Often times people ask me: What kind of yoga do you do? The other day I read an answer by another teacher to this question. He decided to answer his students: I do My yoga<
And in a way, I think he is right; we are co-creating a millenary tradition; and each and every one of us creates our own style, depending on our needs. On (and off) the mats, we are unique, and what appeals to me in yoga, might not be the same as for you. Some people practice yoga to stretch, others to gain strength or flexibility (mental and/or physical).
Our reasons for going to class may be different, but what yokes us together I believe, is our wish to understand our selves better; body and mind and how they work. What brings us together is the willing to learn and to share that knowledge. We practice to get to know our selves better, and we share this path with the people who are practicing next to us (in the physical space, and in all times, future and past, and around the globe).
This being said, and because almost every day someone asks me, I will try to explain what kind of yoga I do: I started practicing yoga some 14 years ago, when I just had moved to Barcelona. I tried different styles, from Shivananda, Iyengar and Kundalini, to dynamic yoga, Vinyasa and Ashtanga. In 2009 I deepened my practice in Costa Rica, in an intensive training in Ashtanga yoga, and that is how I first could register by the International Yoga Alliance (200 RYT).
All styles named above are different types of Hatha Yoga. HA means sun and THA means moon, our practice is the union between the two. Ashtanga has thousands of years of tradition, and is based on Patanjali’s Sutras, and much more recently on the teachings of Pathabi Jois. Ash means eight, and Ashtanga is a practice founded on eight limbs: Three of them are related to ethical and moral advices on how to act in the world, with ourselves and in our relationships; one of the limbs is the Asana practice (what we do in class), and the other limbs have to do with the interior practice; withdrawal of the senses, concentration and meditation; to transcend and reach Samadhi (profound connection with the Divine). This is the classical yoga, understood like this not only by the Ashtangis.
Some 25 years ago a new Yoga lineage was founded in the US, called Anusara Yoga. Anusara means something like “to flow with your heart”. The practice relies on Hatha Yoga (like all physical yoga in the west), but it differs from the classical yoga in its tantric, non-dualistic view. The goal with the practice is not to transcend and reach God, but, it is understood that we ALREADY ARE divine beings; God is in all things, and all things are in God.
I like the metaphor of the sea: we are all waves of the same ocean, and that ocean is all of the waves. We practice to understand this union, to sense it and celebrate it. This isn’t exclusively for the experimented yogis and yoginis, or for those who travel long years to India, but accessible to all of us, because we are already there; Here, in the present moment. Anusara is a life affirming yoga style that incorporates bio dynamics; and basic and refined alignment keys that are more understandable and adapted to our western bodies; to align heart, body and mind and get deeper in each posture.
I have no certificate yet in Anusara Yoga, but I have practiced for several years, and taken many courses and workshops deepening in the techniques and principles of Anusara; in Mallorca, Switzerland and Mexico. Past winter I took an intensive course (120 hours) in Yoga Therapeutics, and I have been teaching since 2009.
To sum up: I get inspiration from each teacher I meet on the way, I practice to share and I share to keep on practicing. I do Hatha Yoga, because this is the yoga style all westerners do, if we practice a physical yoga, (in difference from example Bhakti Yoga that is a devotional form of practice). Lately, I get more and more inspired by the principles of Anusara Yoga, as I see them phenomenal in the process of comprehension of our body and mind, and because the practice is heart orientated; and I do aim to every day open my heart a little bit more