What Made Me Come Back to Iyengar Yoga - and Stay
Back in the early 1990s, the University of Louisville required students complete 2 PE classes to graduate. I waited until my senior year since physical education was not part of my college agenda mentality. I saw the option of Yoga in the course offerings and signed up as I had practiced it informally as a child thanks to PBS and Lilias Folan. The class was demanding and fun. The teacher, the beloved Judi Rice, was disciplined like no one I had ever met before. I was drawn to her and at the same time too timid to approach her. Looking back I find it funny because I would ask myself questions like, “how in the world can Judi drive a car and keep her perfect posture?” (I had tried to drive the way she sat so perfectly and found it impossible.) My normal routine was to get a cup of coffee after the 8 am class and I still remember the day when I felt so light and refreshed in my body after class that I didn’t go for my normal coffee fix. If you knew what a coffee junkie I was back then, it would seem impossible that I could have this habit breakthrough.
Although I felt deeply interested in Yoga, after I graduated I didn’t pursue it much besides one short stint at Judi’s studio in my mid-20s. The turning point came through life’s trials and personal turmoil. I was struggling emotionally and had started to find some healthier pursuits. A friend mentioned Judi to me and immediately I decided to contact her for classes. I loved the challenges, the training of my mind through my body, witnessing how I was ready to leave the pose but Judi was asking us to stay focused mentally and physically. Good health sprang from attending and a more patient, understanding and loving person was uncovered. About a year after weekly classes, Judi hosted Janet McLeod, a San Francisco teacher, for a weekend workshop. Whether it was required or not, what I heard was BYOP (bring your own props) to the workshop. So once I bought the props – the mat, 3 wool blankets, a belt and 2 blocks, I began to practice. I felt so connected and happy studying with Judi and the friendships that I made were the most fun and loving I had ever had.
Judi guided a small group of us through Iyengar Yoga teaching certification before retiring and ultimately passing from her illness with multiple myeloma. Today, the enjoyment of the asana practice has established itself within me and even in times of physical, emotional, and mental distress I try to stay with the practice. Yoga is there for me, it supports me, and nourishes me especially when I feel disconnected and alone.
In gratitude for Yoga and Life’s blessings,