Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Word On My Yoga Teaching Philosophy

I rarely write about yoga, even though I'm certified at the 200-hour level, have taken additional training in restoratives and therapeutics, and teach it part time. But because I'm not eking out any more turns on the ski slopes and have started spending more time pounding the pavement and trails, I've had plenty of time to think about last Wednesday's Morning Edition piece on Hindus and the evolution of modern yoga and what it means for me, an agnostic Asian American teaching yoga in the nation's capital.

I teach yoga. 

In a gym setting. 

In a town that's saturated with yoga studios and gyms offering yoga classes.

I've never been to India.

There are rock star yoga teachers in D.C. As of right now, I'm not one of them. But if I were, someone would probably want to take yoga back from me. Heck, they probably want to take it back from me right now.

So what's my teaching philosophy, and why come to my classes?

Because gym yoga is often the gateway to a more holistic yoga practice, in a more traditional venue. 

This isn't to say that gym yoga is inherently not holistic. But, realistically, many people who practice yoga at the gym are there because they want a workout or stretch session, and this was the only class offered that day (not kidding about this). Maybe they'd heard something about the meditative and mindfulness aspects of yoga, too.

Similar to how I sneak restorative poses into the classes that I teach – on the hunch that most people in D.C. don't even realize their bodies are craving restoration – I also sneak in reminders of mindfulness and silent meditation. It may not be the entirety of what traditional yoga in India offers, but it's more traditional than other more fusion-based practices. Poses are not "yummy" or "juicy." They are what they are, and if you happen to bind in your standing twist today, then yippee for you, at this moment.

If anything, call what I teach yoga "light." I believe it's still yoga.