I have been in the world of the ashram this last week. Kelly and I drove out to Arizona a week ago and dove into the festivities of Lees mahasamadhi (his passing) and also his jayanthi (birthday) which are within days of each other. We had a 5-day celebration full of pujas, feasting, song, dance, talks, seva and good company. It was a glorious time full of great food for the body, mind and heart. The formal festivities ended late Sunday night and then we have been doing a bit of clean up and catch up after everything.
I have received so many calls and emails from folks following my Anusara resignation asking me "what does this mean for me?" and I suppose I need a better answer than, "I have no idea." I mean, that answer just does not sound very compassionate nor does it even sound very smart! And I think some of this is going to make more sense and become more obvious as the form of my direction continues to emerge and come into being. But in a simple way, its like this for me: I am going to continue being the teacher I have always been- I am going to teach who is in front of me as sensitively, passionately and creatively as I can. I wrote this on Facebook a while ago but I am still me. I still love to practice asana and to explore new and juicy ways into the majesty of the heart and mind through through the vehicle of the body through asana. I am totally into translating that experience into my teaching and staying as fresh as possible in my presentation of what I am learning. Simply put, I am still practicing and I am still teaching from my practice. If you are interested in that, keep studying with me.
If, however, you are primarily interested in studying and practicing Anusara Yoga and you are actively accruing hours toward certification in that system, then you will need a new Anusara yoga teacher, if I was your primary Anusara teacher. This is not because I am going to be teaching something radically different or because I have any negative feelings about Anusara yoga or people who want to be certified. I don't. I love Anusara yoga, I love John Friend, I love my colleagues, I learned a lot from the system and benefitted tremendously from my association with it. I would wish that for other people. There is NO problem with people continuing down the Anusara path on my side of things. It's just that I can not sign off on your hours nor will I be committed to "modeling the method" the way I have been. I am officially off that hook. So, on a practical note, that's something to consider.
However, if you want to continue down the Anusara yoga path and you are interested in learning what I am doing then its as simple as staying in touch and coming to a workshop or training and staying open to the process that's evolving. I will be happy to teach you no matter what certification you hold. My love of learning and my love of teaching has never been limited to Anusara yoga. I have always studied in a variety of methods even as an Anusara teacher and teacher trainer. I am happy to go learn in different environments and cultures to get the teaching. I have never required that the teaching be packaged in a certain way. It's really not a big deal to me to take hot yoga, flow yoga, Iyengar yoga, Ashtanga yoga so long as I am learning and improving from my efforts.
It's really about being a student of what the teacher is teaching that day. My experience is that when I go to a class or workshop in another method and I am in a place of sincere studentship, then I learn. A lot. It's very simple. It's the law of adhikara, really. If a student has passed the bar, so to speak, the teacher MUST teach them. It's not a conscious thing either. It's not like the teacher is actually considering or choosing whether or not they are going to help the student. In fact, I have watched purist teachers in other systems try NOT to teach me for a while but after an initial period of hazing, my persistence has always been rewarded. Always. Without fail. Good studentship evokes being taught. Its that simple. Its the law of the thing.
My guru always said that a good student could wake up around a bad teacher way easier than a poor student could wake up around a great teacher. His view on the responsibility of the student was that strong. Now, put a great student in front of a great teacher and that is a radical opportunity to really transcend the ordinary boundaries that often keep us from waking up to our potential.
I am, as you mostly know, working on creating some very cool programs and trainings and Darren and I are going to be creating a School of Yoga. I have said many times that I do not want to make a method or a new system of yoga. This sentiment is mostly practical and philosophical.
On a practical note- I want to teach yoga and teach people to teach yoga and eventually help train people to train people to teach yoga. I want to be in that work. Once we make something a "method" then, in my experience, the curriculum runs the risk of getting a bit frozen and standardized and the order of the day shifts from the organic response to the moment and become focused instead on teaching to the test and to the standard and to the system. Add in the reality that systems need trademarks in order to be "preserved" and "valued" in the marketplace and before you know it you have to manage all of that nonsense. You have to implement standards, licensing agreements and implementation is shortly followed by policing and enforcing. None of that is at all interesting to me.
And what also happens is that subtly, without realizing, a shift in consciousness occurs where emphasis is off the yoga and on the trademark and I am not interested in that at all. Lee called it "churchification". He hated it and was always warning us as his devotees about the danger of turning his teaching and what he called The Influence into a system. He said transformation just didn't work like that. The idea was to align ourselves with the influence- and, sure, there were techniques and forms for that- and then to get ourselves out of the way so that we could each become an individualized, authentic expression of The Influence. For instance, his teachings live in me in both similar and different ways than they live in my sangha mates.
So I am totally in to teaching a seminar on "Heart Themes and The Conscious Use of Metaphor in the Classroom" but I am totally uninterested in having a discussion with you about using them if you don't want to. I am totally into teaching you how to do demonstrations effectively but I am not interested at all in convincing you to use them or telling you how many is enough or how many is too much. I am more interested in a discussion about how can you be the teacher you want to be, not a teacher that meets a system's criteria. I am interested in how each of us can be the most authentic individualized expressions of The Influence in our lives as yoga practitioners, teachers and well, human beings.
So what Darren and I are creating is a school and a resource for practitioners and teachers and you will get to be a graduate of that school but I do not want to manage- for practical and philosophical reasons- what you do with the education and inspiration you receive from your training with us. Seriously, think about it, Harvard gives you a degree. They do not come into your life and tell you how to do business and they do not take your degree back if you fail to agree with administrative, curricular, personal or marketing decisions. You go to school, you get your degree and then you have your life and work. And its up to you. Think about it. I want to be part of a new paradigm in teaching yoga that is less concerned with systems, trademarks, and accruing hours and more concerned with living in the Light of the Teachings and sharing the joys of the practice in profoundly real, accessible and effective ways.
So, what does it mean for you that I resigned my Anusara certification? (Oh, technically, I can't resign a certification. I can, evidently, resign my legal right to use the trademark. Funny, certification lasts for a lifetime but a the legal rights to the trademark can be terminated. Anyhoo--)
So what does it mean for you that I resigned? You tell me.