On May 11, a career spanning more than 40 years was celebrated. The only thing is, to the recipient Felicity Green, it didn’t feel that long at all.
When Green was told in December that she was being awarded the “Lighting the way” award from the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United states, she objected.
“I didn’t think I deserved it, but then somebody said to me ‘how many students have you taught?” When Green considered this, she realized that averaging about 100 students a year meant a substantial total at this point in her career.
This history of yoga teaching, accompanied with volunteer work for the association, earned her the “Lighting the way” plaque of recognition .
Although a resident of Lopez, Green is originally from South Africa. It took a move to California in 1963 to first introduce her to yoga disciplines. Teaching followed almost by accident as friends joined her in her practice and she began offering pointers on form.
Yoga, therefore, played an important part in Green’s life even before the life-changing trip to India in 1970.
It was there that she and her husband saw a demonstration by french yoga practitioner Rishi. The demonstrated yoga was Iyengar. Green describes how watching Rishi’s form instantly clarified where she wanted to take her yoga “I thought, that’s the yoga I want to do, I could see that the way he moved was in tune with the integrity of the body.” Coming from a professional back ground of occupational therapy, this attention to physical detail was important to her.
Green went on to work with Rishi for four years, before completing another trip to India in 1976 for a three week intensive course of Iyengar. She never looked back.
Which is perhaps why now, with this award, it is appropriate to do so. Over the intervening years between starting in earnest with Iyengar, and buying her Lopez property in the late 80’s, Green taught, contributed, and perpetuated the Iyengar discipline. Where once it was a small collection of practicers, now it is global and popular.
Green no longer teaches yoga to the extent she did, opting more to help people in a therapeutic way. Using her past experiences as an occupational therapist she aids people with physical pain, who do not necessarily want to convert to practicing yoga seriously.
It seems that even outside the realms of strict yoga disciplines, Green is still providing a guiding light for those that need it.