Reprinted from TypeAYoga.com, 2016.
Type A Yoga® began in 2010 as a response to people who said, “I can’t do yoga.” Although yoga practices have since begun to speed up and become more “Type A,” (i.e., hurried, impatient, irritable, elitist, exclusive, competitive, and stressful), our name was a tongue-in-cheek play on the conflicts of our society.
Before people took “Type A” on as somehow positive, Type A Personality referred to people more prone to die from heart disease. For decades, we’ve recognized that our more hurried, distracted, multitasking, impatient lifestyle was killing us. Often, this damage is indiscernible for decades, leading people to find that their coping mechanisms have actually made their older years much more challenging. Sometimes we delude ourselves into believing we have more control over our lives than we do, which leaves us open to greater stress when drastic life events out of our control occur.
Unfortunately, some have tried to correct their faster pumping, perpetually stressed out systems by drowning out the signs of harm with flashier, louder, more fashionably showy workout routines. As our hardcore fitness programs have gotten more XXXtreme, our bodies have become more prone to injury, our circulatory systems more clogged, and the signs of excessive stress response begin to tear apart our digestive systems, spinal health, hair and skin, and even our emotional intimacy.
Rather than encourage Type As to run at a perpetually fast and intense pace, eventually burning out their systems, we teach yoga practices designed to provide them with a safe refuge to practice tools to help them slow down. We balance out the internal pressures that push us to feel overwhelmed and pressured to work until we drop. We provide a variety of tools so that even the most harried, frazzled, irritable Type A can find something that will work for them.
- First and foremost, that every person has yogic ability already, but may not be aware of how to adapt formalized practices to their personal needs.
- in supporting people of all bodies types, backgrounds, and ability levels in their personal exploration of yoga.
- in teaching student-centered classes that take into account the many diverse forms of yoga practice and yoga practitioners.
- laughter, humility, non-judgment and empathy are important teaching tools.
- in treating each student with dignity and respect above all.
We also believe that…
- Safe yoga means learning how to most effectively tap into the messages of both body and mind, including discerning which messages may be coming from fear or ignorance.
- Pressured, competitive, hurried yoga pose practices have too much potential to lead to significant injury and frequent stalls in development, and that a patient, lifelong study emphasizing steadiness and ease will produce the most benefit.
- Supporting people means creating a space that accepts each person as they are in this moment, and that one person’s definition of imperfection is another person’s definition of unique.
- Although yoga has a physical component, there are many, many aspects to a complete yoga practice including breath work, service to community, meditation techniques, and ethical principles.
- Teachers must be knowledgeable about the religious, cultural, historical, and textual sources of yoga and respectful to those who may have different perspectives on yoga.
- While yoga has a rich history and tradition, modern interpretations and innovations are welcome, so long as they are culturally respectful and supported by critical thinking.
- The many, many practices of yoga are a plentiful toolkit from which individuals can map out their own best forms of personal transformation.
- The model of a mountaintop guru, while historically significant, is no longer a workable model in our present economic and social climates.
- Supporting all of the people of our community, including practicing selfless service in combating homelessness, violence, hatred, ignorance, and apathy.
- Helping people find a style of yoga that will work best for them is our highest priority, even if it means going to another studio.