"What's your lineage?"
This is the question I was asked by a student a couple of weeks ago. It's not the first time I've been asked this same question. Most often, I've experienced other yoga teachers wanting to know just where my yoga roots originate. In the past, I've answered that question varying ways, fumbling to find the "right" answer, the one that felt the most noteworthy and impressive of course. This time, without thinking I said, "my heart." Its amazing how uttering truth can make my whole body feel both stronger and lighter at the same time.
I'm so grateful for this question as it brought me back to considering the essence of this practice, the essence of what I give so much energy to. It reminded me that it was my heart that called me to the mat for the first time, my heart that encouraged me to return again and again, my heart that invited me to explore teaching yoga, sharing yoga therapy and all the expansions they have to offer. At the root of the root of the root, is my heart or as one of my teachers, Elissa Cobb would say, "the part of me that knows without thinking." This part of me has always been my guide, my first and last teacher. It took some dabbling here and there, a whole lot of work and also some great teachers, friends and mentors to help me remember this truth for myself. Now, when I invite a student to move into a posture, I'm not so much thinking about a specific type of yoga I should teach or kind of way the students should be holding their own body. How could I actually know what way is best for their body, their heart, their experience in that moment? What my heart tells me goes something like this, "I trust you know what's best for you, I hope to be here to hold the space for you to explore and discover what that might look and/or feel like."
There are countless different types of yoga and I'm certainly inspired by many of them, especially the sources of my training and education. That said, I'm increasingly intrigued and also often times irritated by the rise of brand-name, trademark protected yoga in the West. As one of my friends put it, "how can you trademark self-realization?"
It is said that the intention of yoga is union. In this reality, the parts are in the whole and the whole is in the parts, everything is ONE and all that we need is already there within us...all the stuff that gets in the way just illusion. If all yogic lineages are leading in the same direction (back to union, wholeness and oneness) then I really wonder, "what's in a name?" How much does naming, defining, branding and protecting varying types of yoga really serve this journey and how much more separation and illusion does it actually create?
For all practical purposes, I understand that naming one's business is helpful. Recently, I've changed my own logo/name from INSIGHT YOGA + THERAPY to INSIGHT BODY + MIND THERAPY. I made this change for a number of reasons, including this one: for as much as possible, I want the name of my offerings to feel open and spacious. That place in me I call "heart" often asks for lots of room to grow and play! This is what I hope to welcome with a slight shift in a name. In truth, I have no attachment to the name of my business or its logo. It feels easy and effortless to change it, all things change all the time and for me the there's no sense in clinging to one word or a set of words in hopes of encapsulating something that is simply beyond definition.
It is my hope that what offer inside this little operation I now call INSIGHT BODY + MIND THERAPY speaks to your own inner compass and if it doesn't feel like the right fit for you, I wish you all the best along your journey, be it with a specific lineage or otherwise.