Ode to Elliott

Posted By Mimi on Aug 28, 2011 in O2 Yoga Blog | 11 comments


Elliott in urdvha mukha padmasana

In the Beginning

Elliott and I have known each other for 8 years. I always remember when we met because he took a teacher training I taught with Beryl Bender Birch and I was pregnant with my son Deven, who is now turning 8. The somerville studio was in transition at the time. I began to realize that I really wanted all my teachers to be trained consistently. Up until that point, I had hired teachers who were trained in various ways and in various styles. I then thought I could get everyone to work together towards a common goal and become consistent in style and philosophy. I was completely wrong. Having teachers from different backgrounds created a sense of undermining and one-up-man-ship I never expected. I hadn’t expected this in yoga teachers. I guess I was naive. This was the beginning of my teacher training program.

At the time, I had a 1 year old and another baby on the way. I lived an hour away. Originally, I was supposed to have the help of my good friend Katie, who was the manager of the studio when we opened. Unfortunately, she had a change of heart and left Somerville soon after we opened the studio in 2001, right after my first son was born. I was determined to keep the studio going but was completely unprepared to be there as much as I would need to create a strong and supportive teaching staff. The first couple years were a bit lawless.

Back to Elliott

Back to Elliott, he stood out in the teacher training, he and Julie Murphy. Elliott had a passion and a humility that I found incredibly attractive. He was an eager student. He was comfortable being in that position. My existing teachers were incredibly talented but also resistant to learning anything new. They had huge egos and refered to the people that took their classes as their students.  I mean these guys had been teaching for maybe a year. It made me realize that I too had to be careful about maintaining humility. Whenever I get bothered by something, I often need to look at that very issue in myself.

Elliot and Julie were the first teachers to do the karma classes. I will always remember the first teacher meeting that Elliott attended. He was incredibly impatient with the other teachers when they started to get gossipy and off track. He was there to learn. Don’t get me wrong, Elliott and I have had our moments of insecurity and ego. But, along way, he and I developed a relationship of mutual respect and trust. He is as much my teacher as I am his.

Random Gifts

It has been my pleasure and my honor to work along side Elliott. He is not only an amazing and talented yoga teacher, he is an incredibly thoughtful and supportive friend. A few months ago, he gave me one of his random  gifts, a book on writing by Lynda Barry. (He knew I was starting the blog and thought it would be helpful.) It sat on my bedside table for months until recently,my son picked it up and started reading it. I sat down next to him and started to read it with him.  We were getting ready to leave for our sailing trip and I put the book in my bag. It is what has inspired me to start writing everyday. This book is filled with so much to think about, write about, and contemplate. It relates in many ways to yoga practice as well.

Elliott,I want to thank you for being such an supportive and steadying influence in my life. I am lucky to have you as my friend, teacher, and co-worker. You add so much to O2 Yoga.  With gratitude, Mimi.