Updated: Mar 27
Spiritual lineage acknowledgement is honoring the yoga practice and its origins. It has been part of the yogic tradition at least since the 8th century.
Each of us comes from somewhere. People, places, lands, knowledge and wisdom traditions make up the land we walk upon and the traditions we practice. We all have teachers.
In The Shankaracharya tradition we have an example of spiritual lineage acknowledgement that is not specific to any one school or style of yoga but evokes the universal nature of yoga as a liberation practice for all beings.
In the 8th century text Yoga Taravali Sri Adi Shankaracharya begins and ends with a chant to honoring teachers and surrendering the fruits of the practice, echoing the great foundational yogic text the Bhagavad Gita “do every action you must do, but do not be attached to your actions fruits. This wisdom in action is yoga.” Tr. Satchidananda.
Anything I know, learn or share is not mine. I come from a long line of teachers, students and practice.
I bow deeply to my teachers. Without whom, I would not be.
My first gurus are my Parents and family in Assam and Bengal. In particular Prasanta Barkataki and Maya Bhaumik who taught me the essence of everything I’ve learned and showed me our traditions are not separate from our lives.
A deep bow to my root teachers
Shankarji in the Shankaracharya tradition
Vaidya Jayarajan Kodikannath, BSc, BAMS
Vaidya Suhas Kshirsagar, BAMS, MD (Ayurveda)
Mamta Landerman, CAS, PKS
Alka Rao Mulakaluri, AD (NAMA), PKS, LMT
Vaidya Rekha Nahar, BSc
Girija Iyer, AWP, RYT-500
Vaidya Karthik Krishnan, BAMS
Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar, BAMS, LMT, DYA
Subhash Mohanty, Grade certification, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation
Dr Vasant Lad
Dr Frawley Vamadeva Shastri
Dr Vandana Shiva
H.H. the Dalai Lama
Grateful also to be Ordained into Order of Interbeing with Thich Nhat Hanh
Dr Rev Lawson
Shin zen Young
Michelle Benzamon Miki
Erika Faith Calig
To the stars, sky, sun, moon and all the elements earth, water, fire, air and space.
I’m deeply grateful to study and practice yoga and Ayurveda in the tradition of engaged Hatha yoga in the Shankaracharya tradition.
I bow to the land of yoga’s origin, my homeland of India. I bow to the earth and elements that make up all life.
Spiritual Lineage Acknowledgement
Aware of the erasure of the roots of yoga, I acknowledge with a moment of silence all that has been lost due to colonization, empire, appropriation, racism, abuse, caste oppression, patriarchy, exploitation and forgetting.
As taught by my teachers in this tradition of liberation I vow to do my best to practice yoga to uplift all beings, the earth and all creatures. To untangle the roots of division and suffering within and without. To live for justice, equity and liberation, embracing yoga’s roots.
I vow to practice unity. To uplift the essence of yoga as my lineage of expansive liberation teaches. To love where others might reject. Like the early yoga practitioners who held many views alongside their own, to seek to live in understanding both the many and the One of truth.
To practice grace and open heartedness where others may narrow. To connect. To accept with love and grace and continue to move towards justice and equity wherever there is exclusion. To know harm and healing inter-are and to keep showing up anyway.
To practice yoga ethics and remain devoted to the heart of inquiry and philosophy that the Jnana path invites. To bring the essence of this rich practice alive and accessible in the hard and hurting places. To share where there is need. To always keep learning as a devoted student of yoga. Without you I would not be.
I am so grateful for my teachers and all the early practitioners of the yogic path of liberation; you shine like a path of stars lighting up the sky of liberation.
May the fruits of this practice benefit all beings.
A deep bow to you Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.
Taking the time to do a spiritual lineage acknowledgement is a key part of honoring and embracing a yoga practice. When opening or closing a yoga space as well as deepening in our own practice it's important to share.
Opening ourselves up to embracing, acknowledging and honoring the roots of yoga and yogic wisdom is a powerful and needed way to anchor ourselves, our practices.
With love, unity, honor and fire,
I am the author of Embrace Yoga's Roots Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice and a yoga unity and diversity activist. I've been practicing the traditions of my ancestors my whole life and educating around yoga and social justice for 2 decades.
If you'd like to stay in touch then you can download the Yoga Equity Manifesto and subscribe to my email list. I send out yoga, diversity, equity and wellness notes about once or twice a month.