Yoga for Life  — Richard Hittleman

 

Yoga is ancient. It is forever deep and wise. There should be no fashions, trends and interpretations because the heart of yoga is changeless.

Right?

Another view says that yoga is as flexible as well-worked hamstrings and can be shaped anyway at all to suit all manner of students and teachers.

Witness the introduction of such contemporary styles of yoga as:

  • Laughter Yoga
  • Aerial Yoga (you hang from hammock-like swings installed in the ceiling)
  • Naked Yoga
  • Yoga Bust-Up (improve your bustline and avoid breast implants)
  • Yoga for Foodies (variations of this include yoga for chocolate lovers or wine tasters)
  • Tantrum Yoga (access your inner grumpy child)

If there is a question in your mind about whether any of this is real yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is meant to be the final arbiter.

But perhaps Patanjali isn’t the complete authority on yoga. He didn’t write the book; he compiled information from several thinkers of different times into one text. He was a re-mixer, Julian Walker says in a fascinating piece, ‘Patanjali 2.0: Purity? It’s All a Remix Anyway!’ For good measure, Walker quotes Igor Stravinski, conductor and pianist:

“Good composers borrow, great composers steal.”  

I learned yoga originally at a YMCA and from Richard Hittleman’s book, Yoga: 28 Day Yoga Exercise Plan. These were the days where women wore lycra tights and leotards, and the men…. Uh, where were they?

I would have been bored out of my tree if I hadn’t discovered there were other styles, some of which were Oki Yoga, Satyananda and Iyengar.

It’s hard to guess what sort of re-mix I’ve ended up with. You may agree that even in the same tradition, individual teachers will vary wildly in how they present material.

B.K.S. Iyengar is reputed to have said that he’s the only one who can teach Iyengar Yoga, and, of course, that’s true.

I tell those who ask me what sort of yoga I teach, it’s Eve Yoga. I don’t mean to big note myself, especially in Australia where tall poppies don’t fare well. I’ve just done what teachers always do: we’re constantly remixing.

I’m fortunate that I live in a semi-rural area, among people who are salt-of-the-earth. They don’t seem to care  under what banner I teach.

Fusion goes on. For me, all my life experiences to date go into the mix, even writing this post.

I think I have the name for a new style: Alive Yoga.