Our world, and us living in it, is curiously attached to staying in it, considering the way we, as a society, tend to hang on to life, often well beyond expire date. How can we embrace life holistically if it does not include a firm connection and, commitment, to dying? Before going further down that road; this post is a brief mention of another kind of end. After a long time of teaching yoga in Stellenbosch, nearly 25 years of learning from yoga and sharing my discoveries around it, my present journey with yoga is destined to be focussed by the seaside of Muizenburg beach.
This is a journey focussed on a certain quality of life, just like the quarter of century of yoga in the winelands against the mountains was for me a lifestyle practice. So this end is not so much about dying, rather about celebrating, ends bringing new beginnings. Most importantly is this quality: when I arrived in Stellenbosch in the beginning of 1990 I was freshly armed with a little yoga instruction book I taught myself from. I was sold on the postures, meditation and most of all the philosophy. It definately was something worth sharing. I don’t remember the exact dates, venues and all the details of all the persons I came into contact with from then, to now. There were the ups and downs of making a small business work and frustrations of finding suitable studio spaces. I remember best the celebration of countless yoga sessions, wonderful times on dozens of farms, church halls, proper studio’s, gymnasiums, community halls, homes, lounges, parks and… I can almost just say any available place in and around town.
Over the years students came and went, a few only pitched for 1 or 2 sessions. There were literally 1 000’s through the doors of the university, and the High Rustenburg Hydro – great opportunities to work with people outside of the local community. And there will be people from the community in my class this Wednesday that were also there at least some 15 years ago. Some swear they will never enjoy someone else’s yoga classes and I am flattered but really, when the student is ready then the teacher will appear. And when the teacher is ready, the students are there. I know, because even when I started as a enthusiastic, unqualified self-taught teacher with those early classes in friends living rooms, teaching yoga today still teaches me the same lessons, week after week – that every class is an honour, a labour of love. With every class I enable myself to grow in my life practice of yoga, and maintain my personal growth through the interactions with others. It is a lifestyle-workstyle thing, for the student of yoga, and the teacher, in a sense, one and the same thing. I am so used to taking classes before and after my day job, or taking classes as my main job, for so long now, that it is less clear whether yoga supports my passions for music and creativity and business, or the other way round. Perhaps this is just as it should be.
I am blessed to have had all these opportunities and so many students in my life. I loved all the different possibilities invented by neccsity by the limitations of teaching a sub sub genre of underground lifestyle seemingly square-on different to a society that was never exactly embracing of yoga. I salute all of those who ever bothered to step out of the ordinary into the extrodinary world of a yoga class with me. I wish for you to keep stepping into that world, and celebrate every day of the rest of your living years, to celebrate the dying of the old, and the living of the present.
Johann, Muizenburg, 6 October, 2014.