Why Many Doors?
Many Doors is a philosophy, an intention and a promise. It says that no matter why you come to yoga, yoga should be there for you. It says that the particular style you practice is infinitely less important than the act of stepping onto the mat. Many Doors is a plea for inclusiveness, for letting go of spiritual divisiveness and embracing the fundamental life force, the 'atman', which we all share. The light that's within you is more fundamentally similar to the light that's within the person next to you than it is similar to your thoughts or your feelings. Many Doors asks that you recognize and embrace that similarity, to step away from your mind's natural tendency to categorize my yoga versus their yoga, my teacher versus their teacher. When you say 'namaste', you say "The light within me recognizes the light within you". With Many Doors, I'm asking you, and me, to live up to that statement.
It saddens me to see a practice that's so fundamentally sourced from unification become fragmented into a competing set of mutually exclusive "one, true yogas". It inspires me to see students encounter yoga, look into it, wrestle with it, confront their demons on the mat with a sense of exploration and purpose. My favorite teachers and studios respect and even celebrate our need to choose our own path to yoga, guided - not dragged or shamed - by those who have gone before them. Those experiences, and those people, are the genesis of Many Doors.
Yoga is not the pursuit of the most aesthetically pleasing downward dog. It's not putting your leg behind your head. The poses are not the yoga…the yoga is how you do the poses. It's in the quality of your breath, the state of your mind, the lightness of your spirit. You know you're into your yoga practice when you can fall onto your butt without falling out of your breath. That increased suppleness of mind is often what my students point to as one of the first non-physical benefits they notice from their practice. In class, we regularly put ourselves in wobbly positions, in positions that challenge our strength or our range of motion, and then we begin our practice…the practice of systematically figuring out where we can cultivate relaxation in the body, ease in the mind, joy in the spirit. It's what I like to call 'finding the calmness inside the chaos' of the pose, and it's a practice that can be directly translated to the rest of your life.
There are many doors into this transformative practice called yoga, and while some may sound nobler to your ego or your friends, which door you use is ultimately irrelevant. What matters are the intentions you set once you're in the room, on the mat. So if you come to yoga because you want to find peace in your mind, or to get in touch with your soul, or to rehab an injury, or to get a firm butt, Many Doors is a promise to be there for your journey. And if your path changes through your experience with practice, as it most surely will, it's a promise to come along for the ride with support, and joy and a sense of mutual exploration.
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