Truth be told I have always been a synthesizer. I started learning yoga in Iyengar Yoga, spent a lot of time in Bikram Yoga and some time in Ashtanga Vinyasa, before I got involved in Anusara Yoga in 1999. And anyone who knows me knows that even as a licensed Anusara Yoga teacher I still studied other systems and even took a trip in 2007 to Pune, India to study at the Iyengar Yoga Institute.
The weird thing is that I also love and admire purists and when I am in their world, I play by their rules. For instance, you will never see me in a Bikram class, "doing my own thing" or in an Ashtanga Vinyasa class, "being creative" or in an Iyengar Yoga class "expressing my individuality." Nope, not me. I get the value of pure, undiluted teachings from their source. I really do. Totally into it.
It's just that I didn't do it that way. My path hasn't been a purist path. My path has had twist, turns, circuitous wanderings and repeat visits back to previously charted territory only to see the same teachings again with new eyes. I am so pitta that the purist path seriously appeals to me on one level and many-a-day I wish that was the way it had gone for me. I certainly think it would make marketing myself and my teaching a whole lot easier since I cringe every time I am forced to describe my style as "eclectic." But well, it is the truth and if 2011 and 2012 taught me anything it was the value of admitting the truth to myself. And in the next breath, I have to say, I am pretty happy to have had a diverse yoga education. So, it depends on the day.
Anyhow, we had a great intensive. My personal intention for the weekend had to do with community and establishing my momentum for a new cycle that would allow me to bring forward key pieces from the past and leave behind what no longer serves me. To me, that is an important theme that emerged toward the end of my year. I feel it as a coming full circle at the end of the year and a lovely quality to invoke at the beginning of a new cycle.
The funny thing is that I even with all the challenge and heartbreak of the last year, I found myself reflecting on 2012 as a really great year. I can go back into a lot of the daily moments and remember certain difficulties and yet the sum total of all of that difficulty served me so that I am sitting here now, feeling stronger, clearer, more courageous and more aware. Adversity is a great training ground and if I were to sum it all up, I'd have to say that Rumi said it best in his poem, Lovers:
Stretch your arms and take hold the cloth of your clothes
with both hands. The cure for pain is in the pain.
Good and bad are mixed. If you don't have both,
you don't belong with us.