Diving Deeper Into Yoga
This time last year, Natural Awakenings of Atlanta soft-launched an ongoing yoga section with the first of our special sections. We followed it up by formally announcing the section and its editor, Graham Fowler, founder and spiritual director of Peachtree Yoga.
Here’s what I wrote in that issue last September: “For a publication with its mission in its name, I cannot think of a phenomenon in our current culture that can claim as profound an impact on the way people perceive and live their lives as yoga has, both in terms of numbers of people and the depth of impact.”
That’s why we do what we do—Natural Awakenings is all about helping readers discover avenues of awakening and accelerating their progress along their paths. Thus, “Deeper” is the perfect theme for this year’s special section.
In this month’s issue, Graham opens the special section with his own story of going deeper, and concludes that “to go deeper, you need a good and experienced teacher.” This resonates fully with me, for one of the fundamentals of my spiritual tradition is to rely upon a spiritual guide. Millions have gone before us, and in almost every human endeavor we can learn from individuals far more expert, far more wise than us, if only we can subdue our egos long enough to receive and follow instructions.
Following his story, he shares those of four people who have taken yoga teacher training. The idea for this piece came from me; I kept on running into people who had taken teacher training not to become teachers but to deepen their yoga experience. As it turns out, all four interviewees are teaching now, but Aubrey Jordan signed up with no plans to teach: “I knew I wanted to make yoga a bigger part of my life; I just didn’t know in what way. I had no intention of teaching, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
The third article, by managing editor Diane Eaton, is about a common vehicle for going deeper: retreats. Her piece highlights different ways to go deeper, from personality/psychology work such as Shari Fox’s Enneagram teachings to the breathing practice of the Happiness Program offered by the Art of Living to explorations into yoga philosophy by Elizabeth Yates.
Our fourth article, also by Diane, shines a light on Kashi Atlanta. Kashi is unique among Atlanta’s studios in that it is an ashram. Because of this, the organization offers far more than yoga, and it is a natural starting point for Atlanta yogis who are curious about how they can broaden and/or deepen their experience.
As for my yoga journey, I have spent more time thinking, writing and meeting about yoga than practicing it. That’s not ideal, but along the way I have become acquainted with a number of people who make the journey a joy.
So, a shout-out to those who have enriched my life: Mandy Roberts, Jessica Murphy, Loyall Hart, Rachel Carlson, Jenn Cook, Graham Fowler, TJ Walker, Debra Kelley, Amanda Trevelino and Robin Doyon. Furthermore, to the scores of studio owners and yoga teachers with whom I have thoroughly enjoyed brief moments of meeting and conversation, a heart-felt thank you for the wonderful human beings that you are.
I have come to the conclusion that serious yoga practitioners are the Lake Wobegon children of America—ALL are above average!
Image: Kelly Truit