Well, I am up, I have done my morning practices- japa, pranayama, meditation, chanting and puja- and am sitting down with a cup of chai to write a few thoughts before my day gets underway. First of all, I want to everyone to celebrate with us on January 3, 2012 at 9:00 am which is the official birthday of School of Yoga.
If you live in Central Texas, please come and join us in San Marcos for a cup of chai, a short invocational puja (prayer ritual) and an all-levels group asana practice.
Here is a picture of the flyer. You can also get a copy online. And if you have any questions about the event, just send me a note via email or Facebook and I can help you out. The event is free, it will be fun and I mostly just want a community-based way to recognize the formal beginnings of this very exciting new chapter in my life which I also hope is a new chapter in your life in some way.
Speaking of the big picture of the new chapter, here is a short clip from what my astrologer said about the date she recommended for our official birthday:
The rising sign is Capricorn which is good for building organization and the star is "Shravana," which is the abode of the Vedic rishis and spiritual enlightenment. It is the modern constellation of Aquilla, the Eagle and is embodied in the three syllables of the mantra "A-U-M." It is auspicious for spreading spiritual knowledge, especially through the media. It relies on divine guidance and the channeling of higher wisdom. It is the abode of Lord Vishnu, as the preserving force in the universe -- preserving ancient knowledge, authentic knowledge, integrity, connection to the true source of life, listening deeply, and the bodhi tree of enlightenment.
Jupiter and the Moon sit together in the 4th house in Aries, which creates a combination known as "Elephant/Lion Yoga," bringing the strength of the elephant and the skill in getting what you want of the lion. It also connotes wisdom, royalty, fearlessness, and respect from all directions.
January 3rd is the 10th day of the growing half of the Moon, during the Vedic month of Paus -- which is all about nurturing the growth of something and is symbolized by the wheel of progress. It is also called, "The Prosperous," and "The Accomplished (Siddha)." January is the "growing" half of the year and 9:00 am is right as the Sun is ascending in the sky.
All in all, I think it's a great day. There will be a lot of work, I have to warn you. And sometimes you may have some conflicts with jealous people. But in my opinion, this day allows for the grace of your Guru and lineage to flow through protecting you from any annoying obstacles.
I'd celebrate the day with a Ganesha Puja and Sarasvati Puja -- as Ganesha, Sarasvati -- and definitely Lakshmi rule this chart.
Speaking of the particulars of the new chapter, I have been hard at work on the curriculum and applications for our registration with Yoga Alliance and its all going well. I am very exciting to be incorporating new program materials, resources and carrying over the best of what I have learned so far.
I have A LOT of questions and inquiries about School of Yoga and certification and so forth and what my vision is for that. Here are a few thoughts- some specific, some more general:
My vision continues to be that we are a school as opposed to a new style. Some of that has to do with my opposition to trademarks and other attempts to own yoga. Some of it also has to do with what seems to me to the impossibility of actually making what is the result of my life and learning-- which is unique to me -- into a system that others, with their own life and learning --which is obviously unique to them- could teach accurately, consistently and authentically.
Obviously, I have my style of teaching and so does Darren and so will everyone else who learns from us. I am not against personal stye, in fact I am very much for it. There is an important resonance that happens in part through personal style that is at the heart of the teacher-student relationship. I hope that, to the degree that my students find my style effective that they will emulate it in a natural and authentic way and give me respectful credit.
I am also very much for a systematic approach to education. I am interested in offering content-based trainings so that teachers have the information they need to be knowledgeable about the asana, the tradition, the philosophy and practices. I want teachers to be informed teachers, not just charismatic teachers. What I am philosophically opposed to is the thought/idea/fantasy that after you digest the teachings from me and my life experience that you would/could/should see it like me and be able/willing/interested in doing that in your sphere of influence.
For instance, when John teaches themes he doesn't link a feeling word straight up with a key action and an adverb at all. He just teaches as himself and generally stays with a central message as he conducts his class. Since he is an inspiring person, his classes are inspiring. However, in order to make the use of themes part of a reproducible system with consistent standards, all that other stuff comes into play, to varying levels of efficacy, in my opinion. Same like in Iyegnar Yoga. Long time students of that tradition say things all the time like "The only person really teaching Iyengar Yoga is BKS Iyengar." Everyone else is actually teaching what they learned from the people who learned from him.
Be clear, I am systematic by nature. I have educational training in creating experiential systems and formulas to help bring esoteric concepts to life. In fact, I have a masters degree in that. And I believe I have demonstrated my ability to get results and to train people to become what I consider very fine yoga teachers. But even still, there is no way I can imagine being able to training someone in Christina Sell Yoga, even if I called it a fancier Sanskrit name and trademarked it. And even if I could train someone to teach Christina Sell Yoga, the task of training someone to train someone else to teach Christina Sell Yoga seems fairly improbable.
I believe that the teachings filter through each one of us in both similar and unique ways due to our life experiences, temperaments, karmas and dharma. And while I want my students who teach others to utilize and benefit from my work, studies and practices in every way possible, I do not want to create a formal system for others to follow and to have to legally or ethically comply with. I want to teach the principles behind teaching others, not just create content for people to teach. I will certainly have a style about the way I do that but School of Yoga is not a "yoga style" as such. We will not be creating endorsements for other people to teach School of Yoga Programs any time soon. We will, however, in the near future offer some graduate courses and trainings on "How to Teach Effective Teacher Trainings" and in "How to Lead from the Heart and Soul" and so on.
Hopefully, these distinctions are getting clearer, not muddier.
And while graduates will not be able to offer their own trainings in the School of Yoga Style they will be able to say they are certified through our school at the 200-hour level and at the 500-hour level, registered with Yoga Alliance, and we will list their name and affiliation on our website, etc. They will be trained with the context, knowledge, skills, resources, and inspiration to offer their own classes, workshops and trainings and to make their own contributions as they are able.
The thing is, I mean it when I say that its a new paradigm and the people involved are going to be a bit like pioneers in the project. We have had the last decade in the world of yoga be full new styles, trademarks, trends and corporately-driven yoga to the degree that a new "yoga style" is expected. I am interested in shifting the conversation around that and banding together with people who want to usher in a new wave of yoga education. This is not an "anything goes, do your own thing and its all good yoga" kind of training though. I like and believe in rigor. I would be dead without discipline, make no mistake. This is not a softer, easier way. But it is going to be a great ride for sure.
Here we go!