As teachers, we view our teaching itself as a practice, and engage in constant inquiry about what good quality yoga teaching looks like.
We are inspired by the depth and complexity of the wisdom traditions of yoga and Buddhism and aim to honor yoga’s roots in all our teaching. Ahimsa, awareness, and waking up to the world as it is are the foundations of our teaching. We hope these three principles are evident in all our classes and we intend for these teachings of yoga to come through in the way we actually teach movement. Here are some ideas that are important to us:
Inquiry Is More Important Than Aesthetics
We believe the yoga mat is a laboratory, not a stage, and we are focused on inquiry and investigation rather than on aesthetics or performance. We still believe in using our physicality to grow, evolve, build strength, and have fun. We believe living in a human body is an incredible privilege and we aim to teach a movement practice that cares for, challenges and enjoys our bodies.
Although many systems of yoga espouse ahimsa (non-harming) to be a founding principle, when asana and movement are taught this ideal is often forgotten. As soon as the body and movement get involved teachers make themselves the expert and disempower their students. Movement concepts are taught from a dogmatic position where there is a right, wrong, safe, and dangerous way to move a body. We do not teach like this.
We intend to meet our students where they are, teaching them in ways that are meaningful, accessible, and empowering.
Practices and Poses Should Be Seen As Tools
We believe all the yoga practices and poses are just that: tools. They are instruments of awakening, but the poses themselves are not inherently liberating. That means we share the tools when and how they are helpful to each unique individual; we do not force a rigid concept of the tools as “correct” or “incorrect”.
We Aim To Be A Safe + Inclusive Space For All
Speaking of bodies and liberation, we recognize that in our society not all bodies have the same access to safety, resources, or institutional power. We aim to use our own practice to dispel the poisoning of the kyriarchy from inside ourselves and create learning experiences that feel welcoming and accessible for all people. We also believe that we are an interdependent society and our liberation is bound up in the liberation of all beings everywhere.
Movement Meets Meditation: A Descriptions of Our Classes
We weave thoughtful vinyasa flow movement practices with Buddhist teachings because we love the way sustained movement and deep presence complement each other. We combine awareness, breath, and vinyasa with somatic practices and functional strength training to fill the movement gaps left in the way asana is often practiced in the west.
Our active classes are physically challenging, especially because we bring in functional, nutritious movement that isn’t found in many yoga classes. We recognize that many people love yoga for it’s physical benefits (we do too!) and feel that the best way we can honor that is to teach well-rounded, balancing (and fun!) movement classes.
Classes are taught in specific levels. Everyone is welcome in all classes, but we are clear about what does and does not happen in each level so students can make empowered choices about what kind of physical practice is right for them. (Find our class descriptions here).
There Is No Such Thing As Predetermined, Hierarchical Progress
Even though we teach distinctly leveled classes we don’t actually believe there is a linear, hierarchical kind of progress that can be found in a yoga practice. For example, I personally have extreme amounts of mobility in many of my joints, so shapes that look challenging and “advanced” come quite easily to me. Taking my joints to the end of their range is not challenging for me, but holding myself at a mid-range is.
We don’t believe in a universal, prescribed kind of progress, but do we believe that everyone’s needs can be best met when there is a system of leveled classes, with clarity about what is taught in each class, so students are able to make informed choices and know what to expect in each class.
We Teach With Primarily Verbal Cues
We believe we can offer the most help to our students if we can actually see them, so this means we teach with primarily verbal cues, and we do very little physical demonstration.
We believe this way of teaching helps students drop deeper into presence, and is another way our teaching reflects our values. With limited physical demonstration, the focus moves away from the aesthetics of a shape and towards the experience of the practice. In our view, this is much more important. We are also able to adjust our own cueing, language, and sequencing when we can clearly see how it is landing with our students. We adjust ourselves so we can meet our students where they are and give them what they need.