I’ve been practicing yoga for ten years, on different levels of intensity and regularity according to life circumstances. Gradually and through time I’ve become aware of what it does for me and why do I cherish it so much. Why do I basically need it to keep a modest level of sanity as I go through life.
On the most practical sense yoga keeps my spine healthy and has allowed me to keep moving in the face of a chronic cervical condition and chronic muscle strain. But yoga gives me the opportunity to practice conscious breathing at it’s last consequences and through this practice the path for transformation becomes not only possible but palpable. A good antidote to despair.
Yoga teaches me to navigate with moderate equanimity through painful or uncomfortable situations. Releasing becomes a natural consequence of remaining, making it inevitable to reach that indistructible place within that is pure awareness.
Yoga brings a decent amount of perspective and objectivity to my life, necessary to balance out everyday experiences. Through this practice I cultivate patience and attention, and that sense of connection that is so scarse these days. Yoga pulls me inmediately away from discursivity and brings me face to face with the grasping and restless tendencies of my mind.
Beyond that, it is the one opportunity I get to practice unmaking and surrendering. And that is enough.
The complexity of simplicity...
And yes, the field of contemporary postural yoga has some questionable issues and one must be aware. On certain occasions I’ve felt conflicted by performance and athletic oriented approaches of yoga where the instructor, for reasons I do not understand demands better and more as if I wasn’t capable to choose for myself. On certain occasions I’ve felt frustrated and bored by fitness oriented yoga and its shallow and reductive ways, so inextricably linked to the deceiving discourse of healthism and wellness culture. Hot yoga? I don’t get it. I don’t enjoy it. Never have, never will. I’m sure that’s not all there is but these are mostly the kind of yoga classes I found in California.
On certain occasions I have quietly stepped out of esoteric yoga classes where the instructor speaks non stop about cosmic energy, the universe and personal growth, things that have very little to do with the actual practice.
Of course I’ve also came across amazing and inspiring teachers in Mexico, true masters of technique who’s gentle, wide, clear and objective guidance focuses on offering possibilities for insight and discovery without pushing or forcing. They provide a hand to hold to make it easier to go deep and cultivate accountability and agency in the practice. I am grateful for those teachers, Luz Orea, Manu Poder del Sonido, Andrea Borbolla, Amado Cavazos to name a few.
On the last few months thanks to lockdown, slow and concrete time, I’ve been able to really work on developing a personal practice and to recognize and acknowledge my own inclinations and motivations. It has become clearer than ever to me what a key component of my way of being in the world and also my dance technique teaching methods yoga is. What better time than this to give more purposeful attention and investment to this practice that has given me so much.
However, being the obssesive freak that I am when I am not in my yogic state, I needed to make a list about where this project is surely not going to take me.
No, I wont be discussing the universe, unless it’s to whine about its cold indifference, preferably while holding a glass of wine. No, I wont be giving lessons of morality or good living on instagram, as if I know better. No, I won’t be singing mantras for hours with my eyes closed tight and a self indulgent smile in my face. I do like mantras though, but I prefer to just pronounce them.
No, I won’t be posting personal growth possitive affirmations accompanied by a photo of me in a fancy inversion looking inadvertendly fit and hot, I’ve never even been interested in fancy inversions. No, I won’t ever become enamored with my eating habits whatever they might be. No, I won’t be recommending and selling essential oils every time someone asks for advice or poses a question. And no, I won’t start dressing with long tunics or fitness outfits.
In summarize, no, I wont be joining any clubs or conditionate identity models. I’m sure a lot of people fall gracefully and authentically into some of these categorizations, and I believe is much better to sing mantras than to be a mindless consumer for example, but I’m also pretty sure I never will as I tend to run in the opposite direction of any ideology or trend that attempts to standardize behavior and I don’t even like essential oils.
I will however take this opportunity to dive as deep as I can into practice and deeper understanding. I will engage in the study of the technique of yoga, the sublteties, the details and the objective history, the kind of objective perspective that tells the whole story.
And yes, I will keep conceiving and experiencing yoga through a somatic lense, but mainly, as a contemplative practice. And most importantly as a fascinating unfolding epistemic object.