Last month I sent all of my dad’s students an audio recording of his yoga class as a thank you for all of their love and support last year. I received many wonderful replies of gratitude and today one show up in my inbox that I have to share.
I am so proud of my Poppa’s legacy, and I happened to wake up this morning feeling immensely grateful for the hundreds of hours I got to spend on the mat with him guiding me through a challenging and safe yoga practice. I have not maintained my practice since his passing, which I know he would make him want to kick my butt. My attempts have brought up so many powerful emotions that a couple of poses usually leads to a long bout of tears and I retreat from the pain I am now ready to set my intention to begin listening to the recordings, be uplifted by the joy and passion in his voice, and start healing my body and heart with the tools he gave me. Or at least, that is the intention I’m setting.
Dear Chyna and Susan,
Greetings, my name is Heather and I knew Albert from his teaching yoga at the MAC. I attended Albert’s classes quite regularly from about 2002-2004. I fell out of a regular practice when I had my son, Shiv, and by the time I returned Albert had moved on. I don’t quite know where to start, but because once you know Albert, a lot goes without explaining, so I guess I can jump in just about anywhere.
I have felt compelled to write ever since getting the initial news about Albert having cancer. I can’t say exactly why I didn’t, maybe because it’s so hard to know what to say in the face this kind of loss. With every update I’d revisit that intention… and then not follow through. When I received your latest email sharing Albert’s voice recording of a yoga practice, I knew I must respond. Maybe because it’s the start of a new year, maybe knowing that there could not be another nudge or opportune moment, definitely being given the gift of Albert’s voice guiding one through a practice was the clincher.
My husband, Punit, was born and raised in India in a Hindu family and as a result has a unique insight into certain constructs that have been popularized; for example the idea of ‘karma’. He’s much more eloquent than I am in explaining his understanding, but I’ll attempt to share it with you: Punit describes karma as the effect we have on others, and in turn, how that ripples through their actions and effect on others. Albert created very strong karma in his role as a teacher of yoga. While I never did find a subsequent yoga practice as fulfilling, I was able to take Albert’s teaching with me into every yoga class I ever attended afterwards. No matter how well intentioned, yet lesser of a teacher, whose class I went to, I could hear Albert’s voice ticking off the checklist of alignment, quality of breath to accompany moment, keeping me safe and focused. I am not alone. I’ve shared this same experience with other students who in turn, echoed that same sentiment. This is a remarkable gift to bestow and I am thankful to him for sharing it. I did not say this when Albert had the time to hear it, I am sorry for that. I can however thank you both for sharing it again, thereby growing that karma even more.
I wish you both the best in recovering from his loss, I don’t even know what to add to that. While physically not present in this world, the karma Albert seeded is still around you in all of us.