Can't we all just get along?

I know the answer is no.

I read a blog post recently (ok, it was really like 6 months ago but it takes me a while to organize my thoughts, then my husband has to edit, then I edit... you get the idea) and a yoga teacher described her style as "boring", meaning she just did one pose, then changed to the other side, no flow, no movement, no "fancy choreography". She insinuated that her method of teaching was ultimately better because you are less likely to get hurt (which is false).

I suppose I might be too sensitive.  But I would never diss another yoga style to promote my own.  

Of course not every style of yoga is right for every person. But can we please agree that every style has value and just because you teach one way doesn't mean your way is the best/right/only way?

This is my natural state.  I've always been a rational, even-headed kind of gal.  I was obsessed fairness and conflict resolution as a kid.  My dad used to tease me, "the law firm of Anna & Anna" when I beseeched him and my mom on behalf of myself or my siblings.

Teachers dissing vinyasa, teachers dissing playing music, teachers dissing other studios, teachers dissing other teachers, feet together/feet hips distance, whatever it is, this "my way or the highway" mentality is unhealthy and unethical, with the the exception of Bikram.  I think we can all safely diss him ;)

It's said that one of Krishnamacharya's underlying principles was to "teach what is appropriate for the individual." That means that a yoga asana will vary from person to person. What works for one person may not for another.

I respect the opinion of the the author of the article I referenced earlier. This person found that static and simple sequencing was best for her body and has chosen to share what she thought was the method that spoke to her. She's being authentic, that is something I totally appreciate.  My quibble is with her negativity of other styles.  I agree, though entirely appropriate for certain individuals, personally I would find her style of yoga "boring", but I would never announce that in a public forum like a blog or a yoga class as a reason people should come to MY class or practice MY way.

I have some baggage when it comes to this issue. This article is not the first time I've heard a teacher dissing another style, much worse, I've heard it many times in the sacred space of a yoga class.

Currently, my public classes are all creative vinayasa. I also teach restorative and beginners yoga, but vinyasa is mainly what I'm know for. However, I do not teach this way to most of my private clients. My private instruction is specialized, therapeutic and often not "flowing" . Each individual is different, and I attempt to teach what is appropriate for them at that moment in time. I'm able to adapt to the specific needs of my clients because I'm not glued to one specific style or lineage. I'm a yoga mutt and continue to explore, learn and be curious to what other teachers/styles have to offer, always remaining a student so I can better myself as a teacher. 

I write this not to present myself as a wizened, all-knowing yoga goddess but to hopefully inspire open-mindeness and real community amoung teachers. I certainly have things I prefer and alignment I adhere to, but instead of bashing the opposing/different view in order to promote my own view, what if we simply stated it? "I found that keeping my feet hips distance apart in uttanasna gives me more freedom to fold" vs "Feet together is wrong and you will hurt yourself, you should always have your feet hips distance." 

It boils down to respect. Once ego creeps in, it convinces us that we are better and the respect we may have once had crumbles. I find remaining a student (continuing to study with new teachers) is a great exercise in examining the ego.  With each new perspective, I try to pay attention to what resonates and why, and what don't I like and why. Understanding the "why" is the key, it's where objectivity comes into play. Objectivity and humility go hand in hand.  

My other reason for writing this is to perhaps encourage practitioners to take ownership of their practice. Don't just accept what yoga teachers say.  Hear it, reflect on it and then decide.  

For example: I was in a class with a teacher I had never practiced with before.  She led us through standard Surya Namaskar A + B and was very focused on alignment.  As we moved into Parsvakonasa (side angle pose) she said, "Don't distract yourself with movement." If you've seen me in class, taken my class or watched my videos, you know I like to move.  I could have have blown her off and continued to do my own thing, but I didn't.  I answered her (in my head) "OK, I'll try your way."  I thought about her comment in the following days, was I distracting myself?  I came to the conclusion that I wasn't.  I find intentional movement actually brings more awareness, getting you familiar with all the nooks of your body.  But thats me.  Is she wrong? No! Its a matter of opinion. 

Its like arguing about what the best kind of cheese is.  Some like fresh mozzarella, others manchego, and still others kraft singles.  In the end, we can agree on this, we ALL love cheese.