As we lead up to the 8 Limbs 15 Year Anniversary in October, we’ll be sharing stories that make up the fabric of 8 Limbs from myself (the founder), 8 Limbs staff, and of course yoga practitioners that have come to 8 Limbs over the years. If you have a story to share, send it to me at annephyfe@8limbsyoga.com with 8 Limbs Story in the subject line. I can’t promise we’ll share them all, but I can promise I will read each and every one. I love a good story. For now, here’s the story of My Yoga Teacher(s).

I found my first yoga teacher through my African dance teacher. The practices Kathleen led were so incredibly difficult, and so deeply spiritual that I was soon hooked and devoted. After a few years I yearned for a teacher who was able to link this ancient practice with our modern understanding of psychology and offer me insight into the workings of my mind. For a long time I was without one teacher. I studied with many amazing yoga masters and devoured and digested their teachings, especially those in the Krishnamacharya linegage. Some fed me as a teacher, others as a student.

In 1999 I was intrigued by a workshop on the chakras and the subtle body with Shari Friedrichsen, a teacher from Portland. I felt curiously drawn to the content. After just a few hours I knew that she was the teacher for me. I asked and she fortunately accepted. I followed Shari to Portland for classes, studied with her when she visited Seattle, and called on the phone when I needed guidance. At the time Shari had been taking a break from having a formal yoga teacher after learning from greats like BKS Iyengar and Angela Famer and had studied on her own for more than five years. I could feel the authenticity of her teaching. It so clearly came from deep exploration rather than regurgitation. It also helped me to sift through what I had been learning with others and clarify what my own special gifts as a teacher were. She helped me to become my own teacher.

In 2004 I came upon my other teacher in much the same way. I signed up for a 6-day conference in Olympia and chose Rod Stryker as my main track to learn about Tantra, the Gunas, and the Koshas without having met him or read anything by or about him. I felt immediately connected to a very deep well of knowledge and knew that something beyond that was also being transmitted.

Here I had two amazing teachers as resources and guides to my studies, one that nourished my emotional, intuitive, and female side and the other who helped me tap into discerning power and my more male attributes.
As it turned out, by cosmic chance the two of them had come to study with the very same teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, head of The Himalayan Institute. The teachings from the Tantric tradition are vast and limitless. I am continually amazed at their relevance as I “study up” to teach the Intro to Rod’s weekend to our 500-hour Teacher Training Participants. I feel very fortunate to have this deep well to draw from in my teaching and personal life. What I have learned from both of them has been so nourishing and supportive of a balanced and mindful life.

I invite all of you to join me next weekend, October 7-9, for a weekend of Yoga with Rod Stryker at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill. These classes are accessible to practitioners of all levels as they go beyond asana (posture) and deep into practices and teachings that can immediately enhance your life. Don’t miss it. Really.

Rod will also give a short talk and sign copies of his new book The Four Desires (Random House) on Saturday, October 8, 5-6pm at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill (free event).

Interested to hear more about having/finding a teacher? Check out The Guru Question or Mariana Caplan’s Insights at the Edge podcast

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

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