Aahh, the "yoga without chanting" article has been submitted and I'm finally catching up with my life. Despite the fact that I love writing--and love that some one will pay me to do it--I get very anxious trying to meet a deadline. The muse is fickle, that's for sure.
This article was inspired by an earlier post and all of your responses. It made me think that people might be interested in the idea of teaching a class without Ohms or mantras, and I wanted some hard facts about the benefits of such a class.
I interviewed Donal MacCoon, a researcher at Univ. of Wisconsin--Madison, whose research has focused on the effectiveness of Mindfulness. His study was influenced by earlier work done by Saul Rosenzweig in the 1930s. Rosenzweig wanted to see what it was about different psychotherapies that made them work. What he found was that it wasn't so much that a specific approach that was better than another, but that the therapist was well-versed in the cure and believed it worked. A patient would have positive results with any number of therapies, if s/he had a good therapist.
This seems to follow in studies of such mind-body practices as yoga, Mindfulness, and meditation. It doesn't matter so much how or what you practice, but that you are confident the method you choose will help you and you trust your teacher. If you have a dedicated Kundalini teacher, who has a beautiful chanting voice and you enjoy vocalization in class, the class will benefit you. If your teacher is a powerful Ashtanga teacher and you love the energy of Sun Salutes, the class will benefit you.
MacCoon suggested (although it hasn't been tested yet) that you could probably take a class of made-up poses and, if the teacher was articulate and engaging, the class would benefit you. I kinda love that--puts a big hole through the argument that one yoga is "better" than another.
So celebrate your training and teach what you love. Your students will reap the benefits of your enthusiasm and you can be confident that you are helping them. It's all good.
The Rosenzweig study is referred to as the Dodo bird conjecture, because he quoted Alice in Wonderland at the beginning of the paper. I think it's appropriate for this post, too:
"At last the Dodo said, 'Everybody has won, and all must receive prizes!"