One of the first things people ask you when they find out you do yoga is what style you practice or teach. I have always found this question to have a long answer. In reality, there are few styles of yoga I haven’t practiced. And over the course of time I have shifted in and out of certain styles/methods/and practices. Can a style or a method be effective if it is only dabbled in? Or does each style require that you practice it and only it every day for the method to work?
I started with Bikram. I gained flexibility, focus, and health from this yoga. It is a very specific discipline and after a couple of years I wanted to branch out. So I tried most everything, or at least what Yogaworks in LA had to offer. I found vinyasa flow, Iyengar, yin, restorative, and anusara. And since then, Jivamukti, ashtanga, and hot yoga. And to some of these disciplines I have committed a fair amount of time, mainly vinyasa flow. And now, more and more, I find myself wanting to blend the styles. I want to take from all these forms and make a kind of yoga fusion. Perhaps that is what is so attractive about vinyasa flow. It is a living style that is being influenced by teachers today. And in fact yin/yang yoga is growing more popular, a blend of vinyasa and yin, deep stretches.
Methods work. They especially work when followed with discipline. But since freeing myself of yoga discipleship, it’s hard to go back. I would like to believe there is room to explore yoga in a broad sense and learn from many different kinds of teachers. The intensity of what a teacher has to offer is correlative to the integrity they have for their discipline. Perhaps a fusion of styles can be its own niche, and the blend becomes its own new thing. Or maybe instead of blending the styles together you practice different styles simultaneously.
I say, for the sake of self-expression and personal growth, yoga is to be embraced. If the style feels right, if it builds you up and softens your edges, then its a good thing. Branch out, build up, and be blissful.