By Jerome Burdi
The yoga class was packed wall to wall with amazing students moving together into poses, following the lead of the beloved master. It was the end of a teacher training so the atmosphere was in high vibration.
That class was more than a decade ago but Dharma Yoga teacher Kim Jeblick remembers it like yesterday. It was her first class with Sri Dharma Mittra. Kim was already a yoga teacher but came out of a fitness background rather than the path of Self-realization that she would soon be steeped in.
Sri Dharma guided the students into extended side angle pose. While they were holding the pose, he walked over to Kim and moved her fingers into jnana mudra. It was the first time Sri Dharma adjusted her. By the end of the class she knew she found true yoga and a guru to guide her to her highest Self.
“After shavasana, I felt like my whole body was vibrating,” Kim said. “There was a subtle humming and I thought, ‘This must be the real yoga.’”
She discovered Sri Dharma through his famous 908 Asana Poster. She ordered it to put up on the wall at her studio, Maximum Motion Fitness in Jersey City. After ordering the poster, Kim found out about Dharma Yoga Center and decided to take a class with Sri Dharma.
Sri Dharma’s classes were intensely physical when Kim started attending. If you ever heard her laughing in class, it’s because the pose seemed beyond her reach.
“When I can’t do the pose I just laugh,” she said. “It’s the, ‘Oh, that’s the impossible’ laugh. Then I found out, with practice, the poses could be accomplished.”
Kim has remained close to Sri Dharma ever since her first class and became a certified teacher in the 200, 500 and 800-hour levels. She’s now a mentor for others during teacher trainings.
“Dharmaji has no ulterior motives, hidden agendas or anything like that,” Kim said. “He shares all of his knowledge freely and really wishes all of us to become Self-realized in this lifetime. He is the sweetest, kindest person and I am only here to help him with his work.”
She recalled a time in her early days of teaching Dharma Yoga where she was asked to cover a Maha Sadhana practice for Sri Dharma and she asked him how to teach it.
“He said to me, ‘Oh don’t worry about that. Just let your goodness shine through,’” Kim recalled.
“I think that it is good advice not only for all teachers but also for all people. Sometimes we don’t really see our own goodness, only our shortcomings and if we are worried about being whatever our idea of ‘perfect’ is then it is difficult to be receptive and sensitive to the needs of others.”
The teachings of Sri Dharma shine brightly through Kim. She is full of compassion and knowledge as a teacher.
“Kim has served as a mentor and example for an entire generation of students and teachers, modeling the best of what our teacher expects of all of us consistently in a way that always demonstrates humility and deep understanding,” said Adam Frei, program manager and director of Dharma Yoga’s Life of a Yogi teacher training programs.
“On a personal level, Kim is one of my teachers and has always been a part of what makes the Dharma Yoga New York Center so special.”
Kim has taught regular classes, held workshops, subbed for Sri Dharma, and has assisted him when he travels for workshops and teacher trainings.
“Kim disseminates the teaching of yoga with a selfless, egoless attitude,” said Ivy Mok, who recently completed her 500-hour Dharma Yoga teacher training and had Kim as a mentor.
“Her spiritual presence and calmness is infectious, which instantly shifts her students to a sattvic state. She is a great channel for Dharma’s teaching. If one wants to know how to copy the guru physically, mentally, and spiritually, one should come to learn from Kim.”
Kim is grateful to Sri Dharma for helping her. But the master remains humble.
“I felt like Dharma brought me back to God and one time I said to him, ‘Dharma, thank you so much.’ And he said, ‘That’s not me, that’s your karma.’ So he didn’t even take credit for it.”
She teaches 6:30 p.m. Fridays at Dharma Yoga Center in New York City. Though she teaches Dharma Yoga at her own studio, there’s nowhere quite like the place where the master himself teaches.
“It’s effortless to teach here, it just comes through,” Kim said. “I just sit there and think of Dharma and how he teaches.”
Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist