So glad that you were here...Thank you, Alex Austin...

I don't really believe that there are any good-byes in yoga or in life. If a teacher inspires you, it stays with you. You hear that special phrase or feel that specific pose and adjustment long after the class has ended. Yoga is a union of mind and body, so it makes sense that your memory of a great teacher would be so strong. It isn't just in your mind, your muscles are remembering right along with you.

I could be practicing yoga in the middle of a desert with no one around or with 100+ other people in a packed studio, but when my body hits chair pose, I can hear Alex Austin's voice in my head say "fierce." It happens in every class. Always. It makes me smile. (And it is fierce!) Or when any teacher asks me to grab a toe (which isn't exactly in my asana repertoire...yet) and I just grab my knee. I hear Alex in my head say "no one cares about your toe." It's true. Nobody does.

Alex has been an enormous part of my practice for the past six months. And beyond the great big "yoga moment" of my first real handstand, Alex has been there for a lot of little moments. I have taken about 50 classes with Alex - with good days and bad days, stay in child's pose forever days and hip hop handstand flying warrior days. Oh, and after those 50 classes, I finally got the abs I had always wanted (yoga bonus!). In his own gentle way, Alex slowly taught me to own my practice, to try but not to push, and to be honest about the moment you are experiencing on your mat on a given day. And because of that, I am stronger, more confident, and happier in my practice. I am so very grateful.

The collective Boston sigh of sadness when Alex announced his decision to move back to Arizona could be heard three states away.

We are all so sad that you are leaving.

But I'm so glad that you were here.

Even if it was for just eight short months. People come into your lives at various times because it is meant to be that way. You needed them. It mattered right at that moment. And at the moment our paths crossed, I was at a huge inflection point in my yoga practice, at work, and in life.

Last class with Alex at SASY, 1.22.11

On my desk at work, right in front of my keyboard, I have a small piece of paper taped down with these Alex-isms printed on it as reminders for outside of class:

Take your ego off your mat (or your desk)
Calm Mind. Open Heart.
Your Breath. Your Body. Your Practice.
Just be.
Open up to the beauty that's around you. Open up to the beauty that's within you.

Alex brought many things to many people in Boston. For me, it was a more peaceful way of being, a deeper love of yoga, and a lighter heart.

And those aren't small things.

A short time. A big impact. And one awesome excuse to visit Arizona multiple times a year.

I'm so glad that you were here. 

For your beautiful practice. For your wonderful energy. For your sweet vibe and loving groove.

For sharing it with us.

Thank you, Alex. Many, many, many thanks.


Last Class photo 1.22.11 (courtesy of the Sassy Yogini)

-Grateful Yogi