I was inspired to share with you a little about post-lineage approaches to yoga after reading an article called after Post- lineage yoga & dandelions. This subject offers an insight into the Guru Chella (The chela has an extremely high level of loyalty to the guru and their teachings) the approach traditionally followed by yoga teachers. The alternative is an acknowledgement of the deep and abiding attachment to the practice and aims of yoga rather than any pedagogical hierarchies.
For a long time, we have been collectively teaching different styles of yoga at Albany Yoga Room. Our perspective of yoga offerings comes from the well-founded and inspirational institutes and traditions inspired by our lineages and teachers.
The Guru and the Sangha
Post-lineage, doesn’t mean anti-lineage or anti-tradition. It is rather the authority processes that govern the teaching of yoga. It refers to a new way teachers are sharing with others their authentic and practised understanding of yoga, and how it relates to the teaching of yoga in the past, and the teaching of yoga around the world.
This particular emphasis on combining yoga skills comes with experience and lifelong learning. Of course, not all students of yoga will want to take on all of the foundations of yoga, its disciplines such as yoga terms, diets, ethics or philosophy. However, for those that do, lineages can differ as modern yoga has been growing and its original emphasis on ritual, ceremony, scholarship, devotion and physical practices has a long history because it spans back to 200 BCE and 500 CE.
Over this time acknowledgement of physical poses and anatomical knowledge have created the opportunity for most teachers to want to know more. At some point, many look beyond their lineage of teachings to expand their understanding of yoga. So why is thinking about the term post-lineage yoga important? Partly it’s a way because this new term recognises the contribution of saṅghas (communities) and the teacher-student relationships that form a safe and accessible base for our students to thrive in.
“So here is to our Sangha, thank you”
My yoga lineage – Avinderfee Blankey
I teach Hatha, however my lineage is not so straightforward. A student of Iyengar, Hatha and Kundalini. My practice started with Hatha and Iyengar Yoga. However, it was an immersion into Kundalini yoga that inspired me to seek a deeper meaning. Following Shakti dance founder Sara Oliver and Kundalini yoga from Har Hari and Gurumukh taught me the use of the naad (sound) on an energetic level for just under ten years, this changed my practice of yoga from a physical form to a true awakening of mind, body & spirit (for my full study see Arvinderfee).
However, my love for working with others has brought me around full circle. I went back many times to explore meditation, pranayama, and classical asana with dance and inspired teachings of Samkhya, Gurumukhi and Bhakti. In 2018 I took a further course with Donna Farhi to understand the benefits of continued study and learn about contemporary yoga styles. The emphasis on helping a student to be more empowered is a large part of the basis for her advance studies for yoga teachers. This alongside my passion for healing and meditation has formed a Hatha yoga practice that includes mantra, flow and alignment.
The lineage of Wessel & Giulia
We learned under Sannyassi Pragyadhara, who comes from the lineage of the Bihar School of yoga, founded by Satyananda Saraswati, followed by Niranjanananda, who was her Guru. Our Training was in Traditional Hatha Yoga, which included Asana, Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation. All yoga comes from Hatha Yoga, so to us, it made sense to start from the source, have a good base and fair understanding of the practices before attempting to make it our own.
Before we did our YTT with Pragyadhara, we also trained in Transformational Integral Meditation Education (TIME Meditation for short) through Utkarsh Sanjanwala a direct disciple of Sri Swami Vidyanand, founder of the Sri Ma School of Transformational Yoga, who also did his apprenticeships under Swami Satyananda and is a lifetime member of the Sri-Aurobindo Educational Society. His teachings have been inspired by Sri Aurobindo and ‘The Mother’s influence.
Grounded in 2 highly respected traditions, one coming from the North of India and one from the South, we like to keep these traditions as pure as possible, but looking at the demand coming from students in the modern world, we also understand that we need to adapt, offering people what they need in this time and age. Understanding that people are not always ready to accept yoga in its most traditional form, but that even a small taste of it will make a difference in their journey and might open new doors for them. Hence we are planning to continue our education within the same lineage, but also explore other styles of Yoga and incorporate everything we have learned in a way that will benefit our students, presenting it in our unique way that is grounded in tradition. Yoga means ‘union’ of the body, mind and spirit, so in the end, that is what your goal is, no matter what style you practice.
Hari Aum Tat Sat, or Namaste (depending on which yoga roots resonate with you).
Hayley Roberts – yoga lineage thoughts
My lineage is Iyengar yoga which is a style of Hatha yoga. After a class in Clerkenwell on a dark London evening, my first teacher was Monica Haar at the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Auckland in ’98. I didn’t know it then, but Moni had been studying with BKS Iyengar and the Iyengar family in Pune for many years and was one of the leading Iyengar teachers in NZ. I was drawn to her hard-line style and rigid attention to detail and I liked the physicality of the yoga she taught.
The Iyengar way of doing yoga is traditional, it is disciplined and rigorous. I still love it. I love the way it demands that we extend our bodies through yoga as much as possible. That might be little by little depending on our age and natural limitations, but it uses the physical and creates a path to explore yoga through the poses.
As a teacher now, I especially like the expanding into pranayama practice, the conscious breathwork that goes alongside the asanas and is one of the eight limbs of yoga as written about 2000 years ago by the sage Patanjali.
At Albany Yoga Room I work alongside teachers from other yoga paths like Kundalini, Yin and Vinyasa. I like this. Although I still teach classic Iyengar, it expands my knowledge of other yoga that people enjoy doing today here in NZ.
Yoga is yoga. It all has the same Indian roots and although I am from a classical lineage, I like that it has been adapted to be accessible to more people, through gyms; and it has been modernised so it can be approached in different, modern styles.
Enquiring people that become interested in yoga find a practice that suits them the best. My advice is don’t stop until you find a good teacher and a practice that suits you.
Yoga is a very rewarding, life-long study. We all know it is beneficial for the body and soothes the mind but as we draw together our mind and body together in yoga, we also start connecting with (at least the idea of) the universal or divine consciousness.
There is so much to explore, and I find it exciting and rewarding to be at least a little in touch with concepts that we don’t usually explore in our busy western lives. H
The path of yoga – Deborah Rubin
My introduction to yoga was a class in London in the very early ’70s. The class is a haze now but I do remember knowing that I’d found something quite extraordinary. I moved back to South Africa and was lucky enough to live around the corner from a teacher who was so well versed in Hatha yoga and the traditions and I truly gained so much in the 6 years I attended her classes. Her brother was Manny Finger, who after meeting Paramahansa Yogananda devoted his life to yoga. I also attended classes with his son Alan Finger, who after moving to LA, became the yoga teacher to the stars. I then moved to Cape Town (where I met Sue Grbic, the previous owner of AYR) and she took me off to my 1st Iyengar class. I became enthralled with this style of yoga but also attended classes at Ananda Kutir Ashrama, a spiritual centre teaching Integral Yoga. My next move was to New Zealand and I was lucky enough to be asked to assist Sue at AYR until eventually teaching my own classes. I continued going on retreats and workshops (as I had done in SA) and was lucky enough to benefit from Donna Farhi’s wide knowledge and exploration of this wonderful life practice. I continue to read and explore this tradition and one of my great joys is sharing yoga with others. After all, yoga is unity and harmony and I try to live by this rule. ?? Deborah
Wishing you all continued learning on this great journey of yoga
Leading to learning as a collection of yoga teachers and of modern approaches to sharing the traditional teachings of a Guru.
Arvinderfee and team.