Nubia Teixeira answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
Thank you so much for asking and thank you so much for making me remember this, Phil. I have so many stories, but I'll stick with the one that I think was the most meaningful for me as a young person. I started practicing yoga when I was 16 and I started teaching yoga when I was 18, so it really saved my life. It got me out of trouble, and gave me a sense of path and an opportunity to be of service. The reality is that I had to pay for my own yoga training and I worked really hard to do that. I grew up in a very, very poor family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. So everything I had to do at that point, when I started teaching yoga, I had to do with a lot of effort. and financially it was really hard. I had no doubt of my path, but financially it was a struggle.
So I started teaching yoga, and two years later, I started to offer private lessons, and my life really changed in that sense, because it was just a way of connecting more personally with my students and it opened so many different doors. And my first private yoga student, her name is Madalena Mascioli. After about six months, she looked at me in the middle of a class — I used to go to her house; that's how I taught my private lessons — and she told me, “Nubia, I see a great potential and I see you want to do many things and you don't have the money. So for the next three years, whatever you want to do, as far as improving your yogic skills, just tell me and I'll pay for that.”
So that was the father in that sense I never had, and the support I was not even asking for, because I didn't think it was something that I could even ask for and I didn't have anywhere to go to ask for. But I felt a great guardianship of my spiritual teachers and I felt that they gave me this gift of being able to keep on studying. To this day, one of my favorite things to do is to study yoga. And I do a lot right now on my own — I read books and research. That time in my life was really meaningful in so many different ways because I needed to study from, in person, from masters and I wanted so much to go to India and I had no means to do that.
So Madelina was the person that gave me that gift, to go for the first time to India, and I did not exploit it, like doing other things. I really focused on what was important. Every time I went to ask her for the money to pay for my courses, I really spent a lot of time thinking, Is this necessary? Is this what I wanted to do? Is this, what's going to help me? So it was a beautiful exchange and I will ever and forever be grateful to her for that.
So I do have a really special space in my heart for Madelina, with so much gratitude. And the way I keep on sharing that gift is by giving what I can and also what is needed. I learned from my Tibetan teacher about generosity and the generosity of giving love, so I try to do that as much as I can. The generosity of giving the teachings, the dharma, and I do offer that in my classes and in the day-to-day conversations with my friends. I'm always trying to help them to see, "This is the problem, but what is the teaching in this?" And then also the generosity of giving money, which to me at that moment in my life was so essential because I felt the spiritual support. I felt the curiosity and inspiration and fire to continue learning. But I did not have the financial means.
So to this day I try to look into how this person needs to just confirm one of my offerings. "Here you go, oh, let’s trade, or let's do a scholarship." And also to my teachers, I always pay more than they ask. So for example, my Odissi dance teacher, he has just a few students and he asked me for a certain amount of money. I try the best I can, the most I can, to give him more, because I value his teachings and because I know that money makes a difference for him.
And also with friends. I love, at the level that I can, to surprise them with giving money when they need it, because I think it's important for us to look into all that is happening and what is actually going to be right now necessary — is it my love, is it my prayer, well, not really, it's money. Or it is going there, in their houses, and helping with actually my hands-on service. So I'm grateful to have had that and I want to continue being able to give as much, as much, as much as possible. Jai Ma.
Author, yogini, teacher trainer, and Odissi dancer Nubia Teixeira has devoted herself to teaching different aspects of yoga for almost 30 years. Perceiving yoga as a healing art, Nubia's refinement and unique style overflows with sacred meaning and heartfelt inspiration. Nubia leads workshops, teacher training.
Nubia’s book, Yoga and the Art of Mudras, is a guided journey into the alchemy of asana (yoga pose) and mudra (symbolic hand gesture). In this book, she fuses her passion for yoga and dance with her love for bhakti (devotion). The result is a unique and contemporary yoga system that encompasses all three healing arts.