Friday, February 20, 2009

Name Anxiety

I'm having name anxiety.

Not about my name. Though, after fifty-one years of having the same first name and yet, not being able to pronounce it distinctly enough that people hear "Janet" instead of "Janice," well, I wonder.

But more specifically, about the name of my yoga therapy business. Just a little business, but the choice of a name makes it more real, creates a something, communicates what it is to others. I remember the moment when I found the name for my doctoral dissertation. Suddenly, it was tangible, concrete, something with an end hovering on the horizon line in the distance, an eventual book to sit in a library.

Yoga names are tricky. I know that I don't want a touchy-feely name. There are many yoga teachers with email addresses and websites that have gooey wording. And that's not me. I do believe that heart and union and OM and breathing and exhaling are significant. But I don't think that is the whole picture.

And more to the point, I want the name of my business to tell people that, even if they have never done yoga or thought of themselves as someone who would try yoga, that perhaps the practice would help them in some definitive way. I want the name to say - this is something useful, practical, utilitarian. Too bad "utilitarian" is such an unpretty word. The meaning works - utilitarianism is the science of creating the greatest amount of happiness - which is similar to yoga's function of decreasing suffering and increasing joy - but Utilitarian Yoga sounds painful, right?

I was paging through the dictionary this morning while drinking my coffee, looking at words. Also, marveling at how people come up with great names. Like Ravelry. It says knitting, yarn, fun, community, party. Or my LYS, Knitche. Is there a yoga version that plays on a yoga word but has a layered effect?

And then there are names that have an echo effect. Like GlobalHope. I love the long "o"sound in each word, the efficiency of the name, its suggestion of promise and concern for more than one's own backyard. There is a concept in Judaism called Tikkun Olam. Briefly, it means actions to repair the world. And I really like that idea: the promise of healing, the concern for something beyond oneself, the practicality. But Tikkun Olam Yoga? Nope.

Well, time to empty the dishwasher and get ready for the day. Maybe something will come to me when I'm not looking so hard. (Suggestions are welcome, by the way.)

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