Seattle Yoga News: What prompted you to publish this book “No Gurus Came Knocking”?
Molly Lannon Kenny: Many, many years ago, I started “Topic of the Month” at The Samarya Center. It was a way to create a sense of continuity among all of the teachers and classes, a way for my teachers to examine their own lives from a both practical and spiritual viewpoint and a way for our community to join in the practice of really living their yoga. Samarya Yoga classes always start with a short talk on yoga and every day life – using some of the basic tenets of yoga, the yamas and niyamas – where, after the teacher frames the topic and a real life story, the community is invited to share their own perspective and experience. It became a real hallmark of our living practice together, and a way for us to really embody our practice off the mat. At the beginning of each month, I would write an essay on the topic of the month to get people familiar with the topic and get their processes started. This book is, for the most part, a collection of those essays. I never thought I would put them together in book form, but I always received a lot of positive feedback and thanks from readers (or listeners – many of the essays were also offered in podcast form) from people all over the world, who seemed to really resonate and appreciate this integration of the spiritual and the mundane, the everyday. Finally it was my students who pushed me to bring the essays together and to publish them as a book.
Seattle Yoga News: Who is this book written for?
Molly Lannon Kenny: This book is written for anyone who is interested in yoga and spiritual life. It is an excellent – i think!- examination of many foundational concepts in yoga, including the prana vayus, the paths of yoga, the yamas and niyamas, the kleshas, the power of partnership and connection, and much more. These concepts are always laid out in stories of everyday life, which makes them so accessible and relatable. This book is also for students, seekers and finders like me who have been confused or confounded by searching for *the* teacher, *the* lineage, people who want to go deep, who want to respect and understand the cultural, political and social origins of yoga, but who have not had the joy or luck of finding a guru, so who, in earnestness and humility, forged forward with a spiritual path of their own making. I think it is also for people who may not be into yoga “hook, line and sinker,” as it also talks about my own journey to yoga, really through just seeking a deeper spiritual life, and then feeling stuck there. This book is not about seeing yoga as the be-all and end-all, but as one of many contemplative disciplines that might bring us closer to the heart of our own life.
Seattle Yoga News: What was it like writing this book?
Molly Lannon Kenny: Writing the book was difficult for many reasons. It took me about three years from the first time I contacted my editor, to when the book was actually published. I had to let go of a lot of writing that felt precious to me, but I was also inspired and held accountable by my editor. I feel like I am a much better teacher after writing this book, as I had to do so much fact checking! I feel much more confident now in what I say when I talk about the spiritual implications of this practice, especially as compared with other practices. I had to make sure I was using the right words and phrases, and also found confidence through research that often times, there are as many variable opinions and definitions as there are terms and people writing about them.
I also loved finding the quotes for the book. I have been turned on to so many of the powerful presences I am inspired by today by simply seeing quotes attributed to them in other books, and me following the rabbit hole to learn more about them and where they came from. I wanted to do the same thing in my book for my readers.
Finally, one of the most difficult parts of writing the book was adding all the drawings at the end. Whenever I teach about yoga or therapy, I have these seven specific drawings I have been doodling for years to illustrate my point. I wanted to add those in, but didn’t quite know how to get them across. I also have to admit, that my ego began to get the best of me, and as one of my students/faculty said to me, “Molly, you are trying to get everything you have ever taught or said or shared down in one place.” It was kind of true. I had to stop!
Seattle Yoga News: Can you provide SYN readers a couple of great reasons why they should get a copy of the book today?
Molly Lannon Kenny: The first reason is because you will learn a lot. You will understand concepts from yoga in ways you may not have so far. You will also be encouraged to continue the humility of seeking and to remember that yoga is first and foremost a spiritual practice. You will be invited to consider your own sense of “God,” whether that is present in a place of worship, in spiritual reading, by being in nature, by feeling the joy and tenderness of pure love, or by sitting on your own in silence. You will be reminded that yoga = union, and that union is the small “self” with the big “Self” – divine presence.
The second reason is that you will be supporting a local teacher who is drawing on over twenty years of knowledge and experience, and who will introduce you to teachers and organizations you may not have a chance to meet on your own.
And lastly, because I am accessible! You can buy the book, and then ask me questions, go on retreat with me, send me emails, visit me in Mexico. The book can be a jumping off point for your own journey and exploration.
Seattle Yoga News: Anything else you’d like to add?
Molly Lannon Kenny: I was terrified of asking for accolades from teachers I respect, in case they didn’t like the book. But if you don’t want to take my word, you can take the word of one of the teachers or writers who agreed to blurb the book. Remember, it is not a linear book, it is a collection. So you can pick it up and put it down as you wish, you can search for specific topics you want to know about, and you can draw on its wisdom and insight exactly as feels right for you.
I’m still writing essays every month, you can find them through signing up for my newsletter, or liking and friending me on Facebook. I am working on the outline for my next, very different book, called “Reclamation – Yoga and Recovery from Childhood Sexual Trauma.”
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Published on Jan 19, 2016