What style of yoga am I practicing and teaching, and what even is yoga anyway?
...It might be a little late in the day to be asking myself these questions, but better late than never huh?
I've spent hundreds of hours in the last 6 months alone reading and considering these questions, in an effort to get to the 'truth', to really understand the traditions of yoga and meditation.
So you can imagine the look on my face when after wrestling with Sanskrit, I discover that traditional yoga and meditation practices are just the same as pizza!
Let me explain; the Italians had been enjoying warm bread and tomato sauce for a long time. After emmigrating to America, the recipe changed to include various toppings, and that's what we now know and love as pizza. Stuffed crust, spelt base, gluten free... it's all pizza and it's dharma (purpose) is to nourish. This type of evolution, development of an idea is called The Pizza Effect.
The challenges of an over active mind have been known for thousands of years; and yoga and meditation have been proffered as the prescription. As we read in the Yoga Sutars "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations, or whirlings, of the mind"...That's as close to a definition of yoga as we're going to get by the way.
'Traditional yoga' was a practice reserved for male elites. Their practice could involve becoming a peaceful renunciate, wearing a loin cloth and covering themself in white ash to experience unification with the divine. Or it could be the almost miliaristic physical training of Indians as a reaction to British colonial rule. The austere teaching practices that no doubt influenced abusive cults like Patthabi Jois, who to this day still tries to claim a lineage to ancient postures. As if that's something we need with all the new physical challenges of modern living...!
So what is Yoga? Is it deeply spiritual or physical? Is one better than the other? What's best? Despite my best efforts, there are no answers. But what I can say definitively is any teacher or lineage claiming to have the true prescripton; is lost in their own mental whirling.
So how does what we practice in a studio, community space or online with the successful actress and entrepeneur Adriene resemble these ancient practices? The answer is they don't!
Traditions morphed and changed when these former peaceful renunciates had contact with outside influences, and vice versa. Indian teachers or Gurus traveled the world to impart their knowledge and experiences, their message and techniques were altered to suit the audience.
Modern Postural Yoga is a menu; the style you practice will influence how nourished you feel physically or spiritually. It's a dynamic practice which when taught with integrity; will appeal to all genders, ethnicities and budgets (I believe a lot of Adriene's content is free).
Be part of the evolution
I'm in an industry that's working hard to evolve and meet the needs of communities; populations and people that may have felt excluded. I can do that better when the community I teach is diverse. I need you to be one of the ingredients in this wonderful pizza recipe by attending my Wednesday evening class, April Weekend retreat or engage with me online.
There's also time to enrol on my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Course; Presence Not Performance.
Email me for more details.