- by Lena Younes
I am currently in training in Oaxaca, Mexico, with Marie - who was Larry's wife - and other members of the It's Yoga community, and am feeling so much love and gratitude for this system and the people who are keeping it alive. I want to communicate that love to you, because it is something that is so needed and so worth sharing in this modern - often crazy - world.
If you've already committed to one of our trainings this year, I hope this allows you to feel the excitement about the journey ahead. If you're playing with the idea of joining us for a training, I hope this will bring a little clarity and help you work out whether It's Yoga is what you're looking for. And if you've already completed a training with us, I hope that this will inspire you to keep practicing, keep breathing, and when you're ready, join us for the next steps of this amazing trip.
There are so many choices in the yoga world today, and on one level that's a good thing - it means that there is something for everyone! But it also means that making a decision can be confusing. As for me and the people I am currently surrounded with, It's Yoga is that something.
Every It's Yoga training I have sat in - regardless of location or time - has been a magical and life-changing experience.
We would love to welcome some of you into the circle, so that we may carry on learning and growing together, as a community, and as a family.
A Modern Western Take on an Ancient Eastern Practice
It's Yoga was born out of love for an ancient practice that has the power to transform not only our bodies, our physical form, but every aspect of our lives. It was also born out of the need to adapt this practice for Western bodies and lifestyles and to take what we learn on the mat into our daily lives.
If you haven't heard the story of how Larry - the founder of It's Yoga - began practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and developed The Rocket and the Modified Primary Series, I invite you to watch the "Rocket Man" interview below - it's a beautiful example of the humour, love and creativity which birthed this system.
It's Yoga was the third yoga studio to open in San Francisco and the first Ashtanga Yoga Studio in the West.
Larry was also the first to train others how to teach in 1989, beginning to hand out certificates and run teacher training courses back in 1994/5 - this was in the days before Yoga Alliance was a big thing, before there was so much choice when it comes to teacher trainings - so the material and curriculum we use has been around for a long time. What's more, we know this stuff works. For real.
This is About Keeping it Real
If you're looking for a strict Ashtanga training (Mysore) or a course with a big emphasis on vedic scriptures and the perfecting of poses, It's Yoga may not be for you. If your main aim is to make up your own sequences from the get-go and study the physical form of what asanas are meant to look like, you might get some inspiration from our trainings, but a Vinyasa Flow training may be more suitable for your needs.
It's Yoga is for those looking for strong roots in an ancient practice, respect for both the Ashtanga philosophy and Ashtanga Vinyasa lineage, but an interest in adapting this practice for the bodies in front of them, eventually leading into the creative and playful approach of The Rocket, and a thirst for transformation. It's for those who want to learn about the power of linking the breath, bandhas and a dynamic asana sequence, but at the same time want to keep it real and look at the stuff that is holding us back from reaching our true potential.
A big thing for Larry was that he couldn't understand how people - especially as time went by in the West - could honour their Indian teachers to such a great extent, but at the same time not heal their personal relationships or correct their behaviour in the 'real world'.
It's Yoga invites you to look at why you're really here. Yes, we learn about asanas, about sequences, about pranayama and philosophy. And we love it. But we want you to take everything you learn on the mat and apply it to your daily life. We want all of us to practice what we teach and teach what we practice, on and off the mat.
It's Yoga is about authenticity, about keeping it real. Authentic to who we are and what our wants and needs are and what we experience as we invite in that power of the abundance of the breath.
One of the beauties of the It's Yoga system is that we get to do all this - and yet also get to explore all these amazing things we can do with our bodies as we learn to free our minds. And, at the same time, modify the practice to all abilities. We get to move away from a feeling of limitation and into a world of possibilities.
We're in This Together
It's Yoga Brighton is just one piece of a greater puzzle - we are part of a growing international community, all with the same mission of sharing the love. Larry used to say that it would take one million yoga teachers to change the world, and we're here to hold that vision!
We don't believe that once you've done a training with us, that that's it, you're on your own. We want to share and support your journey - whether you decide to do an internship with us or any of the other It's Yoga studios in the world, want to carry on your training, join our community by practicing in our classes or just check in from time to time - the door is always open. This is only the beginning. And once you've paid for and completed a training once, you're always welcome to come back and sit in on that same training again. Because this is a process and we never stop learning.
If your goal is to become a 'teacher' - It's Yoga may not be for you.
The real teachers, according to Larry - and I've got to say, it makes a lot of sense - are sitting in meditation somewhere on a mountain in India. A four week intensive training does not make me or you a 'teacher' of a complex ancient system. That is a life-long process of intense inner work, dedication and devotion.
Equally, the way he saw it, we do not 'do' Yoga - the Yoga 'does' us. And we who have gone through the 'Teacher' Training programme are facilitators, instructors or 'cheerleaders' of this transformational practice. We learn to guide students of all ages and abilities through a physical form of yoga asana practice; we help them to connect with their inner teacher and cheer them on to keep breathing and to let go.
It's about empowering ourselves and others to become self-reliant instead of co-dependent. To know that wherever we are, we can connect to that sacred space within - by ourselves. And that coming to classes helps to carry on that journey and provides a magical and communal experience - but that it's a choice.
And that's pretty amazing, that we get to do this. It's a privilege and an honour. And at the same time we get to heal our own bodies, our minds and our past. We get to invite in lightness, happiness and good health.
So if that all sounds good to you - It's Yoga might well be what you're looking for.
This Stuff Works
Our community is full of stories of how It's Yoga changed and saved people's lives. This journey isn't easy, but it's worth every step and we love it.
When I first came to It's Yoga, my body was weak and tight. I was recovering from chronic Lyme Disease and open surgery and my mind was full of 'chatter' and limiting thoughts of not being good enough. Fear of being incapacitated, chronically ill or slowly dying. I struggled with what some may say are the simplest poses; going upside down was worlds away and I probably spent half of my teacher training practices in child's pose or savasana while my body - especially my joints - felt like it was falling apart.
The mind chatter still happens - this is an ongoing process - but the spaces between these thoughts have opened up. So much. And my body, though pain or exhaustion still kick in sometimes, has transformed from feeling broken - a burden - into something I can mostly rely on and often enjoy; bringing in strength, connection and possibility.
We have Marie, who currently has cancer and is healing with such dedication, love and trust. Knowing that even after 15 years, she still has things to learn from this practice. We have Michèle, who lost her leg in a life changing accident - she's still here today because yoga had taught her how to breathe. And just last night, she was standing on her hands, flying and trusting. We have members of our community who have survived rape or depression; or maybe it was going through traumatic child birth or dealing with an autoimmune disease. We all have our stories.
These things show up in our lives and teach us something. And It's Yoga believes that all of us, no matter what's going on in our lives, what physical or emotional limitations we might think we have - are so much stronger and infinitely more powerful than we think we are.
If we want, we can stand on our hands. We get to play. We can fly around on our mat with ease. Or we can just sit still, breathe and take it easy.
We got this.
But I Don't Have the Money....
We've all been there or maybe we're here right now. Whether it's a mindset of scarcity and lack or just the simple fact of a currently empty bank account. We do not believe that anyone who is truly dedicated needs to miss out on the magic of this process.
If money is an issue, please let us know. We will work something out. Yes, we have rent to pay - and I'll be transparent, commercial rent in Brighton is not cheap - but it's our mission to share these amazing tools. And we can trust - together - that the money will come.
And of course, as always, if you have any questions about It's Yoga or the trainings, I am always happy to speak with you or answer as many emails as you like (firstname.lastname@example.org).
After all, this is about YOU, YOUR inner teacher, and YOUR path to transformation.
Sending so much love.