James Happe

Johannesburg 06
South Africa

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"I started yoga by mistake. I was interested in a Tai Chi class at the Lim Rim buddhist centre and thought the yoga would be a great warm up since there was a yoga class scheduled before the Tai Chi. The yoga kept going and the Tai Chi fell away. That was 17 years ago. It’s always seemed like such a natural system that still to this day I don’t identify myself as a “yoga” person. It’s just a part of my life like eating or sleeping. I definitely think about the system a lot and have spent a lot of time learning and refining my perspective of what yoga is, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a strictly definitive answer. For now I see it as a life system, a method of training the body and mind to make life a little less coarse and a little more fluid.

I do, however, see yoga as a discipline and not as entertainment. It’s hard work, not for “hard work’s sake” but because it requires effort. It’s a practice of will-power (intentionally directing the mind and body), a practice of self study (watching the response of the mind and body), a practice of compassion (initially for the self) and ultimately a practice of surrender (finding out when not doing something is more effective and impactful than doing something). The discipline results in freedom because there can be no true freedom without discipline.

In the context of my yoga, discipline is the act or process of intelligence, of understanding what is good for you and what isn’t, of compassionate restraint, of learning when to work hard and when to be soft. This is what yoga has taught me and what yoga is for me. For now.”

James Happe has been teaching yoga since 2006 and has an approach that emphasizes getting clear on the fundamentals. He has qualified in Hatha Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga and is completing his certification in the Iyengar Yoga method. His focus is on biomechanics and the underlying principles of yoga that inform all of the postures. While continuing to teach asana (the physical postures of yoga) James’s focus has grown to include mindfulness and meditation training. James has a deep passion for introducing people to this timeless, life-enhancing system and ensuring they have a solid foundation on which to build their own practice.

“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the masters. Rather seek what they sought.” – Matsuo Bashō


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