Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What is in a name...

Whenever one names something, people start asking, "What does that mean?".  The first name I gave to my style and school of teaching was a loan from my training school:  Shakti Yoga.  Shakti is the expression of the devine feminine that exists in all of us (male or female).  It is the flow, dance, and spark of energy that animates all of life.  I connected immediately with this idea, and could not think of any better way to express it.  So I lived with that name for a while. But people were constantly asking me what it meant, and it seemed confusing.  It is also linked to the Tantra practice, and I received  a few very strange phone calls  from people thinking I offered Tantric practices.  So I thought it would be better to find a different name instead of continuing to borrow my teachers name.

So there were many forms and ideas of the name, and moments of "why do I need a name anyway!".  There is a tiny rebel streak in me.  I don't like to conform, so maybe I could be the yogi formerly known as... or the unnamed... but that didn't last long.  I could just use my own name, and have been in that state for a while.  When designing the Yoga Teacher Training program, I knew there was an idea that would be important for me. There is a line in the Tao Te Ching- in reference to the Tao being expressed by the "Myriad Forms".  This idea always inspired me.  Myriad means: countless, or of an extremely great number.  I have always said that there are as many styles of yoga as there are teachers and practitioners.  That we each bring our own unique expression to the practice.  Each pose, each movement, each breath becomes one of the many beads on the string of the practice of yoga.  So there are Myriad forms of yoga.  But these are really all just expressions of the one.  So it becomes a bit of a paradox.  That there are many countless forms and expressions, but these are expressions of Oneness.  You can think of it this way:  There is one "you".  But "you" may be a mother or father, an aunt or uncle, a son or daughter, a cousin, a husband or wife, a friend, etc... there are many relationships and versions of you.  But the "you" doesn't change.  The unchanging part of the "Myriad" one might call "God" or "spirit" or whatever suits you best.  The Myriad expressions point to the unchanging part.

When we practice yoga, each day it changes. Today we feel open and alive. Tomorrow perhaps we are more tired and slow.  And this changes further, from person to person.  In our teacher training, I emphasize that there is no one correct alignment for a posture.  No one right way to practice and many possibilities to explore. This can seem overwhelming to those who need to "know the answers".  Or it could be completely liberating, depending on your outlook.   In the Kirtan practice, we chant the many names of the divine.  Again, the myriad expressions.  But again, its essence is just one.  Like the Inuit tribes that have many different words for snow, its all still snow.  The words describe different expressions of the same substance. So the word "myriad" expresses a truth.  The truth of oneness behind the many forms.

When you practice with us, myself and the teachers who have trained at Myriad Yoga, you will be honoring your own needs and aligning with your inner truth. There will be no worrying about your pose looking like a textbook, or even trying to get into the pose in the "one right way" because there is no such thing.  We will  always look to the possibilities and help you to explore your own willingness and curiosity to move body, breath, and mind with strength and integrity in the spirit space around and within.

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