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Staff Spotlight: Remembering My Teachers— Julie Huffman

Julie Huffman

We have all been students and have had many teachers. As students, we remember those teachers who have given gifts that we take with us throughout our lives. It’s the little stuff—the details we learn that inspire us to find our passions.

My parents were my first teachers. They taught me right from wrong, unconditional love, and how to make my way into the world. In elementary school my teachers taught me to read, the rules of English, and that my first answer is usually the correct one. Teachers at church, band instructors, piano teachers, swim coaches, dance teachers, and scout leaders created impressions upon me and shaped me into the person I have become. Even my dog, Roxie, teaches me to stop and learn from nature.

It only made sense that I decided to be a teacher. I came from a family of teachers. My dad was a professor of Western Civilization at William Woods College; my mother was a middle school teacher at Missouri School for the Deaf; and my sister taught kindergarten for 34 years. I have taught swimming, cheerleading, Sunday school, and after school youth programs. I also taught elementary school for 10 years before becoming a mother and teaching my own son.

About 20 years ago, I took my first yoga class. My teacher suggested I continue to take classes and keep practicing. I took several teacher trainings through YogaFit. One of my teachers taught me to take my yoga off of the mat. Another taught me the alignment of Warrior II. And yet another taught me Ujjayi pranayama. In a workshop with Paula Tortolana Self, I learned a technique to open my knees. Aadil Palkivala told us to always remove our shoes before entering the house. Judith Hansen Lasater said we are all beginner yoga students. All are details—small yet really important stuff that I will always remember.

Two teachers inspired me enough to take a 200-hour yoga teacher training. These are the two teachers I admire and respect the most. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to be a student in their yoga classes for the past 10 years. They taught me the skills and attributes required to be an effective teacher: developing a daily practice with meditation, learning the physical postures and how to model them, teaching to the level of my students, proper sequencing of a class, utilizing props for comfort, and always being present with the students in class. I am grateful for the desire and passion they cultivated in me to be a forever growing teacher of yoga. Thank you Bonnie Yonker, Jennifer French, and all of the talented teachers at The Yoga Sanctuary for teaching me all of the details and small stuff it takes to be a yoga teacher. It all adds up to big stuff.