Archive for March, 2014


This article. I think it is well thought out but the title is somewhat bothersome. Overall my opinion is that someone who did a 200 hour training should not diminish what others are doing just because they have grown and moved on. Yes she moved on to connect with the right teacher and style for her, but the article suggests that 200 hour trainings try to fool trainees into thinking they are something they are not. You know what you learn in 200 hour teacher trainings? You learn 200 hours of whatever they are teaching. You get a little history, a little philosophy, and little alignment and if you as a trainee stop there and never attend another workshop or training, that is all you will know. I always strongly encourage trainees to go to as many as they can. The 200 hour is and should be the beginning, not the end all be all. People come to their first training with a desire to learn, grow, and give back. I would assume this training or practice won’t serve them their whole lives and they will also move on.

I did. I did a 300 after my 200, attended other specific trainings, countless workshops, and I did change my practice from a style to a lineage. And I understand the difference. I also feel that constant study and focus on your practice should be the priority. And I always choose the BEST teachers to learn from. Locally I do not have the opportunity to work daily with an authorized Ashtanga teacher, so I go and learn from the Iyengar peeps. The people I know who are doing teacher trainings are also passionate about giving worthwhile training. I have never met a trainee who talked about money to be made or being a famous teacher. My experience is they are anxious to learn and are always surprised at how little they DID know and then even more anxious to learn more.

Most important, they want to help people. Because they have been helped or healed.

Many have gone on to additional trainings and studies and they get better as teachers. I would assume those who don’t are stagnant or maybe did not really want to teach but just wanted to understand more beyond what they are taught in a yoga class.

Sometimes it is easy to stand on the pedestal of an long standing practice and to be in the place that finally feels RIGHT to you and look at those who are not where you are NOW and as I said diminish what they are doing. For all teachers, style or lineage not withstanding, our job is to be compassionate, teach what we know (it may be very little), and know that growth comes at different rates for all of us and to work in a way as teachers that allows growth for EVERYONE.

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Lately I have been brooding over the fact that I don’t have a ‘teacher’ to work under. I pour over blogs and Facebook posts that have pictures and stories of yoga shalas and communities with an authorized teachers where the community is immersed in serious practice and the practitioners are like minded in their pursuit of yoga and the lineage they practice in. While I am able to get out of town for workshops and practice with a small local group with the same interests, I often wish I had that here. I know. Whoa is me.

My solution has been to work with a small group that are in the same situation that I am and practice at home. And hope for something different some day. And enjoy practice.

Fortunately there are TEACHERS of the lineage of Krishnamacharya in town so I am enjoying going to Iyengar yoga IMMENSELY.

How did two teachers with the same teacher develop such different forms of yoga?

As I practice and study I find as many similarities as differences. Iyengar is very adamant on not teaching vinyasa krama, or movement with breath. His ideal is that the yoga pose has what he refers to as a ‘holistic’ or ‘wholistic’ experience. The forms have a lot of theory in order to experience the pranic quality. In Ashtanga vinyasa, the focus is on the quality of prana, or breath over the theory of form. The form follows and the only way to experience it is through consistent practice.

The ashtanga practitioners who have been consistent with the practice for years attest to this. The novice is never sure. They don’t really understand the bandhas or the energetic promise of experience, especially in the West, we want to know why, or HOW does it work. We in the West even doubt in the experience.

Crossing the lines of styles is also verboten in certain circles. There is a distrust among the Ashtangis about Iyengar, I remember Richard Freeman saying yes this is kind of the ultimate SIN to throw some Iyengar in, but my favorite teachers, like Freeman or Tias Little do this SO WELL.

In the Iyengar classes I have taken, we practice many of my familiar primary series poses. Parsvottanasana for example:


Is the same pose in both practices, with the Iyengar being a little wider base in the jump out, then turn, the approach is very adho mukha and that approach is very uttanasa, which I GOT yesterday. Brilliant.

I love the break down. I also love the vinyasa. But the breakdown helped me realize something about the pranic quality or the EXPERIENCE, that maybe I wasn’t getting the answer too, or I WAS getting the answer to over a LONG PERIOD of practice.

When I went back to classic styles a little over a year ago I thought, oh yeah, well I have these standing poses DOWN. Turns out, I was wrong. There is always MORE, especially in the Foundational work of yoga. If I have one critique of the current state of yoga, it is the total lack of Foundations in practice. Everyone wants to do a handstand, like, yesterday.

Handstands are fine and fancy poses, but so are the bridges, blocks, streams, and walls.

I am going to do a Foundations workshop series this spring. When people ooh and aah over yoga poses on social media, that is the first thing I point out, those people practiced Foundations a long time. I don’t know of any exceptions that that rule. That is my current yoga theory. The lessons never stop on planet earth.

Coming soon, a post on Trikonasana

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