The story goes that it is not uncommon for John Friend to ask a student, “Who’s your teacher?” during one of his Anusara Yoga workshops. To his experienced legion of teachers, this comes more as an inquiry about THEM than the particular individual being questioned. And as such, there are lighthearted jokes in the Anusara yoga kula ~ but with a very real undercurrent ~ when someone playfully chimes, “Who’s your teacher?”
My teacher, Christina Sell, reminded us of that sentiment frequently in the weeks leading up to John’s visit to Austin last fall. “You know what I’ve taught you,” she’d admonish, “… so do it!” But it was more than simply wanting to “look good” as our teacher. Christina believes that her role is to teach Anusara Yoga culture as well as the methodology. She wanted us to know what to expect and how to behave not just in John’s workshop, but in any setting with seasoned Anusara Yoga teachers and practitioners. With the ferocity of a mother duck quacking at the feet of her ducklings so that they can safely navigate a busy intersection, Christina shared the wisdom of her experience to help us successfully navigate a John Friend workshop.
Lately, her travel schedule has afforded many more students the benefit of that wisdom. Yet this leaves those of us in Austin without her guiding “quack.” I’ve used this time as an opportunity to explore some other proverbial intersections in the yogic world, and last week ventured into a “non” Anusara Yoga class at the studio where I practice. While I didn’t know the particular teacher, I recognized her from one of Christina’s recent classes that she’d also attended. She came over to me and introduced herself, then added with a nervous laugh, “You’re one of Christina’s students. I don’t want YOU in my class.” I smiled at her reassuringly and casually dismissed it.
Still, as I closed my eyes, I joined my hands in anjali mudra with a prayer of acknowledgment and gratitude. “Who’s MY Teacher?”… Christina Sell.