Naming names

IMG_0012_1-1Yoga teachers’ bios sometimes reminds me of reading the New York Times‘s wedding announcements. They can be such precious little gems, polished and padded for maximum “insider” effect.

Check out this winner (name and gender blanked out):

_____ began practicing yoga in 1989 while living in New York City. _____ spent several years exploring many different yoga traditions leading to years of study in the Iyengar yoga tradition with many of its master teachers such as Faiq Biria, Manuso Manus [sic], Ramanand Patel, Aadil Palkivala [sic], Joan White, Kevin Gardner [sic], Lisa Walford, Paul Cabanis, Marla Apt and Kofi Busia. _____ has also studied with renounwed [sic] teachers such as Judith Lasater, Donna Farhi, Dona Holleman and Rodney Yee. _____ was introduced to the Anusara tradition through workshops with John Friend and Viniyoga with Gary Kraftsow. In recent years _____ has been practicing Ashtanga yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, under the guidance of Chuck Miller and Maty Ezraty. In the Ashtanga tradition _____ has also studied with Richard Freeman and the guru of Ashtanga, Pattabhi Jois.

Someone forgot to nudge this teacher and say, “Hey, you’re nobody without Jivamukti.”

Recognizing one’s teachers is a nice way to pay homage and to give prospective students an idea of one’s teaching methods. But it’s a slippery slope to blatant marketing and name dropping. If I see someone list a dozen significant teachers (covering the panoply of yoga lineages), it verges on ADHD to me. We are all influenced by numerous teachers, by reading their books, taking their workshops, and studying regularly with those in our own town. Indeed, I have taken many workshops with different teachers, some famous, but would I call them My Teachers?

Recognizing 20 teachers covers one’s bases with … nothing. It’s like listing 20 spouses or 20 mothers or fathers.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe this person did seriously study with all 20 teachers. Okay. But spell their names right.

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5 thoughts on “Naming names

  1. just started to read your blog and am loving what you have to say….

    as for this post, I find it extremely disingenuous if a teacher says that they “study” with someone when they’ve done a workshop at a yoga conference. I’ve done a ton of one time workshops with teachers in the Chicago area, but I would never, ever say that I “studied” with them.

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