would further cement the importance of honouring each individual’s unique anatomy and the importance of guiding others and myself to cultviate proprioception and interoception.
The study of Yin Yoga and Meditation with Sebastian and Murielle was my first proper introduction towards Yoga as the path towards introspection and Svadhyaya (self-study). This later led me to Bernie’s teachings, particularly his teaching on Questioning one’s Intention and Paying Attention, which heavily influence the way I teach and lead my own life.
An recurrent injury led me to search for more therapeutic modalities of movement, which led me to study Qigong with Mimi Kuo-Deemer and Aqua Yoga with Francoise Freedman. Through experiencing the healing properties of water, I have been reminded that we are truly microcosms within the macrocosm, and the nourishing nature of energy-based Qigong taught me the importance of moving with intention. Through these, I reaffirmed by belief that one’s practice should nourish both the body and mind.
I have been fortunate to study Contact Improvisation under Vangelis Legakis, and practice the act of listening to and through one’s body and another’s. I am thankful for the teachings of Boy, Dewi, Dew and other members of the teaching faculty at ITM who have shared the beauty of Nuad Boran Thai Massage with me, which taught me that movement can be meditation, and made me realise the necessity and power of touch. These later led to my interest in Somatics, and the Somatic approach to Yoga, which is what informs my current movement practice. Through my previous study of Kendo with Peter Sensei as an undergraduate during university, I was fortunate to learn of Tapas – austerity, discipline, or commitment to the rigor of practice in the body and mind.
To me, these learnings are much more important than the style of yoga one practises, because the real Yoga starts when we step off the mat into life.