[Originally published May 15, 2017] I procrastinated on starting a blog, and I’m glad I did. My first blog will be a long-overdue expression of deep gratitude to Ganga White and Tracy Rich of White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. They are my first true yoga teachers. It is time to say “thank you,” as my successful studio and training programs, grew from seeds planted at White Lotus, that rooted and grew in Minnesota. My White Lotus trainings (over two decades), has helped me create and develop Sun Moon Yoga in Mankato. My 200 hour and 500RYT Yoga Alliance programs are directly inspired by White Lotus experiences, and Ganga’s philosophy. I recommend his book, “Yoga Beyond Belief,” to all my training participants. (Visit Ganga’s Facebook page.)
Back in the day, when I first visited White Lotus, there were very few places to train to be a yoga teacher. It was very different then, Yoga Alliance wasn’t founded yet, and yoga had not become a fitness trend. It was an honor to be someplace where yoga was recognized, honored, studied and practiced seriously. To learn authentic practice and knowledge from experienced teachers in sacred space solely for yoga was very, very rare, special and transformative. And, I would say it still is today. Yoga brand de jour has stripped much yoga of authenticity; teachers teach who have no experience or knowledge, in environments where yoga is not honored in any manner over say, a Spin class. And through it all, White Lotus has held ground, and nourished the roots of yoga. In the midst of a Tsunami of branding, these teachers have managed to be respectful, open-minded and non-dogmatic concerning various perspectives. Ganga and Tracy have held true, year after year, to holding sacred space, for keeping it REAL.
And that’s my dristi. To observe their careful cultivation and nurturing of community, authenticity, investment in yogic values for the long-haul – and apply all to Sun Moon Yoga in Mankato. To hold sacred space for yoga to be recognized, honored, studied and practiced here, in my own community. White Lotus lessons for me, from Tracy and Ganga, have been about holding a vision, despite cultural distraction, of excellence in teaching yoga every day. The influence of these two teachers, is a wave out from White Lotus from which I am one of many who have been inspired, motivated and guided. Deep Bow.
NOTE: White Lotus Foundation is non-profit, and any contributions made are tax refundable. Ganga’s Book, “Yoga Beyond Belief,” is available at White Lotus’ website.