by Suzanne L. Beenackers
About a year ago my best friend (world citizen, vegetarian, good-natured) slept over in the guest bed in the living. In the morning she stayed in bed, my cats hung-out on her belly, and I did my yoga practice. After half an hour of yoga to the moans, groans and sexually explicit lyrics of Erotica by Madonna, I asked her if this did not lower her opinion of me. “You do yoga in ashrams where bare shoulders are considered a felony. I may not live up to your expectations of a yoga teacher.”
But she answered that I had developed a personal practice, and that all that is authentic, is good.
For the past seven months I’ve posted home yoga schedules here, and used those exercises for my classes. But what is authentically your yoga? Can you overcome any yoga dogmas you may have picked up, and create a practice that is you?
You can read all about the origins of yoga poses here. This will show you that there is no such thing as a prescribed authentic series of yoga poses. There are no books written on banana leaves, or oral traditions of physical yoga, transferred from teacher to student over the centuries. Your definition of how to do yoga, is as legit as that of any Indian Swami or Western Yoga Teacher.
Yoga tends to favor practitioners who work through their asana with military precision. Committing to the same set-up, rhythm or even the same asanas every day. People who use a rigid, pre-described practice (like Madonna) can get amazing results. Madonna is an extremely disciplined professional who reigns every aspect of her life. But it is not the authentic practice for everyone.
A good example of a free creative practice is Meghan Currie. You can view her time-laps yoga videos (compressing two hours into 9 minutes!) on her You Tube Channel, giving you an idea of how you can practice. She also made a very cute video of her and a friend making honey cacao masks, and a video where she cuts her own hair.
Although Madonna and Meghan Currie are completely different, they are both true to themselves, and have made their life into a work of art.
From your work, to your yoga, to what you put on your face or how you dry your armpits; let it all be an expression of you.