The official title of my major at Prescott College was Community-Based Environmental Conservation. As much as I at times wish that I had chosen a different course of study, I still really love how I see myself in that description. Community-based reminds me of the whole. Of the importance, and really in my opinion, the necessity of gathering up the diverse perspectives, variability, and needs of the whole. I see in that name an emerging preference and tendency in myself to be concerned with a broader range of perspective as well as suspect of too specified a group or organization. One story is never the whole story. I think I was just beginning to learn that lesson as a young enthusiastic college kid and I have continued to explore it in the years since.
I have never had great success in becoming part of a group. And not so much because I feel that I don't belong- even if that was more the story of my earlier years- but rather, I am wary of what I may loose sight of by claiming one style/organization/approach/school as my own. Even so, I have attempted it many times over the years. I have courted and actively pursued specificity and sense of place within several different yoga systems. Some with more gusto than others. And even in the moments where I have been about to lay claim to them in relationship to me, I am never quite able to get rid of the needling little voice in the back of my mind that cautions me against becoming too defined and too rigid in opinion and approach to the teachings and the practice. Generally, at that point, I have backed off and returned again to the broader perspective. Where I welcome in more light and fresh insight.
I have learned so much from so many different systems: Anusara, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram at the heart of it. But you can see, even looking at those names listed here, why one might be a little apprehensive about sidling too close up into the center of any one in particular. And the great news is, that more and more this amalgam reality that I live within, where I learn and benefit from the whole, is becoming more and more of the norm for the yoga world today. People are less concerned about style and more focused on what they love about their teacher's teaching. They could kinda care less about their teacher's teacher. It was not that way when I was starting. Or even ten years ago. You had better know what group you were a part of if your message was to have any merit at all.
I have felt this same pull/push- maybe this is what is meant by "healthy skepticism"- as a parent and a home educator as well. When Maple was born, we were living in a vibrant Waldorf community. And it was lovely for her and I (and later on Eider) in terms of really exposing us to their early childhood philosophy and approach to nurturing and teaching the whole child. I look back at that experience and my education within that community as the primary foundation of my parenting. And yet, it was very clear to me after awhile that I didn't not want my kids at a Waldorf school. Even though we explored the option on several occasions. I felt there was greater risk in the exclusivity of perspective of the group than I felt there was by staying on the fringes. And that has carried over into my approach as a homeschool parent. I am suspicious of all-inclusive curriculum, and choose instead to forage for the bits and pieces that best comprise the whole. The only place with my kids where I have been able to embrace a pedagogy is in the Suzuki school of music. And perhaps that is because when you make your way in that world for awhile you see that many segments of the community are represented with great variety region to region and state to state. There doesn't appear to be a real homogenized whole- or maybe it is just easy for Eider to navigate.
So I have become a generalist of sorts I suppose. I forage for what I can find connection and meaning in and let go of what doesn't click. In yoga, in homeschool but also to a great degree in religion and politics. And that is not to say that I do not have clear beliefs and opinions. If anything, I think it is the reverse. I know what I believe in and I am also aware of the contradictions and hypocrisy within formal systems and it is of greater importance to me to keep a strong sense of the checks and balances, than it is to be a part of the group. (Please don't read this and think that I am not a registered voter within a particular party. I am. Good grief, I am.)
I am going to leave it at that today. And with a little sense of what my practice looks like right now. It is an amalgam of styles. A little hybrid sequence. You can see of a variety of systems in the selection of postures. I think it feels good. It feels honest. Maybe it will to you too.
Amv, Ams, SPG cycle
Virasana, Supta Virasana
Sirsasana, Handstand, Pinchamayurasana
Crescent, Sba, Uttanasana
Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana cycle, Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Parsvottanasana
Surya Namaskar A- 3x
Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Triangamuhkaikapada, Marichy 1
Ustrasana, Parighasana var, Hanumanasana/Samakonasana
Urdhva D 3x, Dwi Pada Viparitta Dandasana 3x