I have been practising yoga for the past 15 years. I distinctly remember my first yoga class at University; the awkwardness of arranging my body into new positions, learning how to breathe, and my dear friend Ben snoring deeply as he lay exhausted on the yoga mat.
A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.
Although my yoga teacher Ellie was quite new to her teaching practice, there was something deeply sincere about her style of yoga which left a deep and lasting impression on me.
Over the years my yoga practice continued as I relocated to Sydney, London and then Amsterdam. I searched hard to find teachers who had Ellie’s genuine, flow and presence. There was something about her style which captivated me.
I wouldn’t have thought that finding a yoga teacher would be so difficult since there is a certain expectation that yoga teachers have a natural disposition to connect with their students.
Whilst I still continued to enjoy the different classes and teaching styles, along my journey I also encountered some awful yoga teachers. I remember a popular teacher at a prominent yoga school in Bali who was more interested in making the class competitive than focusing on individual needs – during one pose she physically forced my body into such an unnatural position that it caused me great pain for weeks afterwards.
After this experience, I wasn’t expecting too much from my yoga classes. I only expected to get a good work out, a de-stressing session and an opportunity to improve my flexibility.
Thankfully things changed when I moved to Amsterdam and joined my local gym in Amsterdam Oost.
The yoga class that I attended with Tabita Orsel was yin yoga – this was my first time encountering this type of yoga, it’s slow, but powerful – and fantastic for the wandering mind. Over time as the sessions developed it brought me a great sense of inner peace and increased flexibility.
A class with Tabita Orsel was very much an eye-opener. She paid attention to individual needs – and even discovered that I had scoliosis in my spine.
She had a graceful presence and it was clear that she had been practising yoga for a long time, but more important than that was that she had a real love of yoga and the spiritual life was very much part of what she lived and breathed.
Too often yoga teachers strive for the look of perfection over realness, to become some kind of guru who live their lives in a constant blissful state.
There is something uniquely refreshing about a teacher who is open and real about their own daily struggles – this allows the student to use yoga to work through their challenges to ultimately experience the silence and the softness within themselves.
This was the kind of yoga style and teacher that I could finally connect with and allow myself to learn from in everyday life.
As Tabita explains;
Before I started my education I had a busy, stressful life full of unhealthy patterns. I was not in contact with my feeling and body. By softness and love for myself. I have learned to listen to my body needs. Thus, I fell on my way up and transformed my lifestyle.
For more information on Tabita Orsel and her yoga or healing massage classes, please visit; http://joyoflightyoga.nl/