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Bhakti Chakra Yoga

I’ve been doing yoga for just about 30 years now. 30 years!That’s a long time! And it’s been an important part of my health care regimen.

Over the decades, I’ve tried many different forms. Ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power yoga, Restorative yoga. Some inspired a deep dive, others were a passing romance. I got my teaching certification in Vinyasa yoga in December, but I’ve never taught a class and I’ll tell you why.

My favorite yoga class of my entire life was a Sunday morning class that I attended for years. It was Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, celebration and worship. I so miss that class! Taught by wonderful friends.

It was a true yoga community. Upon entering the space, we all greeted one another, introducing ourselves to every new student. There was live music and chanting the entire time. We sang and moved and opened our hearts. As we held asanas, we also meditated on spiritual themes of love, flexible strength and balance. As a class, we would trip into a higher frequency. As I laid down in savasana (corpse pose), I would be so anchored in gratitude for my health and body, I would shake and sometimes weep with the overwhelming gift of my life.

I’m living in Austin, Texas now and now that COVID is over, I’ve been looking for my yoga community but so far, the classes I’ve taken here are primarily exercise classes. Flowing through poses at high rates of speed with near constant anatomical descriptions. An effort of push or stretch, the next pose continually out of reach, preventing me from entering the present moment. When namaste is shared at the end of class, it lands with the weight of a shiva emotion. Perhaps that’s what yoga has become. Or that’s what it is here.

I’m finally ready now to teach yoga. I should say, I need to teach yoga. I need to bring forth my lifetime of study. I need to get away from this damned computer, get back in my body, back into those beautiful open studios, where breath, movement and presence come into focus.

The problem is…and its kind of the current theme of my life right…I’m not sure what I have to offer is something the world wants.

I want to introduce myself to my neighbors in yoga class, to create community. Although there is only air between our mats, it feels as though there is a solid wall of mistrust. I want to guide a heart opening pose as an expansion of love energy. To connect the physical strength of warrior to the personal story of power we need to sanely navigate our lives. To breathe and welcome sexual energy in butterfly pose. To feel grounded through the root. To call out our divinity as we lengthen skyward in mountain.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson from a friend recently. Sometimes the best first step forward is to create change from within. To give students something they are familiar with and slowly evolve over time. So although I want to reach out to local studios with this Bhakti Chakra Yoga class. I think I’ve finally learned, there’s probably a better way to go about it.

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