This week, Steph and I have trying to define Lila Flow is. What began as an idea to brand a 30-minute yoga class on the Practice with Clara app a few years ago has evolved into naming the style of sequencing that I have been working with for over 15 years—Lila Flow Yoga.
When it was first suggested that we name the style of class I teach, I was super hesitant.
Who was I to put a special/branded name on vinyasa yoga?
How would this continue to honor the teachers in my life?
Branding a style, my style, of teaching felt so icky. I teach yoga. I draw from a long line of ahhhmazing teachers who have embodied and shared their experiences with me and countless others. Would putting a name in front of the word vinyasa or flow tarnish this respect?
I finally conceded, and we added a Lila Flow Yoga series to the app a few years back.
Last summer, I offered my Art of Sequencing Training online for the first time. In the training, I teach a vinyasa sequence skeleton to teachers based on my teacher Shiva Rea’s Wave Theory. I’ve changed the Wave Theory skeleton a bit to fit my needs as a teacher and offer that version of it in the training. At one point, a student asked if they were learning Wave Theory or Lila Flow sequencing. I stopped and had to think about it. What was I teaching them?
It was a hybrid of Shiva’s skeleton mixed with my own findings as a teacher — so it wasn’t purely Wave Theory, and it wasn’t something totally different. I came back to the questions I had initially asked myself.
Who was I to put a “special” name on vinyasa yoga? I was a teacher who through my many years of teaching and practicing, created a comprehensive sequencing format that I base most of my classes on. In order to differentiate what I taught from what you’d expect in my teacher’s classes, a name/style would be an easy solution. That made sense to me, and Boom — Lila Flow Yoga was born.
SIDEBAR: Lila is my favorite Sanskrit word. It translates as “cosmic play.” In Tantric philosophy, it is believed that the universe was created from the play of the masculine and feminine forces. It was through their exploration together that the material world was born. I love this concept – exploration/curiosity breeds creativity/creation. And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
How would I continue to honor the teachers in my life that have taught me so much if I was no longer teaching under their style of yoga? I cite my teachers often, both in print and when I’m teaching. I think it’s important to give props to the people in your life who have shaped you. I also cite them in my bios.
I’m sharing all of this today for a few reasons —
First off, It’s good for me to revisit ideas/concepts that people have put forth to me that I was either instantly resistant to or instantly drawn to. How do I feel about the idea/concept now? It can mark how I’ve evolved as a being. Another example is when I watch old yoga classes of mine. It’s cool and sometimes cringe-worthy to see the phases I’ve gone through as a teacher— from anatomical cues to particular sequences. I’ve been through many! I can usually smile at Old Clara, noting her enthusiasm and mindset, AND also appreciate how/why I’m no longer into that particular thing.
Second, through all the phases as a teacher I’ve gone through, the only constant has been the format of how I put my class together. That speaks volumes about my teacher Shiva’s style of teaching.
I now offer these questions to you:
How do you honor the people in your life who have influenced you?
What ideas/concepts have people put forth to you that you were either instantly resistant to or instantly drawn to?
How do you feel about the idea/concept now?
Through the many/few phases of your own life, what has remained a constant?
I’d love to hear your answers! Shoot me an email back.