FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Lakshmi (Judith) Mulder
Interview by Sara McElwain
Lakshmi (Judith) is a Yoga teacher with years of experience working in mental health.Through her years of teaching, personal practice and study, Lakshmi is inspired to guide Yoga students on their journey of well-being and believes that Yoga is a practice of self-healing leading to inner peace. Lakshmi is certified in Hatha Level I, Therapeutic Yoga, Deepening into Therapeutic Yoga and Integral Meditation.
What is your definition of Yoga?
Yoga is a practice of releasing and surrendering through relaxation; a journey through the regular practice of asana, pranayama, relaxation techniques, and meditation. It means letting go of competition and perfection and focusing inward, on how the body is feeling going into each pose, incorporating the breath into the pose, holding the pose, and coming out with attention. The breathing practices are the bridge between the mind and the body.
Yoga is a unification practice, first within ourselves and then with the Earth and the universe.
Yoga is a practice of sequenced poses, of moving with the breath, a deep relaxation to prepare the body and mind for meditation.
Yoga is a form of meditation that can be taken off the mat and then incorporated into our whole daily routine.
Yoga is a way to practice loving-kindness, to honor one another and ourselves.
Yoga is a practice of the awareness of a subtle existence that is a wonderful experience.
What do you love about Yoga?
First, how it makes me feel, physically and emotionally, but mainly the increased awareness that we are all connected and that there are many paths to realization. It brings peace and stillness to my life and helps me get through each day. It reminds me to question myself, to step back and continue to work on being a better listener and a better person, and to be of service to others.
Why do you teach Yoga?
Yoga makes me feel great, and I want to give others the same experience of peace and stillness for a few minutes in class or during their day. I hope they will want to continue the practice. Yoga makes me put my ego aside and let the universal guide work through me so that I say the right words and teach with clarity.
What are the particular areas of Yoga you are teaching in now or in which you have created your own, special offerings? What attracted you to those areas?
I taught a style of mat and chair Yoga for a group of mental health students and Chair Yoga for a group of blind or visually impaired mental health students for many years, leading them into deep relaxation and meditation. All three of these classes were in a continuing day treatment program. I am now tailoring Yoga and meditation for my private job as a coach for mental health clients to help them manage symptoms and stress by creating a series of grounding poses with guided meditation. I currently teach a monthly Restorative Yoga class at IYINY. I am especially attracted to Restorative Yoga because it is so healing and less competitive for the student. I love exploring energy techniques, which I believe are very powerful.
What do you hope students will receive from you as a teacher, and what do you hope students will get out of your coming offerings and workshops?
To let go of competition and that it is okay to release control and worry at least for the time they are in the class. I hope that the students will leave feeling more at peace because they have been able to get in touch with something deeper inside of themselves.
Do you have a favorite book or Yoga mat or product that you like, something you sincerely enjoy and wish to share with the teacher sangha?
All of my training manuals, To Know Your Self, Science of Breath, and The Golden Present are just a few of my favorite books. I cannot say that I have just one.
Ongoing classes at IYI: Restorative Yoga every second Sunday at 10:30 a.m.