Reflections on Task 37 and Task 38 – Modern Relational Yoga

Dear Marie,

many thanks for task 37. Below you can find my reflections and below this the instructions for Task 38.

Monday: I am excited and inspired by the pictures you post and look forward to doing the task (which I am not sure exactly what it asks, because I read the instructions very quickly).

Tuesday: I do understand that the task has to do with some form of re-construction, re-staging, adaptation. I am thinking about the re-creating of past choreographies and the function of scoring. So, the photos are my score and I can change anything I want in the composition. A little something nags me, but I am not too preoccupied with it: I have never done, or be taught,  Natarajasana, the posture you are doing with the diggers. I will have to find a way to somehow address this.

Wednesday: I do a bit more reading on the commutation test. It sounds a very interesting methodology. How might the thing, or series of things, I will change in the composition reveal insights about both the original and its reconstruction?

Thursday: SNAP. My back goes and with it all the plans I have for the task.

Friday: I can barely walk or stand. I am medicated to my ears and have no idea how I will respond to the task. Dazed by the pain and the effect of the painkillers, I am thinking about asking for an extension. But this has never happened before. The frequency (yes! the rhythm of the posts) is one of the threads that makes this project what it is. One thing, however, becomes clear: my injury reveals the very thing that was taken for granted in the task and the photos: ability.

Saturday: The pain has eased somewhat and with it comes an idea. What will be changed is scale.

Painting by Margarita Samara

Task 38 – Relations

The last practice I had before I injured myself yielded an insight. Asanas are not postures, they are relations. This may not sound particularly groundbreaking on paper, but it took me nearly 20 years to break the mould of the idea, and practice, of postures and realise that what is going on is in fact relations. What is the difference? Postures are fixed, relations are fluid. Both the translation of the term asana as posture, as well as the photographic representation and instructions of ‘Modern Postural Yoga’ (see De Michelis’s excellent History of Modern Yoga 2004 and Singleton’s Yoga Body 2010), create the impression that yoga involves the doing and holding of fixed positions (even if in practices like Ashtanga Yoga there is a lot more emphasis on the movement between the postures).

Here is your task then: what kind of visual and linguistic representation might we have if we think of yoga asanas as relations? Relations between body parts, between the body and the space, between different weights and pressures, between inside and outside etc etc. How might a relational yoga practice be represented and disseminated  through language and imagery?

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