In response to the ever-growing number of reports of sexual misconduct and abuse in the yoga world, a number of North American practitioners and teachers have started what they are calling a “post-lineage” movement. While I can understand wanting to have nothing to do with teachers who have abused their students, I believe it’s important to recognize that without lineage, we lose the connection to the source of the teachings. A connection to a real lineage (one that is older than a single generation) offers us a foundation on which we can develop an approach that is rooted in the wisdom of the ancient tradition but alive and responsive to our modern needs.
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”
— TKV Desikachar
Much of the modern yoga scene is centered around the performace and display of complex and difficult postures. There are a lot of reasons for this, one of which is that it's the simplest way to sell yourself as an expert. "I can do this, you can't, but if you pay me I can show you how".
Mastering a posture often requires only that one be born with a certain body type, but mastering an internal posture of calm, compassionate equanimous presence takes a lifetime of practice and self-reflection. And you can never do it alone.
Desikachar would also say “yoga is relationship”, which to me, means that we can only realize yoga (union) when there are two of something, and it's the quality of the relationship between those two things that defines success in yoga.
True union between two people means that both are relating to each other in present time — what's happening right here and now — without allowing old patterns or preconceptions to get in the way of authentic connection. This is liberating for both people — to be free of someone's old ideas about who they expect you to be, so that you can be truly alive and expressing who you really are, right now. And vice-versa, to drop your preconceptions about the other person allows you to experience them fresh every day.
Think of how wonderful it is when you're on vacation in a new place where no one knows "the old you" and you're completely free to be who you want to be. You can give this to your partner, your family and you can give it to yourself. It takes some work and letting go of a little (or a lot) of baggage, but what a gift to offer someone — the opportunity to be who they want to be.