Thanks for task 28. See my reflections below and your new Task 29 – Female + yoga = ?
Reflections on Inconspicuous
Transcription of audio recording while carrying out task 28:
(Im at a busy opening event of beach front in Horsens (Langelinje) with events, games and stalls. Imagine kids running around and loud music playing)
‘I just spotted one of my yoga students about 20 feet away…
I decide to attempt an inconspicuous Sun Salutation – knowing I will probably fail – or at least have to amend the movement to not ….
give away that I’m trying to do yoga.
There’s something about the environment here as
being around kids, being around play makes the yoga practice
Parents play with their kids – pick them up – there’s lots of physical activity happening. Perhaps I can blend in…
The first moves are easy, I can stretch my arms over my head and have a little yawn. Second movement is easy enough. I bend forward and pretend to tie my shoelaces. I lift my head up and extend … and look… out over the sea … and then it gets tricky.
How can I …
do Chaturanga and not clearly be doing a yoga posture, or I suppose any exercise posture. I crawl forward and pretend to be looking for something in the grass. I skip Upward Dog as this seems to be too obvious. On walking my hands back, I lift my hips up a little bit and come into a half-hearted version of Downward Dog. Eventually I come back to checking my shoelaces again and then rise up to standing.
I think I got away with this one.’
(shopping in the local supermarket. Music playing in the background and there are sounds of trolley wheels and occasional chatting.)
‘I’m self-consciously continuing my testing. Luckily it’s Saturday after 6 pm so it’s not so busy. I am – nevertheless – aware that there might be CCTV cameras everywhere. I look around… yes there are cameras.
I’m in the vegetable department which is empty. I look for spring onions and decide it’s a good idea to test whether I can get away with the three postures I have decide on: Tree posture, half moon posture and mountain posture
I do tree posture. I can hide behind the cucumbers.
Half moon posture… I bend forward and raise one leg up…
(here I realise that it’s partly a question of how long I stay in postures that makes it inconspicuous or not. Anyone can drop an apple and bend over to pick it up with one leg raised and get away with it.)
I do mountain pose. Again –apart from looking like I forgot what I came into the shop for – I can get away with this pose.
(pause … with the clicking sound of trolley wheels)
I’m in the coffee department. I’ll try it one more time.
When does the yoga practice become something else…?
(sound of my breathing)
And again… I walk and I did it.
It’s quite satisfying actually. It’s completely changing how I experience my food shopping. I suddenly hang out in the supermarket. Spend time here. For the first time ever, I notice the ceilings and the changes of temperature between different areas.
(the task makes me forget what I came to the shop for and I browse around for a while up and down the same aisles.)
I map the layout of the frozen goods and the tinned food. I notice that there are different types of pasta if I look further down.’
Task 29 – Female + yoga = ?
Since task 26 and your reference to the work of Polly Penrose – ‘I was never good at yoga’– (and perhaps also thinking back at a blog post I wrote years ago together with some female yoga friends about women and yoga) my thoughts have been circling around the subject of gender within the practice of yoga.
It has been a condition for our project from the outset that we were two women working together. I am curious to bring this aspect to the surface for this task. It may be an interesting subject, it may also be completely irrelevant for what we’re doing. It felt important to acknowledge it, though. I’m conscious of the weight of this subject and so am trying to make this task as open and non-prescriptive as I can. Here it goes…
For your next task I want you to consider the following:
What is it to do the yoga practice in the awareness of being female? The task does not prescribe a certain understanding of what ‘female’ means (to you or the world) and whether this applies to biology or politics or social conventions. The task is to do your usual practice with this question in mind.
I am interested in you exploring the multiple ways one can both physically test and mentally consider this question. How can these multiple ways of considering the two words ‘female’ and ‘yoga’ create a network of possible ways to understand their relationship?
Bring back any aspect of your reflections to the blog.
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