I just read Christina Sell’s blog and was blown away that she and I started teaching and studying yoga at around the same time. I started teaching in 1991 and realize that yoga has changed dramatically since then. Yoga was hippie dippy in those days and not so mainstream like it is today.
I started studying with David Life and Sharon Gannon, a couple of ex-performance artists in the East Village with lots of tattoos and nose rings. I was an aerobics instructor and was happy to get away from that thunka thunka music and and learn to really dig stillness for the first time in my life. I never thought I would earn a living at teaching yoga. Everyone who taught yoga did something else in those days.
photo by nancy adler
I studied Iyengar with Genny Kapular and Mary Dunn; Vinyasa with Tracey Rich and Ganga White and Cindi Lee; and then met John Friend. I feel like the influences of all my teachers are with me as I decide on sequences or possibly play music during the vinyasa portion of class. I hate dogma and rigidity in the many systems of yoga I have explored along the way but love and relate to the deep connection to community I found in Anusara®.
I now teach Anusara® Yoga at Pure Yoga and Equionx in NYC. There are so many styles there you cannot keep track of them all. The students are enthusiastic and love to dabble in this style and that style. It is such a different yoga world now.
I also teach at one of NYC’s oldest and most authentic yoga schools, the World Yoga Center, on the Upper West Side This school is the only exclusively Anusara® School in NYC. Its’ teaching staff is experienced, full of heart and deeply committeed their own path and to the growth of their students. What a gift! The students come in all ages and levels. This is one unique place to practice and teach. It came into being in 1974. This vintage Yoga studio is the real deal.
I am seeing a very different scene in Yoga today then when I started studying 22 years ago. There were no rock star yoga teachers. There were senior teachers who came around once in a while. We all flocked to their classes. In between their visits we worked hard to get our practice up to speed for their next visit.
I learned yoga by hanging out with one teacher for 7 years and the next for 15 years. Even as I studied with those teachers and pretty much stayed true to them and their methodolgy, I brought all of my teacher’s influences to my classes. I am now for the first time in 22 years without a major senior teacher. This is a new experience. I am learning to access the teacher within. Necessity is the Mother of Invention!!
Our Anusara® kula has come thorugh some amazing changes. It is a very creative time. I find myself yearning to do seva, to chant, to do Mantra Japa and to meditate.
I am grateful for this journey as it takes its amazing twists and turns. I look forward to taking on a new role in my community. I have held the postion of Chairperson of the Certification Committee for the new Anusara® School of Hatha Yoga for the past year. It has been one of the most intense years of my life! Careful of what you ask the universe for.
I have learned more about my capacity to do the impossilbe and the strength of my conviction. I have met some great beings who are working thier tails off to save this school and bring it into its next incarnation.
There are some folks who no longer speak to me because of my choice to stay with Ansuara Yoga.( Even though our school is completely independent from John Friend.) I can only say that it is important to follow your own dharma. If people are questioning your choices, let them know that you are listening to the inner teacher and letting him or her lead the way.
I send you all much love and respect.
Thanks, Christina Sell, for inspiring this blog.
photo by www.nancyadler.com.