After seeing this photo floating around Facebook, I had to message Finn, a well-known Vancouver Island-based yoga teacher and “blissologist,” and ask him just what is going on here. He graciously provided the whole story (and I edited it, slightly).
The Intention Joint idea came from a student in our Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), Sheena Ritchie, who now owns a yoga studio in Tel-Aviv.
One thing I really try to stress to people – besides great alignment – is how to weave moments of zen with levity in their classes. Authenticity is so key. I find that the more truly yourself you are while teaching yoga, the more you tap into that “mysterious x-factor” that really makes your classes powerful. Obviously the lesson was taken to heart because Sheena started her final YTT class with an “Intention Joint.” In the after-class, peer critique that we gave as a group, it seemed a lot of people loved it and many were repulsed. I thought it was brilliant.
The classes I taught at Wanderlust were incredibly powerful in the sense that I just tapped into some stream where ideas and words became lucid as I was standing on the stage speaking. The previous day, in the “Pursuit of Happy Hips” class, I pondered the role of Grief. At the end of the class we discussed how much pain exists in the world. So many people are trying to avoid pain but I left the question open as to whether people really needed to numb themselves with drugs if they really knew the power of the love we tap into during yoga practice.
So in this class (“superflow” which is very zen and flowy at times and outrageously fun at others, with surfing and animal-like movements), during our opening centering meditation, I pulled the Intention Joint out of my unconscious teaching tools. It wasn’t pre-planned but just emerged. People rolled their positive affirmations into a joint, took “Wreck Beach Mudra” and held it in. Waves of laughter came out on the exhalation. Spirits were lighter and my theory was confirmed: we just need to give ourselves the space to create more lightness in the spirit to allow pain, worry and shame to dissipate. Drugs are not needed but only an excuse to let go and feel the enthusiasm for life that we feel as a child. We had a rocking practice where spirits were so high and truly channeled something beautiful.
I have to stress that this is something only Eoin Finn could get away with. What do you think – is the Intention Joint disrespectful towards the tradition of yoga or an act of joyful irreverence?