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Whose Life Is It Anyway? Ramblings on life, yoga, romance, money, sex, life, yoga, art, music, life and life.

What makes a teacher?

In July, my teacher Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen is coming to teach at our studio. I don’t think she could possibly understand what that means to me. This wisp of a woman has changed my life in so many ways.

When people ask me why I love Bonnie so, what in particular is special about her teaching, I have no need to think: yes, she has taught me things about the body and movement that I could never have dreamt; yes, she has filled my mind with anatomy and philosophy and so much more; but beyond this, the teaching she has offered and that I had not gotten from any other was… how to “be”. Nothing exists without presence. Yes, you can meet a person or go to a place, but the level of presence you hold within that space relates directly to the depth of your “knowing”.

I remember one such occasion at one of Bonnie's workshops in Massachusetts, when the classes were small and intimate, and we felt like a little family. The days were filled with rolling around and bouncing on balls and moving like starfish. Within all of that we mostly hung on her words, and sat eager for her touch. On this one day she held my hand. It may sound crazy, but it felt as if the eternal mother was holding me. She never even said a word. We simply shared space. She taught me everything possible in that single moment. If I never saw her again, it wouldn’t matter, because it was left to me to cultivate in myself that which she so generously offered.

In this we are all teachers — and students. Whenever we bring with us our true presence, we are both open to receive and grow as well as offer ourselves up. My learning from Bonnie was never about how many notebooks I could fill with her words… She gave me my life’s lesson with a simple touch.