Yoga Awakening Africa first posted this interview in September 2012 on our previously designed blog.
We are sharing this again with the SA Yoga community, and beyond, because although I believe Jim needs no formal introduction being a revered teacher and much loved in the yoga community, I do think that if you are an avid Yoga practitioner and teacher, then it is worth your while to get to know him if you have not yet had the opportunity.
Jim is deserving of the love and respect he has in the community. He continues his endeavour of growth, learning, sharing, educating and enabling teachers to expand their own knowledge, practice and teaching. It is no wonder he is known as ” the teacher’s teacher.” Jim is one of the very few teachers in Cape Town to offer an advanced teacher training course of 500 hours, which also includes a module in Rishikesh, India. He is also the only teacher to teach the Yoga Synergy style in South Africa. In addition he offers various and numerous workshops throughout the year covering Anatomy and Physiology as well as retreats exploring the re-connection of eastern and ancient yoga traditions with modern day Yoga.
Jim continues to contribute to the SA community and as a result giving us many offerings of classes, workshops, trainings and retreats to enrich our practice and teaching. This year his patient persistence has rewarded the SA community with the forthcoming visit of Simon Borg-Olivier, master yoga teacher, scientist and co-director of Yoga Synergy.
Jim’s hard work and love of Yoga is testament to his commitment to teach us to be mindful, aware and better Yoga practitioners and teachers – on and off the mat.
Here is his interview from 2012:
October 1966, Sydney, Australia.
What style of yoga do you teach?
A mixture of influences. Based in Ashtanga and Taoist yoga, I work with whichever tools in the toolbox will work for the job.
Where do you teach?
Cape Town, India, Jo-Burg and Bali sometimes. I specialize in Teacher Training Courses and pro sports teams.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
About 25 years. Yoga mats were not invented then and teachers were scarce.
How long have you been teaching yoga?
Since 1993. The past ten years in Cape Town.
Who have you trained with and where?
It’s a long list. I was self taught at first and picked up whatever I could find from anyone who seemed to know something about yoga. Main Influences were Iyengar style with Bramacharya, Rudra Dev in Rishikesh, a Saddhu Baba with no name in the Himalayas, Master Lee in Taiwan, Tan Santikaro, Clive Sheridon, Simon Borg- Olivier, Bianca Machliss, Shandor Remete, Danny Paradise and Shimon Ben Avi.
What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I started teaching friends in Sydney 1993 after three years of learning in Asia. I didn’t really know much but a close friend was very sick with M.E. so I took it upon myself to try to help him with daily yoga. It worked and he got back to full strength in 6 weeks. That proved to me the potential for healing with yoga.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love the results of yoga practice. It makes people light up and lighten up. I like to see light bulbs switch on.
Is there a focus in your teaching style?
Recently I have been working with a lot of pro sportsmen, so I guess that is a focus. It’s about adaptation. I draw on lots of tools to help the individual get the most out of the yoga practices. More generally, my focus is quite physical. I use yoga to balance out the body’s strength and flexibility. This brings vitality and the ability to be still. Ultimately, the mental stillness trumps everything else.
What do you love most about yoga?
Sitting quietly and playing on the edge.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?
Fear. Surfing big waves can be terrifying. I use mantra and breath focus to stay calm. Yoga has taught me that any moment is going to pass. No matter how uncomfortable, it can be gotten through.
Phone: +27 826425256