Chakra Yoga: Lam. Vam. Ram. Yam. Ham. Om. Om.

Over the many years that I have been teaching I have spent the majority of my time instructing beginners.  I love the challenge inherent to teaching people new to the practice but even more than that I love their openness.  Beginners have yet to define what Yoga means to them so they are flexible.  If I say Yoga is chanting, they are in. If I say Yoga is breathing, they are in. If I say Yoga is stillness, they are in.

What has always seemed strange to me is that many students over time become rigid about their practices. They define Yoga for themselves and are no longer open to new ideas or new styles.  To be honest that rigidity makes me sad.  Yoga is a 5,000 years old tradition and from my experience every time you try to limit it the practice will expand beyond the boundary you set in the sand.
This last week I challenged myself as a teacher and taught Chakra Yoga with the bīja (seed) mantras to beginning students. That basically means that for over an hour my students sang while holding postures.   It was a huge risk as a teacher and while I am rarely nervous about teaching on Monday I was. Through that agitation I caused myself to grow, after all the only way to expand a comfort zone is to be uncomfortable. As usual my beginning students were my teachers.  From the Root Chakra to the Crown, twenty-two students sang with open minds and hearts and I am proud of every one of them for it.
To me the myriad of Yoga practices are like a Mala (108 beads on a string used for chanting) each bead is unique but they are all part of the whole.

Photo: Edward Winter Photography