It Doesn't Matter What Flavor of Yoga You Pra

January 16, 2013


People often ask what kind of yoga I teach.  In the midst of the explosion of yoga styles and innovative forms (yoga and swimming, flying yoga, Zumba and yoga, hip-hop yoga, hot yoga, vinyasa, etc.), this is an interesting question to try to answer.

"Basic" or "fundamental hatha" yoga are somewhat bland, generic descriptions.  And, for anyone enamored with the vast array of available yoga flavors, like "chocolate" or "vanilla," neither of these names generates much interest.

Nonetheless, for me, basics/fundamentals are the most exciting aspects of my yoga practice.  And they are the most profound.

What are the basics?  Breath, posture, movement, focused attention, awareness--these are primary.

The various forms yoga takes in a culture of invention and innovation are ALL designed to use breath, posture and movement in various combinations to create awareness of Self and condition the mind so it can focus.

In general, every teacher teaches what works for him/her.  Therefore, those of us who need a strong physical practice to drop us into inner space tend to teach classes that require a lot of strength and endurance.  Those of us who need movement in order to quiet our incessant chatter tend to offer movement/vinyasa classes. People who teach classes focused on technique (Iyengar, Anusara) are those for whom alignment - the optimum placement of joints, limbs and torso - is an important tool for exploring inner space.

And those who discovered that focusing on breathing can transform an entire life (that's me!) tend to teach breath-based, slowly flowing classes.

I love technique, and I love movement.  But most of all, I love the fact that, when we focus on our own breath, we can drop into a space in which WE become the teacher.  The technical aspects, the movement. . .these are just enough to keep us steady in our awareness.

This is my intention:  a steady state of awareness through all the changes asana - and life - may bring.

Nancy McCaochan, an M.A., E-RYT 500, taught freshman composition at a small technical college in Southeastern Ohio before moving to Michigan in 2001 to study yoga with Jonny Kest. Because of her varied background, Nancy has a pragmatic approach to yoga. Her motto is "breathe, be aware, and do what works for you." Nancy's primary influence is Krishnamacharya, but she also studies shamanism and is currently exploring Kundalini yoga. Nancy's classes are breath-based explorations of inner space.

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