I have been asked, “Why don’t you teach the more ‘spiritual’ kind of yoga?” It’s true that I don’t talk about God and one of my students recently commented that I wasn’t an “Om’er”.
That question puzzles me. It assumes a fundamental separation between body and spirit and implies that we could attend to our physical health or transcend to a higher pursuit.
With clear and erudite teaching, I enjoy classes with more mystical language, Sanskrit chanting, and spiritual themes. However, I cringe at the sing-song, “yoga” voice lacquering on the new age psychobabble. With a mind always chattering about dramas of the past and projections of the future, I don’t need more flowery chatter.
My classes unapologetically invite an internal focus into the body. Tracking sensations, concentrating on form, and appreciating the breath anchor us in the moment. The proprioceptive feedback of movement harnesses the mind. As our bodies and minds unite we dwell fully in the present. With presence, an individual sense of spiritual connection can arise spontaneously.
I want my classroom to be as inclusive as possible so I don’t assume that everyone shares my beliefs. Although we may have different Gods, we have similar bodies. With acute awareness, addressing the quotidian maintenance of the body is a profound practice. My instructions aim to cultivate vivid embodiment, establish optimal alignment, and get students moving. The yoga works it’s magic regardless of our spiritual inclinations.