Lately I have been thinking about the answer to the above question. We all have something unique about our personality. It is that special sauce that makes us stand out to those who meet us. People here in the West often see their special sauce as being associated with their job. This is most likely because that it is often wrapped so tightly into our identity. But for me, I believe it runs deeper than merely what I do to make an income. This question was first raised a couple of weeks ago when I met up with a friend. She was wondering with me about my yoga project and what makes it different than other yoga classes. Interestingly the topic of Bikram yoga came up and Bikram Choudary’s attempt to copyright his sequences. Well the news is out now and his attempt failed. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/bikram-yoga-guru-reaches-settlement-copyright-suit/story?id=17869598 There was also another article recently going around on Facebook about controversy in the world of Barre classes in Boston and around people stealing each others sequences as well as getting kicked out of classes http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2015/01/22/barre-fight-boston-studios/ All this news has me shaking my head as it feels like a fall out from a recent conversation we had about society today What Does it Mean to Be Free? Where are we at within our society where making money and “branding” one’s self is more important than being a good human? It would seem that at that point your special sauce becomes the art of manipulation rather than something pure about your soul.
As I pondered these concepts, I was brought back to a conversation that some of you may have remembered from long ago about the concept of whether yoga is spiritual. In that chat I shared that I have had people tell me, even more people since I last talked on the subject, that they would never practice yoga regularly as they do not enjoy the energy they feel when they go to yoga studios. People have joked that the people that they have met who practice regularly often are aggressive and not very friendly. This is the dark side of yoga that most know about but few are open enough to talk about. I have always wondered what it is about yoga that brings this edge forward. The concept of whether yoga is spiritual continues to arise more and more. Most people practice yoga for a physical workout. I know that is how I started for sure. Yoga by definition is a mind/body/spirit practice and therefore even if you are not seeking a spiritual experience you may trip upon it at some point during your time practicing. To me that is yoga’s special sauce; its ability to calm the nervous system almost immediately. I am always taken aback by the shift in people’s nervous system by the end of practice. It is something that I don’t always see in my work through talk therapy. The poses themselves have a special affect biochemically that no one can take credit for. Your ability to teach them in a way that encourages the mind/body to surrender to that practice may be your special sauce but the poses themselves are certainly not.
It seems that all this energy is coming from fear. In the recovery circles, people talk about not forgetting where you came from. While I am conflicted about the camp of people who judge yoga studios in the West for bastardizing yoga, I do have to say that often what it seems is being left behind is the fact that yoga was always about opening up the heart. I don’t mean teaching backbends per se but actually opening up the energetic and emotional heart first and foremost to ourselves and then towards others. This loving energy has been left behind quite possibly because people are afraid of not being able to support themselves in the real world. In our last chat, I spoke about the work of Rod Stryker and his book the Four Desires which speaks of living a spiritual life in the real world. If we are ever to have a chance at helping people use yoga for healing and not just as a physical exercise then we first have to check our intentions in teaching and spreading the word. I have found through my own healing process that it is HOW I do something or say something that is far more important than the actually saying or doing. That is a special sauce that I work on cultivating. I have never had a problem with speaking up but it is my own process of healing that has helped me become more aware of the affect of my words and actions on others. It has been this process that has helped me step forward and build my yoga project, Soba Yoga http://yourwholehealing.com/soba-yoga/ which while does teach a vinyasa class that could be challenging for some, it is a spiritual project first and foremost. I had the idea many years ago but believe that I wasn’t ready in my own process to begin to share it with others until now.
So what is your special sauce? Outside of my commitment to the truth, I believe that one of my special sauces is my humor. I have always been a person who finds humor is most things in life, especially in myself. It has helped me to keep humble and to balance life’s stressors along the way. Special sauce is kinda like a super power. You think you are the only one who knows about it but often times when you let it shine others are amazed by it and it allows them to be drawn closer to you. Wonder why good things are not happening for you? Maybe it’s that you are keeping your recipe for secret sauce to yourself! Let it loose and allow it to fly!