This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yoga Lineage

Discovering lineage brings one closer to the thread in the network of the yogic teachings.  Anyone who practices shares in the lineage.  Some students and teachers identify with a more distinct lineage.  I never really did.  Claiming one would have felt contrived for me since it would not have been from genuine connection.  The feeling I've had has been one more akin to spreading out and absorbing.  That said, only recently have I discovered a modern lineage to Vanda Scaravelli.  The unfolding happened as the result of the 3rd (or 4th) leg of a stool firming into place.  Let me explain, from the beginning.

In the mid-90's, when I first started taking classes and practicing, my father-in-law gave me Vanda Scaravelli's book Awakening the Spine.  Looking back, this is curious since my father-in-law, as far I understand, does not know anything about yoga and it is he who gives me this quite non-mainstream book! 

Several years later a friend suggested I borrow her copy of Angela Farmer's video Feminine Unfolding. Loving it, I started to study the "untraining" approach of Angela Farmer and Victor Van Kooten (her husband).  My teacher trainer, Anna Gerard-Pittman (Amuyanna), embraced their work as well and translated her own way of unwinding. 

Somewhere along the line I purchased Sandra Sabatini's book Breath: The Essence of Yoga and have turned to her poetry for inspiration again and again.  She too was a student of Vanda Scaravelli.

About 5-6 years ago a yoga student gave me Julie Rappaport's 365 Yoga:  Daily Meditations.  It is a compilation of teachings from a variety of masters, spiritual leaders, teachers, poets and authors but also includes Julie's perspective on yoga, which is in-line with how I experience and approach the practice.  Well, this week I looked online for more information about her and found she is a student of Angela Farmer.

As evidence to my connection to this approach, many yoga books have come into my life, most of which have moved along.  The work of Vanda Scaravelli, Sandra Sabitini, Angela Farmer & Victor Van Kooten and Julie Rappaport comprise half my collection of favorite yoga materials.  The other yoga-related works include:  Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda plus a binder of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons (which I will actually go through from start to completion one day); three different translations of the Bhagavad Gita; Halfway Up The Mountain:  The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightment by Mariana Caplan; To Know Your Self: The Essential Teachings of Swami Satchidananda; Dr. V.S. Rao's translations of Patanjali's Yoga Darshan; and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  I will always keep several texts on asana and panayama technique.  I'm not in a very technical place with the practice currently, however, it has been my experience for the techniques to take shape on their own.  And, I waves of a more directed practice and periods of a more fluid practice.

As described in Sandra Sabatini's book my preferred approach is a "gentle but radical yoga that emphasizes working with the breath, gravity and the spine."  Although I am delighted at the discovery of firming my footing onto a lineage, I accept it as a temporary feeling of homecoming.  The true path is well, more pathless!

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