The following was written in remembrance of longtime Inner Fire Yogi Christine Brophy.
Every once in a great while, you meet someone that makes you take a second look at what you are doing IN and WITH your life. It may be that she asks you some hard questions; the answers to which aren’t ready on your lips. Or perhaps, she shares something heavy with you not because she wants your counsel, but because it might make you a better human, knowing this ‘thing.’ As it turns out, she’s right. It does. And then, after these separate conversations, you unroll your mat next to her one day for a 90 minute Hot Yoga practice; something you had done many times before with her, but without the context of who this woman was. And it changes you.
Christine practiced yoga with such palpable courage and strength; I was drawn to watching her. One day I suggested she think about teacher training. In her practice, she was so adroit at the details, and diligent in her focus that I thought she might be interested in unpacking that gift and teaching others. She said she would think about it and then asked me 3 questions that I have been thinking about ever since. 1. What if you don’t have your act together; how do you teach an authentic class? 2. When you don’t feel like teaching, what do you think about to get your head right? And 3. Do you ever get bored? These were really honest questions that deserved honest, candid answers. Answers I didn’t have canned and ready to give. I realized I needed to think about these kinds of things instead of auto-piloting my teaching. To this day, the best, most profound yoga classes I have taken are the ones in which the teacher lets you walk along the edge of his or her heart and see both the chasms and the summits. Christine opened my eyes to this.
Shortly after this conversation, Christine shared with me some struggles from her life that carried great gravitas.I will always remember this because it stirs me still: “I’m telling you this,” she said, “not because I want advice. I have all that I need there. I’m telling you because someday, you will find my pain useful in making you a better wife, mother, daughter, sister.” It was so courageous of her to share herself with me and so intuitive of her to know it would improve me. I am grateful for her quiet wisdom.
We practiced next to each other in Dr. Ruddy’s class 2 years ago. My daughter had just turned 1, and I was so happy to be TAKING a yoga class, but I was exhausted and emotionally raw. Christine noticed, and when we walked in together, I intentionally laid my mat next to hers. Throughout the class I found myself riding on the wave of her energy. I would feel myself wilting, and I would feel her surge. I have no doubt she was sending energy my way. Christine’s palpable courage and strength carried me through that class. Because I knew a slice of her, and her mother’s heart, I felt especially lifted up on that day. She knew I needed it, and shared what she had. After class, she stopped me and gave me a sideways sweaty hug and said “Motherhood is the only thing that gets easier and harder at the same time.” In 3 separate but equally powerful moments at Inner Fire Yoga, Christine changed me.
Her honesty, strength, and bravery will always be a light to me in my teaching, my yoga practice, and in my life.
Thank you, Christine.