I am so excited to offer you my interview with a woman I call my fairy godmother, BJ Galvan. BJ is a beautiful bright light, full of love and always willing to share.
I had the good fortune of meeting BJ in Christchurch, New Zealand during one of the darkest periods in my personal life. Over the course of the workshop that she was leading, we played together, laughed together and had great fun in a time when I didn’t think fun was possible for me.
Several months later, still in that same challenging phase of my life, we ran into one another when we were both participants at an Anusara workshop in LA. I was alone and sad. Without indulging my state, BJ took me under her wing and cared for me like one of her own even though she barely knew me. I am forever indebted to her for that kindness, love and strength. She seemed to expect I was going to be ok and so didn’t feel the need to go on about it – she just mirrored my strength back to me when I wasn’t able to see it.
This year, we are so lucky that BJ is coming back to teach Immersion 3 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Get in touch with Katie Lane and come join the fun!
How did you get into yoga?
I had been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for years. Everyone always said I should try yoga because I had a deeply spiritual outlook on life. I thought yoga was ‘stretching’ and until there was yoga at my fitness center never sought it out. I tried several classes and none of them resonated with me.
When I turned 40, almost exactly on my birthday, a friend said a teacher who was one of the best in Phoenix would start teaching at our gym, at 6:00 am. He said I HAD to try it, I would LOVE it. I respected the friend and even though it was early in the morning, something said go.. so I went.
He was right! The first class I made a connection with my teacher, I experienced an opening and knew this is what I would do the rest of my life. After 15 years of aerobics and personal training, I immediately quit. I went from zero yoga to yoga 5-6 days a week, Ashtanga 2-3 hrs a day overnight. I loved yoga, everything about it.
During the first year of my yoga practice, I had many awakenings. I had a few dreams I would teach yoga. One day shortly after the dreams I was standing at the front of my mat waiting to sing the Vande, the ashtanga chant my teacher led before class. We were all standing in Samasthithi anjali mudra and he looked over at me straight in the eye and said, “BJ, when are you going to start teaching yoga?”. I was surprised that he tapped into that, but I signed up for the next teacher training at the eclectic studio, which happened to be an Anusara based teacher training. I subbed my first class the first week of the at the time teacher training.
Once I experienced the inner expansion of Anusara’s heart based philosophy, the opening from the way the alignment principles propelled my practice to new levels, and made the family of friends in the Anusara community, I knew it was my Sadhana, my path of my Truth. I loved it.
What was your certification journey like?
The certification path was highly transformational and challenging. It tested everything I believed in about myself and life, and was a threshold into the great awakening to my highest potential and possibility. It was the sweetest, hardest and the most joyful process I ever embarked on, it felt much like a birth.
The energy was so big when I was certified it was a huge life milestone, much like the birth of a child, or wedding. I knew the actual certification was only the very beginning. It was one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life, and that is putting it lightly.
Which Universal Principle of Alignment and/or Loop challenges you most? How have you worked with that challenge?
1st Principle, and Kidney Loop. During the hatha asana practice, I focus on my breath, the pause, softening to my inner Light, foundation, staying in alignment with the greater Flow of Grace always present. I then work on how to move in the highest way with it so it is not effortful, me doing it, but me following, Graceful. I continually remind myself of the Higher reason I practice and reming myself to soften into my back body and do my best to move from that infinite Source that holds me. It is a constant remembrance of the highest purpose of the practice and staying sensitive the Shakti. (Power of Consciousness)
What has your Yoga Inventure revealed about who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life?
This is it. I’m doing it as long as it is serving the highest, as long as I love what I do, as long as there is expansion and Shri (value, abundance, meaning) I will continue stepping into the invitation of Yoga and offering it. Such a huge gift from Anusara yoga and John Friend is the recognition that I am an expression of divine Consciousness and with Grace (the Shakti) I am an empowered co-creator of my life. It is my choice how to engage life and express beauty, Love and art in the world, in the highest way to create Shri. This is it, not something else!