When Anusara Yoga fell to its knees and I made my very wise exit, I was forced to decide on a name to call my current public class. I settled on the name soul flow, which I now affectionately refer to as SoulFlow. (Please note there is not a trademark on that right now. Nor am I suggesting you read this and then name your class as such.) At the time, to be honest I had no idea what I was doing. I actually thought the name was pretty lame, cheesy and actually frankly, stupid. I also felt like I wanted to call the class 'yoga' but no one would come to a class called 'yoga'.
Like we name our babes we name our intellectual and creative children. So I gave SoulFlow its name, not fully realizing the thing I had birthed. But it was a birthing. I am clear about that.
Through trial and error I learned how to nurture it, care for it, grow it and be with it. I learned who its friends are (the people who come to the class). So no, SoulFlow isn’t 'just vinyasa'. Like a child that is given a nickname and then outgrows it, this class should not be nicknamed vinyasa because it is a misrepresentation.
It is fringe in a way because it boldly takes the leap that many of its schoolmates have yet to take actually. The class explicitly reaches into the psyche. We do not apologize for, or cover up in any way the fact that we are working at the deep emotional level in the class. Many other yoga classes work at this level, but few make it explicit. (The few that do by the way, are the classes I go to and the teachers I steep with).
People do not come to SoulFlow unless they are ready to be worked over at every level.
Some people find this annoying. Cool. When I was in grade school I was super annoying too. Mostly because I asked a lot of questions of the Rabbi's. I would get sent to the principles office for all the questions and rebellion. SoulFlow has been sent to the office once or twice so to speak. It too, is a little rebellious. It is an outspoken class that gives students the space to question the authorities within themselves and around them.
The class has some tenants to its 'style'. I profoundly dislike the word 'style' when it comes to yoga. It’s all fucking yoga okay? But if it is all yoga and we are all going to the same place, are we not entitled to take the road that most entices us to get there?
So yes, SoulFlow has its specific elements. You will always find those four elements in every class. Now before you go all ‘that’s like Anusara’ on me, you can trust me deeply that its not.
We need structure and continuity to learn and grow at every level. We actually will not feel safe enough to deepen if those pillars of stability are not present. It is difficult to work on issues in a marriage if one person keeps threatening divorce. So the four pillars of what happens is just the guidelines of how the self-selected community organizes itself within and around the context of the class. In this way you can sort of prepare yourself for what is about to happen. This is good.
Do not fret; I am not making a style of asana. I am not trying to trademark or patent asana. Asana is free. Anyone can do asana. It is just that there is a way to study and practice asana. That is what SoulFlow is. It is a way to study and practice asana. What places SoulFlow into its own uniqueness though, is that it is also a way to study and practice your SELF. And when I say self, I mean the little self and the big Self. The class is about learning asana yes. The class is also about learning to take the seat of your self. This isn’t much different than any other yoga actually. All yoga helps us, in the end; take the seat of our selves most fully and comfortably.
The difference in SoulFlow is that the study of the SELF is explicit. There is tremendous power in transparency and making the covert overt. So the inner workings of yoga are brought to the surface in this class. It is in the practice of using asana to make ourselves transparent creatures that this class gains its power. It seems most of all, that SoulFlow is an embodiment practice using yoga asana as its vehicle. SoulFlow is a practice of embodiment—of coming home to your body, mind, and soul. It takes a practice that has many ways of ascension and relies on and emphasizes the ways we can ever more descend into our bodies to be radically full--radically, painfully, and ecstatically HERE.
It is magic and it is science. It is ritual and it is routine practice. It is deep exploration and radical enjoyment.
All the pieces I speak and teach to through Applied Psycholgoy for Yogis, show itself in SoulFlow. Think of SoulFlow as the living and breathing example of what Applied Psychology for Yogis looks like in action. There are other ways to utilize the teachings from Applied Psychology for Yogis. SoulFlow is just one of the ways. That though, is another post.
Creatures and creations must always live into their names. We create not knowing the form it will take. We birth without knowing what our children will look like. We see the meaning of our creations develop over time. And eventually 'our' creations come to stand on their own without the handholding and carrying of us anymore. They no longer belong to us. They belong to world.
Each creation, whether a child or an intellectual creative expression, must come to exist on its own. It has its own Life Force, Soul and Essence. And this essence must have room to flow.