Gill Lloyd A personal tribute by Andy Curtis-Payne.

How to acknowledge someone who has had such a profound and positive influence on one’s own life and so many others? Quite simply put, I would not be the person I am if I had not met Gill, I certainly would not be teaching yoga and I might not be here at all! In short, meeting Gill changed my life for the better and I have much to be grateful for, as do we all, which Gill has made possible.

I had been experimenting with what I thought was yoga in the mid-eighties when Gill was recommended as a reference point by a fellow teacher. Although I enjoyed yoga at this point, I was also dimly aware that there was something missing. Thanks to Gill and her teaching and support I have spent the last thirty years finding out what that something might be and how I might access it.

I first worked with Gill at Desmond Anderson Middle School in Crawley, West Sussex, Monday evenings 7.00-9.00 pm. These early experiences with Gill were a revelation; I began to realise what I had been missing and, how much more there was to learn. Here I first experienced Vedic chanting and began the long journey of self-exploration that yoga offers.

Gill was able to realise my potential, something I was totally unaware of, and advised me to enrol on a BWY Teacher Training course that she was to run along with two colleagues, Sandra Sylvester and Sarah Ryan. And something truly amazing happened, I found I had the aptitude to teach! This was the first of so many occasions when a gentle nudge from Gill would see me trying things I would never have explored left to my own devices. She was able to see what I could not and help me to explore that potential, an essential skill for a true yoga teacher.

Through Gill I met Paul (Harvey) and my journey continued under Gill’s care and guidance as I had now become one of Gill’s many students, meeting frequently to have my practice directed and reviewed and so much more. Gill became a true teacher for me, someone who really cared about me and my well-being and used her knowledge and experience of yoga to expand my horizons and enable my development.

I eventually found myself teaching a session at a weekend workshop offered by Gill at Thomas Bennett, another Crawley school. I only had to teach an asana session but was suitably nervous about the whole thing. I approached Gill to show her my proposed practice and she simply said, “Just do it!” Gill was often my confidence when I had little, skilfully guiding me forward until eventually I came to meet Sir, T.K.V.Deskachar, in the early nineties at a yoga weekend entitled Nadopanisad, the yoga of sound, another experience that was life changing!

It was perhaps with sound and chanting that Gill had her greatest challenge; after one particularly painful session of mis-pronunciation and missed notes Gill said, “Well, you can’t be good at everything!” A sort of backhanded compliment as I took to the rest of the teaching like the proverbial duck to water.  Gill was always there when I really needed support, on one occasion when I woke up in ICU Gill was the first person I saw after my family and she simply held me while I cried tears of relief at still being alive!

My story is just one of very many where Gill has been a positive catalyst, steading, encouraging, holding when needed and gently but skilfully moving forward. Put plainly, we would not have the yoga we have in the UK without Gill, she took up the baton and sustained and strengthened the link with Sir and the KYM thus ensuring an enduring and essential legacy for those who would follow. And an important part of that legacy is the understanding of yoga’s evolution. Of where yoga has come from and how it developed, Gill spent many years studying these ideas culminating in her book, “Yoga: The Early Story”, an invaluable resource for student and teacher alike as it teases out very clearly where yoga emerges in the ancient texts of India, Veda and Vedanta through to the Yoga Sutra. Among her many achievements Gill has taught in Ireland, France, Switzerland, Holland, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Israel, India and Pakistan. In Austria she worked alongside Sir and was once asked to take Sirs Saturday morning at the KYM, a real accolade and endorsement from her teacher! 

India was another amazing gift that Gill shared with myself and many others, along with her husband Ray, she took many groups over many years both to the KYM and to explore her beloved Tamil Nadu. I cannot think of India without thinking of Gill and Ray and under there steady guidance have been able to continue their work in introducing others to the wonders of the sub-continent, along with my partner Helen.

Gill did so much more, years of work with BWY on the Education Committee for one, but always she was and remains a dedicated student of Sir and as such, an example to others who would follow the path. If you are to journey you need a map and a guide, a teaching and a teacher to show you that path and help you to stay true to that path! When I think of Gill I think of warmth, a smile and a ready sense of humour, like her teacher before her she remained an everyday person sharing an extraordinary teaching.

Thank you Gill and bless you, for all you have shared!  

4 thoughts on “Gill Lloyd A personal tribute by Andy Curtis-Payne.”

  1. Thank you Andy for such a vivid and moving tribute to Gill and her enormous contribution to this wonderful yoga tradition. And thank you above all to Gill for all your work in this field and sharing so much with us.

  2. Thank you Andy for expressing so beautifully the contribution Gill has made and thank you Gill for starting me on this path that has shaped and guided my life for so many years now. I still have all the practices you gave me, a true gift from teacher to student.

  3. Cheryl Blamey

    Thank you, Gill, for everything you did to help set me on my yoga path. David & I treasure the memory of being introduced to India on a yoga holiday superbly organised by yourself and Ray; and a subsequent visit to Chennai was the most amazing opportunity to study at the Mandiram and meet Sir. Thanks also for your practical and emotional input during teacher training; and later, for the introduction to Radha! I would not be where I am today without your invaluable support, for which I’ll always be grateful.

  4. Thank you Gill! Your work and generosity in teaching has made an impact on all of us who are journeying in this yoga tradition. I have learned so much by reading your excellent text “Yoga: The Early Story”.

    I am also grateful to you Andy – for your tribute to Gill and her role in your moving account of your yoga history and ‘the early years’ of what has developed into the TSYP.

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