Unbranded Yoga Theory:

All of my studying points to one basic truth: No two paths are the same. Each and everyone of us is different. There is no chance that any of our paths can be completely identical.

But the goal, the end of the quest is always the same. Enlightenment, Valhalla, Heaven; it doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s that supreme peace, that whole happiness, that ever persistent connection to YOU.

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. – Matsuo Basho

Everything we learn is filtered by our own experience. Each teaching, no matter where it comes from, will resonate differently with each student.

An artist creates work to evoke an emotion in the viewer. Often, the emotion the viewer feels is quite different than what the artist intended. But, that doesn’t matter. The artist’s goal is to evoke emotion; it doesn’t matter which one.

Likewise, the lessons we learn may not be the one the teacher is trying to teach. But, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have learned.

In this way, attempting to find the end goal that someone else found is futile. We can study the scriptures. We can learn from the greatest teachers. In the end, we learn what we are destined to learn. We find our lesson.

Yoga – union – is a path and a destination.

The Teachings – Asana

We look for teachers. We attend our favorite teachers classes in hopes that they will help us get into X posture. We try to find THE teacher that gives us the best workout. Some of us look for the studio that feels most like home, so we can be comfortable in our exploration of our own practice.

But we sit there – in step 3 of an 8-limbed path.

We sit and try to learn what was learned before us.

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Take the word from out of the quote. See how the meaning changes? I believe the quote is correct as it stands. Learn from history and use it to move forward; not just sit trying to perfect it.

Yoga – whether we are talking about the physical practice or the path – is a set of teachings. Teachings that, like history, are best allowed to be developed. The true application of yoga is to find your yoga.

God is an experience – Swami Satchidananda

We can learn the path of yoga, but we cannot learn the destination of yoga. We can teach the path of yoga, but we cannot teach the destination. We can only experience the destination.

Unbranded Yoga is about teaching the path of yoga and allowing students to find their own lessons and experience their own destination.

Teaching Stories

Much of the teaching in Unbranded Yoga comes through the “art” of story-telling. In this way, the lesson isn’t told to you; the lesson is inferred by your own perception. The teaching, then, directly applies to you and your current understanding. You are more easily able to accept information as further expanding your knowledge rather than a conflict to your current knowledge.

The purpose of the storyteller is to relate the truth in a manner that is simple: … for it is rarely possible to declare the truth as it is, because the universe presents itself as a Mystery.
 
The job of a storyteller is to speak the truth; but what we feel most deeply cannot be spoken in words. At this level only images connect. And so the story becomes symbol; and symbol is myth.
Alan Gardner

We develop a mechanism for each student to complete the cycle into teacher by learning to tell their own story, based on the lessons they have learned, in a way that both allows for others’ growth and their own growth putting them back into the seat of the student.

Much of Western yoga, today, is taught much like facts in school. But, we cannot lose sight that the goal of yoga teachings is not to learn the facts. It is to learn the path. We learn this by the examples of our teachers – for good or ill. As the myth of Matsyendra teaches us, we can only be the student for so long. It is our destiny to become the teacher – to share what we have learned.

Use this responsibility to teach as the story-teller. Illuminate the path.

To teach in any other way is to illuminate the ego’s desire for recognition.

Unbranded Yoga in practice

My practice – and the one I teach – is noted by a few simple things:

  • Practice moves through the Chakra system: a posture or two… or three that reach each of the seven main energy points.
  • Practice touches on the first 7 limbs focusing on the 8th as the end result.
  • Practice changes with the season (Ayurvedically): and in most cases by the day depending on how the room – or I – feel.
  • Practice is meant to cultivate and drive your own story – open to your own life’s fluctuations. No particular postures or sequences are required in “every” practice.
  • Practice is a balance between personal favorite postures, the postures we don’t like (based on the theory that we need those the most), and postures we are actively working on attaining.
  • Classes intertwine stories, traditions, and theories of yoga and other energetic paths.

Unbranded Yoga transforms your Asana routine into the path of your life.

Unbranded Stu