This is the newsletter I never wanted to write. But here I am.
My beautiful teacher, friend and colleague Rosina Bonsu died on 02.02.2020, peacefully, and surrounded by family and friends. She was herself until the very last moment, when she asked for a dinner from Hug and Pint (one of her favourite Glasgow restaurants) and was dancing in her hospital bed.
I miss her and I have found this month to be the worst I have ever lived. I turn around to talk to her, I find myself longing for her voice, her laugh, her touch. I know she gave me the tools to bear this pain and sadness and, slowly, I am learning to put them into practice off the mat.
Rosina believed I could do much more than I believed I could do. Her trust was complete and unwavering. When I said I wanted to teach Mysore style, she gave me one of her own classes to lead on my own, totally confident that I would be ok in that situation, even if I was totally petrified. And of course, it was ok. I loved it. She made the distress I feel in inversions manageable, even disappear. She used to support me in headstand and actually kiss my feet upside down so I associated positive feelings with something I found so uncomfortable. She made sure I breathed and often made me sing the closing mantra upside down while everybody else had there feet on the ground. I loved that too.
She taught me to be a teacher in the most extraordinary way: by becoming my student. In the last 18 months, she regularly attended my Mysore and pranayama classes and showed me, with grace, that the boundary between teacher and student is porous, has to go both ways all the time. She was extremely generous, asking me to drop her back in my first ever Mysore (what a way to learn), showing me to assist her in intermediate poses I do not do in my practice. She trusted me with her own body. She saw each and everyone of us uniquely, as we are, and this made her the greatest teacher, the most considerate friend, the most supportive boss I have ever had.
Her legacy is extraordinary: she sowed love for decades and that love, which has been living inside each person, is now coming together in the most beautifully weaved net. She gave us breathing bones, which, at her studio Rosina Bonsu Moves, we hope to pick up when the time is right. She pulled together a fantastic team around her. I have Kate, Sue, Catherine, Maureen and Brian and talking to them, being taught by them and practicing with them has been a comfort. Just as she told me it would be. She taught us to be appropriate in each moment. She left us a community of practitioners that are dedicated, fun and considerate, each carrying a piece of her. She gave us a wonderful relation with our space hosts, the Arlington Baths, who have been very supportive. She introduced me to her teachers, Kia, Radha and Pierre and left us with a wide international family that has not allowed us to feel alone, because we are not. She offered us seeds to plant many beautiful moments in our lives and practices (lengthy coffeeasana, dinners, self-practice when the studio is closed). And this is only the yoga aspect. She also danced and taught dancers, choreographed, was a wife, an auntie, a friend to many, a thoughtful audience member…
I am sad she will not be here physically but I am beginning to learn to talk to her where she is, continuing to share in this new form she has taken. I need her in my life and she is still there, forever, in the me she changed so lovingly, in the me she pushes forward into the future with her gentle, clear hand. I love you Rosina.