Yoga Buffet - An Answer to Modern Yoga Practices & Their Origins

Yoga Buffet

How would I describe my yoga classes? They’re a yoga buffet. That’s my answer to what my classes are (or at least one of them). In a sense, this is what most all classes are, except for the rigid and dogmatic styles or types of yoga classes that believe that their way is the only way. Kind of like a religion. The problem with religion is its dogma, this idea that there is only one way or that their way is the only way or a better way. This mentality seems to go hand in hand with humans’ fearful nature, and it exists in some degree in most all human-organized endeavors, including the yoga community. Many people would feel out of place in many religions (or yoga practices), as those religions cannot answer the needs or questions that those people have, or maybe those people don’t resonate with the practices of those religions. So where does that leave people, if that was the only way? Yet all religions (and yoga practices) have some beautiful elements. What if you could pick and choose from all religions (or yoga practices) the stuff you appreciate, and then add some other stuff if you want and create your own practice? That’s what Buddha did!

In my classes, I try to create this type of mind-set or attitude, where I offer fully my 40 years of experience, yet encourage people to pick and choose out of these offerings that which resonates and feels right to them and leave the rest behind. This way they are personalizing their experience, turning a generic yoga class into something more personally conducive to their uniqueness. This is the same as a buffet, right? The chef lays out before you all the food, condiments, spices etc. that they offer (or some of it), and then you pick and choose what you want to eat as well as you choose the quantity, and of course you choose the seasoning. In this way the eating experience becomes more personal and more personally conducive to ones needs. This is what I encourage in my classes. I myself have had so many powerful and special wellness, spiritual and yoga experiences and using these experiences and adding my own intuitive elements, I have designed a wellness practice that’s conducive for me. It seems with all these styles and systems and practices of yoga out there, many yoga instructors have done the same thing. So if we have empowered ourselves to develop and design our own yoga practice or even a system that works for us, why would we not encourage our class participants to do the same?

Pattabhi Jois completely made up the Ashtanga yoga system so why can’t we make up our own system? Iyengar said he made it all up, John Friend broke away from Iyengar to create Anasara Yoga, Baptiste broke away from Bikram, Rolf Gates broke away from Baptiste, Rod Stryker went from Alan Finger’s ISHTA yoga to creating his own Para yoga, Jivamukti made up their own style etc…  If all these folks and many more (Jesus Christ and Bruce Lee as well)  have empowered themselves, why would we want to keep our students locked into our styles? Why not empower them to try it all and create their own as we did? My classes have this mentality and support this type of freethinking and independence. This is very empowering and one of the reasons I coined the term and call my classes Power Yoga. Our bodies are a by-product of two very unique things. They are a by-product of our genetic lineage and all our life experiences. No two people have these two same things. So to honor our unique experience, we need to discover how our history is affecting us and work accordingly and in this way a wellness practice or exercise becomes healing because we are honoring what we are feeling. It is actually not even yoga if you are not doing this, because in honoring what you are feeling as opposed to blindly following, one has to tune in to their unique experience. This tuning in is the first step in meditation; it’s called focus and concentration. If your yoga practice is not a meditation (in motion), then it’s lacking the healing potential it could have. Welcome to Power Yoga and yoga buffet :)