Jude Monteserrato on the Power of Finding a Good Yoga Teacher
We've heard the adage, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," but there's not much talk about how to get ready.
It takes a certain opening of the consciousness, according to one master, Aadil Palkhivala (see vid below). To achieve this consciousness, particularly in the West, first a heart-centering is required.
The U.S. is one of the most depressed countries in the world, according to a recent report by U.S. News. It is third behind India and China in areas most affected by anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Although these three lands are abundant with enlightened thought, the reality is that most people are still struggling to live the "dream."
Necessity is the mother of all invention, they say. Perhaps that is why so many people turn to wellness practices, like yoga. Yogic knowledge, for example, has gestated for the past 5,000-plus years and each decade it evolves to keep pace with the exponential increase in our attachment to technology.
Jude Monteserrato, a New York-bred yoga teacher who now lives in Rhode Island spoke to UWM about her own centering.
Her heart was broken vastly open with the sudden loss of her husband on 9/11. So expansive, in fact, she imagined it "shattered."
She turned to yoga to maintain that openness in the most healthy, happy, whole way possible. She studied with Palkhivala and earned 2,000-plus hours of training that is the foundation of her home-studio business.
How to recognize a teacher.
Once you've begun your own practice -- through books, videos, or dropping into a class -- the next step is to "find" the one(s) who will guide you along your path.
It is essential to work with a teacher who lives their modality (IRL, not only during IG photo ops), bearing in mind that with yoga, for example, asana is simply 1/8th of the practice.
“Yoga is not to be performed, yoga is to be lived.” - Aadil Palkhivala
Begin this step by checking with a trusted (by you), credible (according to everyone else) source.
"I met Aadil at the NYC Yoga Journal conference approximately 10 years ago," Monteserrato recalls. It was nearly 10 years into her grieving process.
"I went to check out this 'guy' who was featured in Yoga Journal magazine. I witnessed his entrance into the room as he approached his assistant. From across the room, I sensed a uniqueness about him.
"He immediately stated, 'Yoga is about living from the heart.' My soul smiled within.
"Aadil reminded me of why I began yoga in 2003. The sacred practice of yoga was intended to open and help me live from my heart. Sadly, as I experienced the workshop with Aadil, I acknowledged, I was losing my true reason to practice and teach yoga.
"The initial motive," Monteserrato says, "was purely to connect with my spirit, open my armored heart, become me, and live my dharma (purpose) fully from the loss of John, 'my husband' on 9/11/01. This tragedy filled me with deep sadness, lost, confusion... a shattered heart, which landed me onto a yoga mat."
How to know when it's time to find a master.
"Is there something missing in your yoga practice, your life?" Monteserrato asks. "Do you feel stagnant in your practice, your life? Are you looking for the deeper meaning of yoga? Do you ponder the questions, Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?"
Those feelings and questions are timers for the soul, signaling that you are "ready."
"Aadil, a true Master, teaches the essence of yoga," she says of her own journey recognizing the qualities of a "good" teacher.
"It is always a blessing to study with him. He shares his abundant wisdom with humor, gentleness and kindness. He provides the tools for introspection, awareness, connection with your soul, and fulfillment of your dharma. He will offer many gems to enhance the joy and love in your life.
"Attend any of his workshops or lectures and you will leave feeling alive, confident and grateful. Whether you are beginning yoga, a seasoned practitioner of any style of yoga, your time with him will be extremely beneficial as you learn how to integrate yoga into your life."
Ultimately, you'll then recognize, your true teacher is you.
For a deep and healing heart-centering practice, first [re]train your lumbar spine with this video from Aadil:
Jude Monteserrato attended her first 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2006 to deepen her practice and continue to grow as a person. She now teach classes, workshops, teacher trainings and individuals privately in her home studio. Her teaching has also expanded to other studios, corporate offices, and grief and cancer support groups. She enjoys sharing her love of cooking whole, natural, simple and delicious food by offering guidance and recipes to students.
She began studying with Aadil Palkhivala and Savitri, founders of the College of Purna Yoga, in 2008 and received 200-hour, 500-hour, 2,000 hour and yoga therapist certifications.