What’s in a name?
The yoga industry is booming. Men, woman, children, babies, even pets now practise yoga.
A dizzying array of clothes, equipment, magazines, books, DVDs, and lifestyle, beauty and health products are available to complement the yogis’ and yoginis’ practice. Gyms, yoga studios, libraries, church halls, offices, roof-tops, parks and gardens play host to regular classes, workshops, pop-ups and charity events. And then of course, there are the myriad styles of yoga out there – Buti, Bikram, Hot, Flow, Power, Yin, Yang, Restorative, Nidra, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Budokon, Iyengar, Anusara, Tantra, Prenatal, Post-natal, Mum & Baby, Jivamukti, Kundalini, Rocket, Acro, Aerial, Kripalu, Vini, Scaravelli, Krama Vinyasa, Sivananda, Forrest – are you bored yet?! In the midst of all of these different styles, each vying for a USP, a way to entice practitioners onto their mats, it can be easy to become fixated restrictive in your practice – a loyal disciple of X, Y or Z type of yoga.
If we leave aside the commercial paraphernalia that has grown alongside all of these different styles of yoga, and focus solely on the practices themselves, they are, in some way or another, related to Hatha yoga, as Hatha yoga is essentially a yoga practice that focuses on physical postures (asana). Which asana and how they are interwoven (or not) during a practice is up to the individual, be they teacher or student. And so we find ourselves with umpteen different styles, some very different from each other; others not quite as different as they’d have you believe.
Just as we can trace the physical side of modern yoga practices back to Hatha yoga, we can, or hopefully should be able to trace back the ‘other’ aspect of yoga to a shared root. Yes, you know what’s coming - the non-physical aspect of a yoga practice, the ‘spiritual’ aspect.
Whether or not you consciously acknowledge this non-physical aspect of your yoga practice, it’s there. It’s why you keep going back. It’s why you’ve bought tickets for Soul Circus – the physical asana makes you feel good, it gives you a high, but once that’s gone, you are still left with remnants, shadows or imprints of something a little less tangible. And it’s this sense of ________ (fill in your own blank here – wellbeing? Peacefulness? Happiness? Contentment?) that is what will bring you back to the mat, even if it’s years and years later, you’ll get back on the mat eventually.
Like most teachers I know, I teach a variety of styles of yoga: Vinyasa, Power, Hatha, children’s, Broga, and Prenatal, yet for each class there is the same foundation – it’s about the body, it’s about the breath, it’s about movement and it’s about fun. Ideally, however, it eventually becomes about peace, about quiet; away from the hubbub of modern life, and closer to something much, much simpler. So whichever style of yoga you would proclaim to love, and whichever style you would proclaim not to love, try to see them all as a part of the same whole, with a shared aim of getting you back to where you need to be.
Come and say hello to me at Soul Circus... xx