This is a break from our regular posts about anatomy and asana in order to focus on another key element of a yoga practice - yoga philosophy. I don’t remember when I first heard about my teacher, Ramaswami, but as soon as I learned about him, I was interested in studying with him. He used to offer a 200hr Vinyasa Krama teacher training at LMU in Los Angeles. In 2015, he announced that it would be his last year. Although I didn’t have the money or the time, and I already had a 200hr and 500hr certificate, I somehow made it happen: I traveled to LA for 6 weeks to learn from this legendary teacher.
In many flow classes, it’s common to hear the instruction to ‘roll up to standing’ from a standing forward fold. This isn’t something that’s found in traditional yoga practices. In ashtanga yoga, you always rise from a forward fold with a flat back. I also haven’t encountered it in my (admittedly limited) experience with Iyengar yoga. It seems to be an instruction that has made its way into yoga classes via dance. Although it might seem like a harmless alternative, it is something I never teach anymore, and I teach my students in teacher trainings not to teach it either.