~~ from my teacher, Devarshi Steven Hartman
Yoga is a transmission. It always has been and always will be. It happens from person, to person, to person, from teacher, to student. When you think of your “Kripalu Experience” know that it was about a person, or a group of people, who transmitted the very real experience of the Path of Love to you, and through you. Yoga and Love can never be held in bricks and mortar. It is never about a place, a name, an organization, a brand; it is an EXPERIENCE that one must have received in order to embody it and pass it on.
The Kripalu Lineage lives on. It’s light can never be put out. It lives in the heats of every person who has been touched by the transformative power of authentic love from one person to another. This specific lineage began with Bapuji, Swami Kripalu, and has touched YOU! It comes in every form, available for every person. Having studied yoga for forty years now, I find it humorous when someone asks the question, “What kind of yoga do you teach?”
When I started studying yoga, I studied YOGA. When Bapuji and Amrit studied yoga, they studied YOGA. There were no brands, no group classes, no yoga mats, yoga clothes or yoga industry. Only one-on-one transmission. Only when yoga met American business and marketing models did the “branding”, marketing and organization of YOGA seem to happen. But do not be deceived.
Yoga, like Zen, is beyond name, and form, and organization. The moment you name it, it is NOT IT! The moment you claim it, you have lost it. This is why all the early “brands” of yoga were not brands at all, but teachers names; Kripalu, Iyengar, Bikrim, Shivananda. The question back then was not what kind of yoga do you do?, but who is your teacher?
Swami Kripalu, Bapuji, was a student of Santana Dharma – Which means the religion-less religion. That which cannot be named. The truth behind all truths. It is a living experience and transmission of Union/yoga and love. No place or organization can claim control of it.
Names and brands are important. The first thing I had to do when deciding to create my own yoga school and teacher training was to come up with a name. I chose the word Pranotthan – which means the awakening of Prana and the natural intuitive intelligence within us. It is a word and experience that Bapuji spoke of and wrote about. It has meaning. But without the transformative experience provided, it is meaningless. And we encourage each student to find and create their OWN expression of yoga. Once you begin the endless practice of love, truth, awareness, authenticity, health in every moment – you immediately become a teacher and there are always students specifically designed for you.
It seems one of life’s lessons will always be that whenever we put stake in any form, place, or label – we will eventually be disappointed in it – either because it changes or because it doesn’t change in the ways we wish for it to. The good news is that Sanatana Dharma lives on always! The Path of Love is endless, and the practice of YOGA/union is always in the right here and now. You are either present to the infinite wonder of love expressing itself NOW…. Or you’re not! Now? Or not? Now? Or not? Big smiles to all.