Eve Grzybowski

Yoga Suits Her

I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980.  A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher.  What does that mean?  What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.

Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar

Current Post

What Makes a Yoga Practice? Adaptation

Photo of Eve seated in the splits on a stage.

Fifty years of adaption

Next year marks the 50th year that I’ve been practising yoga.

Sometimes when I say that to students in class, I’ll add: This is how someone turns out after doing this much practice.

It’s one of my weak jokes. I mean to say, I’m pretty healthy but I’m not a total paragon of health and fitness. I’m a seventy six year old with a collection of old injuries and medical conditions, and some of the infirmities of ageing.

The good thing about staying with yoga all these years is that those injuries, conditions and ageing have taught me how to adapt. They’ve all been teachers, shaping my approach to yoga, and even my attitude towards life. Yoga is an amazing discipline for helping you get in touch with yourself if you are willing to learn.

One of my greatest teachers has been the nearly twenty years I suffered from osteoarthritis.

As a result of being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, the outcome of which was going to be hip surgery, I began to learn about other healing systems.

I studied the sister science to yoga, Ayurveda, and consulted with Dr. Shaun Matthews. He recommended lifestyle and diet changes that I still adhere to.

I found some miraculous healers who work as physiotherapists. Nichole Hamilton is a specialist in hip dysfunction and trains other physiotherapists. She introduced me to the technique of craniosacral therapy. In her hands I was putty. I always felt spiritually integrated after her treatments.

Currently I have a small stable of brilliant local physios, Aaron Bailey and Meghan Maguire, who deal with my injuries as they inevitably arise.

I value acupuncture. After my hip diagnosis, I saw an acupuncturist who worked with the Sydney Dance Company’s ballet dancers. I underwent two hour-long treatments that involved being needled, heat lamps, massage, and electrodes that stimulated acupuncture points. I would be pain-free, sometimes for hours, and then sometimes, miraculously, for days. 

A lifetime of busyness and drivenness had me reappraise how much I was doing. In the 80’s and 90’s, I was managing a yoga school and teaching, running errands, keeping appointments, attending meetings, rushing in traffic, managing a home and fitting in a hectic social life. Cramming this much in, I was often tired and wouldn’t admit it. 

I really needed to relax!

Although I’d been teaching my students how to relax for years, I didn’t take the time to practice relaxation myself. I began listening to audio recordings by Dr. Richard C. Miller. I let myself surrender to his soothing voice. I still submit to Miller’s yoga nidra and to the meditations of Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I did workshops with Judith Hanson Lasater and Donna Farhi. I expanded my repertoire of restorative poses in my own practice and taught these to my students. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t take time out for several of these propped postures.

What does my practice look like now?

What I do now is very different from the decades when I subscribed to a strict Iyengar yoga practice. In my approach to my body and mind, I am gentler and more thoughtful in what I do on the yoga mat.

I’ve adopted several other strings for my health and fitness bow.

  • Loving kindness meditation, an everyday practice since 2016. My motivation comes from the meditation teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn. He says ‘You can think of the loving-kindness practice as tuning your instrument before you play it out in the world.’
  • Doubles tennis and tennis lessons, once a week.
  • Barre classes with Wendie Dawson, weekly.
  • Hour-long beach walks, several times a week.
  • Spinal movements sequences a la Simon Borg-Olivier
  • Free weights workouts, 3 x week.

And I’m still learning. In March, I’m attending a weekend workshop with Clive Sheridan in Port Macquarie. The workshop description says: Clive will guide us in deep and sensitive pranayama sessions, introducing certain important breathing rhythms. These rhythms, which are calming at the time of practicing them, gradually harness a deeper energetic vitality that awakens from within us.

Just the thing to inspire me for my next decades of yoga practice.

It’s been out of print for 15 or more years but now it’s back.  It’s available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices.  The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.

Electronic versions:

Paperback version:

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga.  Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.

Please send me feedback about the book.  I’d love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices.  And please review the book wherever you get it.  Reviews will help more people discover the book.

The Previous 3 Posts

Practice Loving Kindness in These Uncertain Times

Practice Loving Kindness in These Uncertain Times

At the beginning of 2020, I took on a powerful resolution: I would do a daily loving kindness meditation. I love this practice as a way of healing not just me, but all beings and the planet too. It’s a way of expanding the field of love and kindness on the planet. Never was it a more necessary practice than right now.

read more
The Beauty of Women: Twenty Years Sharing and Caring

The Beauty of Women: Twenty Years Sharing and Caring

I wish I could tell you what is so attractive about our women’s reunions. As they say, you’d have to be there. And be there over years and years as layers of trust and love are built. I can describe how our meetings make me feel: like a swim in the gentle and warm waters of a tiny sheltered bay. The reunions feel healthy and refreshing. Together we women create a pool of energy that we continue to dip into long after the reunion has finished or the ‘leave meeting’ button has been pushed.

read more
The Power of Rituals in COVID-19 Time

The Power of Rituals in COVID-19 Time

One of the blessings of this quiet Corona Time is my long-established yoga practice. I’ve always thought of my yoga practice as an investment, as good as superannuation. Nearly 50 years of practice, and I can call on my investment deal with the stress of self-isolation. There are other solid regular rituals, too: walking on the beach, dinner with my housemates, phone calls to the kids and to my family in the States.

read more

Classes and Workshops

I’m currently teaching two weekly classes on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales where I live. I also lead workshops here and in other parts of Australia.

Visit the Vault!

I’ve been regularly contributing to this blog since 2009.  There are now over 1250 posts about a very wide range of topics. Click here to explore.

Yoga Resources

Books, videos, teachers, websites, places to buy really hot yoga clothes (kidding), and generally anything I find that I think others might find useful.

A Bit About Eve

I’ve been teaching since I was 35. I’m now 73. In that time there have been a few changes. Click here if you want to find out a bit about my life.

Media

I know, I know.  Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely.  I’ve been no exception.  Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.

Shop

No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing.  I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet.  But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want.  Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.