Lineage plays an important role in Yoga. For those interested, I offer a brief summary of what influences my practice and informs my teaching. For those a tad more geeky about Yoga, I have more about lineages and commentary in this post.
The Ghosh lineage influences the physical posture practice. The series that Bikram Choudhury developed has done wonders for many people. It is simple, accessible, and can produce dramatic results. There is much to criticize about the man, but much that he espouses through this series is spot on. I feel that repetition leads to comfort and understanding. The static hold of a posture followed by stillness teaches us to transition and accept. The body responds to vigor, and the mind will follow the body to stillness.
The Krishnamacharya lineage explains the philosophy of Yoga. I have studied the Yoga Sutras in depth with Chase Bossart. It was a rich experience. The Sutras, like the Tao Te Ching, are incredibly distilled. I don’t think I would have understood them without visceral physical experience. Or a guide. For me, much of what the Sutras offer hinges on how the 2nd sutra is interpreted: Yoga is the ability to focus on one thing. Choosing what to focus on offers so much more than simply ‘stilling the mind,’ which other interpretations suggest.
The Kripalu lineage informs my teaching. Kripalu is one of the Hindu words for compassion. One of the concepts that was presented in Kripalu Teacher Training was to “give permission” to our students; to adjust, accept, or just stop. In my journey, that gave me permission to have compassion for myself. Yes, we can push, we can strive, but we can also rest.