Remembering Friedel Khattab…….November, 2016
A year has almost come and gone since the passing of our dear teacher and friend Friedel. Nearly 92 years old, Friedel spent a large part of her life travelling abroad to study the science and practice of yoga. Teachings learned Friedel generously shared with her students. She believed in the value of age old yoga poses, breathing techniques, mudras, meditation and the science, system and practice of these ancient traditions.
Every moment we were able to share with Friedel was wonderful and practice times together deeply embedded in every cell of our body. We were grateful for it all and we appreciated Friedel, the teachings, the practice and coming together as a community.
Friedel had her usual September Yoga of the Old Masters clinic booked at the studio and we had an Okido workshop in the planning stage for last November when she thought she’d be out of the hospital. All of us planned life as if Friedel would always be here. That’s why her passing felt so unexpected. Friedel was older yes, but she was doing amazingly well. Living on her own, coming out to teach workshops and share what she loved, still spry, wise, with a keen sharp eye that missed little and stop watch always in hand. Friedel used to joke in classes that she only buys ripe bananas. It was always tough to hear her wry joke. The thought of her not being here with us was hard to embrace.
I deeply appreciated seeing Freidel before her passing. She was recovering in Norwood from a badly broken arm. I had an undeniable pull to see her before leaving for a Bhutan / Nepal trip. It was 3:00 on Sunday afternoon when I arrived. Friedel was peacefully sitting in the TV room settling in for National Geographic. I always loved how she had such a sharp clear mind, and admired how she was so very intentional about reading her books, newspapers and watching informative shows. The particular program she was watching was on the birds of Nepal, Bhutan, India and Japan. It was lovely to share this time together and to simply be there with her. The next day I left for Bhutan/Nepal and while away I found out Friedel had had a major stroke.
There was a sense of Friedel with me while travelling these two amazing countries. I saw black cranes land in the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan and saw the birds of Nepal circle the skies and pigeons at night nestle on the rooftops of our Indian type Hotel just like we had watched together. Walking to the Tiger Nest Monastery in the Himalayas and hearing that Lamas actually do live in the caves like Friedel always shared and hearing from our guide how they befriend the snow leopards and endure ritualistic breathing practices was like a homecoming.
A year has almost come and gone and I am eternally grateful for all of the time we as students had with Friedel. Grateful for the teachings she shared and the practice time we had together. It has taken time to embrace that Friedel won’t be here with us or be back to the studio and there is a space inside me that misses her dearly. There is one thing I am slowly coming to realize. Our dear teacher and friend can never be forgotten. She will always be here with us – embedded through the practice of yoga in every cell, in every pose, in every breath and in every meditation.
Friedel Khattab taught her first yoga class for the public in 1968. Since that time she has taught thousands of students and classes and offered numerous teacher training programs. For well over 50 years Friedel Khattab has practiced yoga daily. One of the pioneers of yoga in Canada, Friedel studied extensively abroad and at home. She is one of Albert’s best known yoga teachers and trainers. Her years of experience are matched by her wisdom and humour to make a delightful, rich, insightful time of yoga exploration. Now in her 80’s, Friedel’s passion for yoga, learning and sharing continues. Friedel has studied yoga traditions and practices around the world and integrates the best from these traditions. Her passion and dedication to her family, and her love of life and laughter enrich all she encounters.