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Just a Hunch

April 9, 2012

Tonight I attended a more or less pleasant class that helped me develop a theory.”What is this earth shattering theory?” you may ask. Well, lets do some background work first. Also, I would like to make a disclaimer that all of the following deductions are largely unsubstantiated.

Yoga history 101:

  • Most current yoga asana practices that are described as “vinyasa” are of an ashtanga base.
  • Ashtanga was not popular in the US of A until the early 90s…at best, late 80s.
  • Prior to this date, the two leading schools of yoga (and pretty much your only bet) were Sivananda and Iyengar.
  • According to one source Iyengar didn’t have nearly as many training centers as it does today, and as anyone in yoga knows…an Iyengar training is not for the faint of heart.

Ok, now, back to my theory: Yoga teachers who trained in the 70s and 80s are more likely to be insane for many reasons. To have taken fast to yoga during those times, you had to be much more progressive and into “fringe” things (to put it mildly). The yoga pre-Ashtanga boom was either taught with Nazi-like strictness, or employed super-Vedanta religious stuff. To have even found a training took a lot of dedication, and once you’d gone through with you were a lifer pretty much. Yoga today has permeated our culture, I can’t walk down the street with out tripping on a yoga studio. This is a sign of yoga’s integration in to our society, but with that comes the inevitable watering down of the message. I’m moved to think, that by meeting a great many yoga teachers that trained “back in the day”  that the full message was a lot to handle. 

Now, my experience that lead to these conclusions: I’m late to class (which I never do) but not late in the normal way…I’m late as in not early. I open the door at 8 pm and am promptly kicked out of class. I’m totally angry because I wasn’t late! I was perfectly on time, and she had seemingly just started the class early. After about 5 minutes I realized that she was just leisurely leading the prior class into a deeply settled lateness. As a yoga teacher, this disappointed me…its important to stick to schedules. Then, beginning with the teacher’s observation of my bringing my own mat, we digress into a long winded conversation about different teachers, and studios and she tells me she is injured and thus more interested in yoga therapy.Also, she has decidedly become more of a “healer” and less of a “yogi.” These are indeed dubious labels. After we finally canned that discussion she asks me what I wanted to do because I was the only student…I told her it was up to her and she settled on an “advanced pranayama.” The pranayama reminded my of my month long stint in Kundalini…and in fact, was not a pranayama at all, but a kriya (some sort of arm raising combined with Kaphlabhati). After an eternity in savasana, we did this kriya….and that was it! After that she told me to do some asana of my choice. Really? The two of us just rolled around on our mats…seriously? I just told you I’m a 500hr trained yoga teacher. If i wanted to do an unguided rolling about on the mat I surely wouldn’t leave my home to do it. Are you nuts? Well, frankly, (and I should have known from that slightly vacant look in your eyes) you are nuts. After we were done rolling about on the floor, she resumes the conversations about lineages, and teachers. She tells me she’s severed from the Sivananda tradition and she honestly believes she is “all fucked up,” and that her neck is “seriously FUCKED” from all of the headstands she used to in Sivananda. She’s seriously dropping the F-bomb left and right at this point. I’m like, yes, inner peace, healing, liberation…

Granted, there aren’t a ton of 55+ aged yoga teachers out there for me to get a super broad experience, but I’ve definitely come up against quite a few who are having some loose nuts and bolts issues. Not that is a bad thing. The crazy ones, theys my peeps usually…but even us nutters have to draw the line somewhere. Look  healer lady, I don’t feel healed right now…not at all.

[Image: Free Republic]

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