What if I told you I didn't teach yoga?
For 13 years, I've said, "I teach yoga," the same way you may say you "go to church or worship;" this can mean many different things to different people, but we have a general idea of what people are doing.
When people think of yoga in the west, by and large, most people think about bendy, twisty shapes, perhaps a meditative moment, and calm. The core of what is taught in studios and gyms across the country is asana or beneficial shapes; movement connected to breathing.
When you do a deep dive into yoga, I can hardly call the shapes I teach, the ques I call, the TED Talk I give, and the indie music I curate for the energetic experience "yoga" any more than you could call Tex Mex food, Mexican food, but it sure tastes good!
Where it began.
I was drawn to yoga in my 20s because I was a gymnast as a child, and to me, yoga looked like a way to have an exercise experience as an adult that resembled gymnastics. Over time and training, the width and depth of movement connected to breath provided a mind-body experience that I couldn't deny and wanted to share and still do.
For those curious, yoga as we know it (poses like warrior, down-dog, etc.) do not come from Hinduism but Sweden in the 1900s. Its original name was harmonial gymnastics. Indian nationals renamed the poses to honor their heroes and reclaim national identity, especially after the British presence of colonialism in the twentieth century. So what you get when you walk into a yoga studio is probably harmonial gymnastics developed by Swedish women.
Interestingly, The YMCA, a Christian organization, had a lot to do with the development of modern yoga. I prefer to call yoga a dynamic posture practice or movement & breath practice because that is what it is.
For my friends of faith who struggle with yoga but are curious about its benefits, let me share this. The early Olympic games were dedicated to pagan gods like Zeus and Nike. For most of us, the origin of sport doesn't keep us from wearing Nike shoes, or competing in early Olympic sports like running, long jump, shot put, javelin, boxing, or equestrian events.
So I ask you...
Would yoga by any other name be just as sweet? Would giving yoga a different name make it available to you?
When I think about traditional yoga, it looks nothing like what I facilitate, but I'm absolutely within range when I think of modern yoga.
This fall, I'll offer a YOGA SCHOOL in the modern sense of expression. Super Yoga Palace is a dynamic physical experience that strengthens the body and mind and cultivates culture and community. YOGA SCHOOL will teach you to facilitate just that - Movement, Breath, Culture & Community.
The YOGA SCHOOL waitlist is open, with applications dropping this May. If you like what happens at "the Palace' and want to see if your school is for you, tap the button below.
Thanks for letting me share a little bit with you. What questions about modern yoga do you have for me?