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In my defense

I teach Hatha yoga.  That’s it.  Just Hatha.  Somehow saying that I teach Hatha yoga is enough for me but it never manages to be enough for the other yoga teachers I meet.  I have found myself on more than my fair share of snotty sideways looks as people ask, “Yes, but what kind of Hatha?”  They ask it like a test, like I dont know there are variations within Hatha or like I’m lying about it altogether.

So what kind do I teach?

No kind, I guess.

Or maybe every kind.

My kind.  Yes, that’s it.  My very own kind.  I study everything available, I go to classes and workshops and pull things from those experiences into my classes.  I took an Anusara class once where we started in legs up the wall.  It felt very strange to me but I went ahead and tried it out on my own students.  Why not?  But I wouldn’t dream of calling myself an Anusara teacher.  And that’s just one example.  My classes are like a yoga sampler platter, a little of this, a little of that.  Does that mean I have some kind of problem with commitment?  It could.  I admit that I dont want to be tied down to one sequence or one school of thought or ideology.  You can call it dabbling and say that I’m doing a disservice by not jumping, both feet, into a defined practice.  That’s fair.

But yoga is yoga, isn’t it?  I mean, it’s all the same stuff that people have been doing for 5,000 years.  And the poses aren’t even the main part.  To me it doesn’t matter what order you do them in.  As long as your mind is in the right place (or at least you’re making a valid attempt to get it there) and you’re breathing then you’re doing yoga.  The stretches are secondary.  What’s important is not what you do in a yoga class but what you take away from it.

Of course, that’s just me.  I could be wrong.  I could be justifying my lack of a specified teaching style.  But I’m comfortable with it for now.  Someday I’m sure I will take a class, in some rarely-heard-of style, and be so moved that I devote my life to spreading that specific message.  I think that would be lovely.  But for the moment I will settle for the ability to verbalize what I’ve just said here.  Because somehow when standing opposite a stern face and a white turban, like I was yesterday, and being grilled – “Yes, but what kind of Hatha?” – I end up blubbering and stammering and sounding like a complete dolt.  I have a good reason in there I just can’t always manage to get it out.

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