- Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 02:21
Yesterday, the world lost a great treasure, and I lost a friend and mentor.
Betty Kalister was a true shining star of our little Knoxville yoga community. When I first moved to Knoxville a decade ago, she was teaching at the Rush, and her classes stood out as exemplary there in that gym setting where the expectations are a bit different than in most dedicated yoga studios. There were only two yoga studios in Knoxville then, and opportunities for studio teaching were limited. Her classes weren't just about getting a workout and taking care of yourself. They were an exploration of yoga. She travelled around the state and the country, gathering yogic wisdom, and then brought it back to us students. She brought us new poses and new ways to enter and to experience old poses. She wasn't just about the yoga when she was in the room. She was exploring all the time.
Betty was a brilliant mentor. Without pride, she was always willing to explore your questions with you. When I was going through my teacher training, she was my external mentor in that program -- the person whom I observed and assisted in her normal classes. She really went above and beyond, even typing up guidelines for assisting students during class. In later years, I was lucky enough to co-teach some workshops with her. I deeply enjoyed the repartee as we presented our sometimes competing viewpoints and hashed out the complexities of yoga together.
She also drew people together. It often seemed as though Betty knew everyone. If it weren't for Betty, I wouldn't have known about the Glowing Body opening up in 2008 or Aravinda in 2010, and so, even though Aravinda has since closed, I wouldn't have a practice teaching in Bearden or at the Glowing Body. Who knows what I'd be doing instead? Would I have even gone through teacher training without Betty's example and encouragement? To anyone who has been positively affected in the least bit by my yoga classes, you've got Betty to thank for it -- not just for the wisdom I've gained from her and passed to you, but for the fact that there was a class there at all.
Betty was able and willing to tell me when I was full of it, too. I didn't always listen, because I can be pretty stubborn, but I valued her insights. I wish I had told her more often how very important she is to me. It's too late to make up for that now, but I write this anyway.
Thank you, Betty, for your wisdom, intelligence, insight, caring, intuition, hard work, compassion, wit, energy, humility, and love. They were and are appreciated.
Thank you, Jackie, for sharing her with us. I'm so sorry for your losses.