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Feedback From the Field – Fusing Yoga Styles

In the last issue of Inner IDEA Body-Mind-Spirit Review, we asked Do you teach a different style of yoga than you personally practice? What is your philosophy on fusing yoga styles? Here’s what you had to say.

“In 1985 I started kundalini yoga. In the late 90s a (kundalini yoga) healer told me that in order to be a better teacher I needed to be more physically integrated, which led me to intensive ashtanga practices. I do not believe in mixing styles so when I teach vinyasa and hatha I do not mix kundalini and vice versa. They work very differently energetically and my ashtanga teacher confirmed this.

“Since 2003 I have taught a variety of styles but keep them within themselves. Bringing some ashtanga poses into a hatha or vinyasa class works but teaching ashtanga has its own sequencing, as does kundalini. I also study with certain teachers when they pass through New York City to improve and integrate my teaching further. Although I teach full time, I find it very important to keep up my own practice as well. I used to practice more kundalini than I do now but I still practice meditations. I strongly believe in the unique healing benefits of kundalini yoga and how it has transformed many aspects of my life.”

Donna Davidge-Bonham, Island Falls, Maine

“I have a failed rotator cuff surgery on the left and an okay rotator cuff surgery on the right plus another surgery to fix a shattered glenoid. I decided not to practice active yoga and now only teach and do yin yoga, which is now very popular at Snowcreek Athletic Club in Mammoth Lakes.

“I do think that blending styles has its merits, such as yin/yang. Introducing restorative poses at the end of class as part of relaxation section is great. My classes are only one hour (I am sure many instructors at health clubs experience similar limitations), which is not long enough to blend styles appropriately. By mixing styles more students are introduced to a wider concept of what yoga is.

“I used to be a bit of a purist and shun other types of combination classes. Now I see them as a way to introduce yoga to a larger population. I emphasize, however, that the spirit of yoga should be maintained at all costs. Inappropriate music is out of the question and location should be an issue too. Nightclubs and rock music are sacrilege (in my humble opinion).”

— Tessa Coker, Mammoth Lakes, California


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