I am Heidi. I relocated from South Africa to Australia in April 2017 and was blessed to have started teaching yoga in the same year, although initially not at Align Studio.
We all have a ‘story’ or two to tell, and the various stories make up the rich fabric of our lives:
I come from an academic background – having obtained a post-graduate degree in ‘Dutch Literary Studies’ and having lectured at a university in South Africa for approximately 30 years. However, I was not singing the song of my soul. Deep in my soul the whisper started that beyond knowledge there is a deep knowing that connects us to all of life. That divine restlessness prompted me to enroll for various part-time diploma courses in Interior Design and in then in healing, completing an international course in Swedish Massage, and national courses in Hot Stone Massage, Indian Head Massage and Reiki.
I stumbled upon yoga, or rather: yoga stumbled upon me in my later years in life as a so-called co-incidence when the son of one of my best friends invited me to join him and the then owner of the local macrobiotic shop for a yoga session. The sessions were taught at the latter person’s home, and he probably planted the seed, because after one or two sessions, he said: “Heidi, you must teach yoga.”
And yet, it took a few more years before I was able to retire from the university and was able to enroll for an intensive 6-week yoga diploma course on the east coast of South Africa – a course taught by a teacher trainer from Bali. When I contacted her to enroll for the course, I asked her whether I was not ‘too old’ to enroll for it. Her reply: “Yoga has no age!” The beauty of yoga is that it does not care about your age, the shape of your body, your race, gender, class, level of proficiency, or whatever - yoga just ‘is’.
Coming to terms with your own limitations, e.g. ageing, injuries, waning lack of flexibility or strength is a humbling and also enriching experience, because the more ego goes, the more yoga flows. I certainly cannot perform certain asanas (postures) like I used to be able to, and there are many that I will never be able to do in this lifetime, and that really is ok. Not only do I not compare myself any longer with other yogis who can perform pretzel-like asanas, but I also no longer compare my present self with my former self. I enjoy the sheer joy that yoga gives me here and now, and I hope to transmit that joy to yogis coming to my classes. What lights me up as an instructor is when I notice practitioners ‘becoming’ yoga instead of ‘doing’ yoga – the beauty when you witness the outer and the inner alignment of a student in harmony with each other.
Yoga certainly has given me more physical strength, flexibility and balance, but as I am getting older the mental/spiritual/metaphysical aspects of yoga seem to have become equally (or even more!) meaningful. It is this part of yoga that I particularly enjoy embodying in my teaching at the moment, bringing together and making whole the world of matter and the world of non-matter. I also like to focus on the synchronicity between movement and breath in my teaching.
Off the mat I enjoy walking on the beach, listening to classical and other music and to spiritual talks, and reading, especially the work of Eckhart Tolle and OSHO.