What Kind of Yoga Do You Teach?

by Tara Casagrade  

For those of us who graduated from the Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) in Costa Rica, the question "What kind of yoga do you teach?" is often interesting to answer. Our teachers, Don and Amba Stapleton, lived in the Ashrama at Kripalu for a number of years and this is where much of their knowledge formed.  

From his yoga experience, Don developed a style of yoga called Self Awakening Yoga (SAY), and wrote a book by the same name about this unique, slow form of yoga that helps one connect to their primal movements on the earth and, hence, to their reptilian brain. This yoga helps regulate the nervous system, and allows the body to relax and heal.

While studying yoga at NYI, we were encouraged to "experience our organism" and to "develop our own style of yoga."  Don would say "Teach {Techer's Name}Yoga." We were also taught the traditional sutras by Patanjali, we reviewed form, sequence, alignment, vinyasa flow, and much more. Very often, however, Amba would say, "It's not how it looks. It's how it feels."

Our yoga graduation certificate states that we each are teachers of "Interdisciplinary Yoga." What does this mean?  Today, during a home practice it dawned on me. Interdisciplinary yoga is like the jazz form of yoga. There is no script. There is no, "It has to be done this way." Interdisciplinary yoga develops from the heart and soul of the teacher. The style is very appropriate to the energy of the moment because each class is different. We are allowed to play and be ourselves, which keeps it interesting for both the teacher and the student. There are so many more sayings our teachers used during our training. Each still rings so true in my body.

"Experience is the Teacher."

It's been close to five years since we opened our doors at Ease and close to ten years since I became a yoga teacher.  Nothing can be more true than the idea that experience has been my teacher. The experience of self-inquiry, and of guiding people to explore their inner and outer landscapes, has changed me in so many incredible ways. I feel so inspired and so full of gratitude for this community and all that Ease has taught me through these years.