As I look back over all the trainings, workshops and retreats I’ve attended as a student, I’m struck by how much my interests have changed. While always looking for an excellent education and experience, as time has marched forward I can see that I’ve moved from the more dogmatic towards more open-minded, and indeed, from needing all the answers to resting in the questions.
Two things arise. First, to be clear, being dogmatic can lead to stubbornness and even feel arbitrary, but it is comforting in its clarity. Second, one can certainly go too far in the opposite direction: Open-mindedness can lead to vagueness and being indecisive. Plus, what about humor and and a sense of adventure? They don’t often come in the dogma package.
But just like the old school apprenticeship/master teacher model, it does pay to lean towards “be quiet and listen” in early days of training, doesn’t it? And to apprentice to someone who really knows their stuff and has been doing it a long time, right? Then, when is it time to question?When do we explore, play and even invent? Is that sacrilege, or disrespectful? Or creativity?!
We are at a time in the evolution of Yoga, where there are many new ideas, and a pushing against some of the”old ways.” To this I say,”awesome!” Being awake to who we are today, how we live and what our modern needs are – and how Yoga can serve us – is the point. Honoring tradition is just that, honorable, but including current research and even trends can help us enrich our own practices and continue the core Yogic inquiry, “Who am I?”
As students, we examine all aspects of our practice and curate our trainings to support our expansion, physically, mentally and spiritually.
As teachers, we can celebrate the best of our remarkable tradition, and continue to encourage exploration and inquiry.