The big question: what style?
I co-lead a 5-day ‘Intensive’ program in early January. This event is an annual affair which has been well-received over a ten-year period and gives me great joy to teach. It’s popular. We’ve begun to attract people from Sydney and areas other than the Manning Valley. So, I wasn’t surprised when a yoga student whom I didn’t know contacted me and asked what style of yoga I teach, as she was considering joining the course.
I was hard-pressed to explain my ‘style’. Back in the late 70’s when I was studying to be a yoga teacher, I don’t recall that we talked about styles. There were the big names in yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Masahiro Oki, T.K.V. Desikachar, Krishnamacharya, Patabhi Jois, Vanda Scaravelli and Indra Devi. But, they weren’t branding themselves to the extent that happens now.
A big early influence on yoga was B.K.S. Iyengar. He was Martyn Jackson’s teacher, who was my first teacher trainer. I was sort of under the sway of that method for a decade until I began to experience Iyengar yoga as too harsh for me. I probably still teach some of the details of poses a la Iyengar, but my current instructions would not likely be condoned by a certified Iyengar instructor. And that’s fine.
A quarter turn change
By 1990 when I resigned from the Iyengar Association, I was free to explore aspects of yoga that had seemed closed off to me when I was tied to The Method. For instance, I was curious about Ayruveda, the sister discipline to yoga and read the books of David Frawley and Robert Svoboda. Then, in order to learn more, I booked into some sessions with Ayuveda/yoga practitioner, Dr. Shaun Matthews.
Up until this time, I hadn’t much studied with women teachers, which was rather odd when most yoga students happen to be women. I discovered American yoginis, Judith Hanson Lasater and Donna Farhi, and, in their teaching, an approach to yoga which was more person-oriented than pose-oriented. At a time when I especially wanted nurturing because I’d been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it was time to be kinder to myself.
Yoga is meant to be a whole person discipline–a practice which supports one’s development on all the levels on which a human exists: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, communal. I began to look outside the sphere of yoga for ‘missing pieces’. I did workshops called ‘Love, Intimacy and Sexuality’ which certainly helped me understand more about those subjects. In 1995, I did a year training in holistic counselling. Then five years later, I did a teacher training through Nature Care College which included modalities on pranayama, Ayurveda, philosophy, anatomy and physiology, and even one called ‘Esoteric Yoga Physiology’.
The style of the Nature Care training was dubbed hatha yoga, which name is a very big umbrella, open to wide interpretation. It’s a label that seems to satisfy some students who want to understand the orientation of the teacher.
Ever helpful, Wikipedia has an informative page that could help someone new to yoga discover what hatha yoga is:
In the 20th century, a development of haṭha yoga, focusing particularly on asanas (the physical postures), became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise. This modern form of yoga is now widely known simply as “yoga”.
Recent influences on me and collaborations that have contributed to my ‘style’ come via Alexa Nehter and her enthusiasm for ‘Anatomy Trains’, Rachel Zinman and her lovely embrace of mudras, and Ana Davis and her emphasis on ‘Feminine Yoga’. Maria Kirsten has been a big influence on me, even with her death this year, through her illuminating approach called ‘Yoga for Grownups’. In past years, I got so much from American yoga teacher, Donald Moyer (R.I.P. 2019), through his beautiful book, Awakening the Inner Body.
Ultimately what will give a yoga teacher her style or maybe more accurately her voice is life experience. I learned huge lessons from having had osteoarthritis for nearly two decades, before getting total hip replacements. For years, I’ve been in the classroom of life that teaches the practice of compassion, nurturing and authenticity. Now, ageing is teaching me new lessons that embrace those same concepts.
Audacious as it may sound to your ears, dear reader, I can only say I teach Eve Yoga.
Do you teach a style? Love to hear about yours.
Note: My intrepid husband, Daniel, has pointed out that herein I have not explained what my kind of yoga is. Point taken. Perhaps that will be saved for another post on another day….
It was good to hear all those names from the past.
Will you do any zoom classes?
Yes, so many influences, and there are so many more I didn’t include.
During one of the lockdowns last year I started doing zoom classes and discovered I like doing them, so continued.
There is a collection of the recordings of them on my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/c/YogawithEveGrzybowski/videos
I’m still learning how to be a non-face-to-face-teacher!
Sending kind regards and namaste,
Thanks Eve! I teach OkiDo Yoga- my teacher was Takao Nakazawa, who told us that just as OkiDo means the way of Oki- each of us have our own way brought about by who we are & our life experience.
Hi Julie, Very nice to hear from you. I believe Takao was part of the East West Centre (1982-84). Is that right? There are so many threads in the tapestry of yoga. I just try to find the wisdom where I can.
Kind regards and namaste, Eve
This is wonderful Eve. I am now looking forward to doing some yoga with Eve on YouTube ????♀️????????
Dear Eve, thank you for your post,
I love that you teach “Eve yoga”, because this means your teachings are coming from you and your development in yoga over the years. Your life experience isn in there.
These days yoga is so trendy… There are so many forms of yoga, even beer yoga and goat yoga :). I think yoga is “just yoga” and you are someone who understands that. There is not one form that is THE form.
I started yoga in 2008 at home in a time of stress, depression, anxiety dissorder. My first teacher was a Dutch Ashtangi (student of Pattabi Jois)/Power yogi. Ashtanga was the entrance to yoga for me, also because of my history as a gymnastic (physical orientation).
Although immediately I wanted to discover more than the physical part of yoga. I found this in Hatha yoga, everything about yoga is in there for me. And a couple of years ago there was Restorative yoga. I met my “second yoga teacher” Veda Ela, who lives in Costa Rica (www.vedaelayoga.com) and travels the world as a teacher. We still have a strong connection. Hopefully she can come over to the Netherlands this year to teach in my yoga studio, http://www.yogaglobe.nl
And since some time, Eve, YOU have become one of my teachers, my third yoga teacher. You might not even know that, though we had some e-mail contact before. I was caught by your sweet savasana video on You Tube. You have this gift to translate yoga into words to the world, to who can hear it. I can feel your experience with yoga and life in this sweet savasana video, other video’s and your blogs, etc.
Yoga is about life, so it transforms with us yogis during our lifes. You understand that. I am so happy you teach Eve yoga in stead of goat yoga 🙂 !
Love, Christel Groot-Huiting (50), Breda, The Netherlands
Hi there, Christel, So lovely to hear from you. And, thank you for your kind comments. Of course I remember you.
It’s great to hear of your lineage.
Hopefully all the stress, depression, and anxiety of early years have departed with the help of yoga. (Although, they are not necessarily going to stay banished–no matter how vigilant we are.)
I just had to google your ‘second teacher’, Veda Ela. The video that I watched of her shows that she has created a beautiful fusion of the important elements of yoga–and dance! And, it would seem she’s intending to visit your homeland in March this year.
May your yoga practice and teaching continue to shine on your life and the lives of others.
Love and kind regards, Eve
PS What is the (50) after your signature above?