A common question that people ask is how long I have practiced yoga. The usual answer from many teachers may include the day of their first class. I could say, “My yoga journey began 18 years ago.” Puffery.

The truth is, my yoga journey truly began 8 years ago. I experienced my first yoga class 18 years ago when I was 18 years old. I showed up in combat boots and a skirt. I was horrified to be barefoot and refused to take my socks off. Yoga sucked.

Fast-forward 5 years. I received a gift certificate to a local studio from my husband-at-the-time. We were incredibly broke and I felt obligated to attend classes. I felt physically weak and emotionally lonely when I entered the room during my initial visits, but people were happy – and felt happy – to see each other. In the following years, I enjoyed many classes and inspirational, supportive teachers in my Virginia community. However, I didn’t yet consciously understand yoga-off-the-mat.

When I was 28 years old, a poignant experience fractured my wall of safety. I experienced Brilliance and wanted more. 8 years ago is when my yoga journey began, consciously. Yoga is an inward journey. The mat can crack open our walls to reveal our Gold while powerful subtleties amplify our Shine. Yoga’s philosophies and practices are like a compass to support our journey through the self and to the Self.

This Tradition defines me. Though I can be a messy human being, I strive to claim authenticity and transparency and take my role as a teacher very seriously and expect other teachers to do so as well. Yet, I am finding puffery is rampant in our yoga culture. Puffery is simply a more-forgiving term for a lie.

My authenticity does not align with teachers who mislead. If one enjoyed a particular event or guest teacher, enjoys a particular style of yoga, has attended a particular workshop/s, or has pictures from India, one is not entitled to claim they have ‘worked’ with a particular teacher or have ‘studied’ a lineage. When a teacher exaggerates their initiations and knowledge, they are dangerous to students and are out of line with the Tradition. People ultimately seek nourishment and are willing to share their heart to a trusted teacher.

When a teacher of teachers misleads, they diminish the light of Yoga.

As we define how yoga is respected in the West, its definition is only as strong as the honesty in which we claim our authentic Selves. Blooming Life unfolded as an organic living being only weeks after I re-aligned with my Self. Dis-ease is the body’s way of asking for reevaluation in decisions and relationships. When I chose ease, I felt physically expanded and everything fell into place with Universal precision, supported by a loving community of souls who trust each other and love each other. This precious, high vibration is vital to authenticity so we may be torchbearers aligned with the Yoga Tradition. Peace begins within our walls, through our teachers, to our students, and we all are students on unique yogic journeys claiming our authentic wild and precious lives.

There is no need for puffery nor should it be tolerated. 

Lily Kessler