A moving photograph conjures something that Robert Sturman describes as a "place in between a tear and a smile." According to Sturman, who takes pictures of yoga celebrities as well as cancer patients and LA policemen doing yoga postures, “when an image touches the heart with a quality of sadness, longing, joy, as well as the pursuit to become stronger as people" that's when his "attention is caught."
Reading about Sturman's work elicited the idea that yoga and art evoke similar human emotions that are hard to categorize. I sometimes feel that when releasing out of a strong, deep pose a nuanced and intricate sensation arises that is not that dissimilar to the feeling I have when I set eyes on a radiantly painted Turner sky, or read a line of poetry whose words rattle off the page and shake down into my belly. These impressions aren’t so clear – sometimes they’re so joyful that I want to cry, or so surprising that I want to laugh. To me, yoga and art both yield an ability to summon what artist Paul Chan describes as "articulate speechlessness" —a quality he aspires to instill through his work.
Like art, each person experiences yoga differently. For me, words sometimes fall short of describing just what it is that it offers me, so thought I’d make an effort to illustrate through movement and music the feeling that yoga gives me, from the inside out. I originally filmed the sequences in silence, but when I was looking for the right music, I added my friend Jess Meider’s songs, and immediately I felt they echoed a similar tenor and spirit I felt in my body. I’ve always felt that Jess’s songs beautifully hover between a tear and a smile, and invariably remind me of the pursuit to become a stronger person. She's a beautiful yogini with a heart of gold. I’ve also discovered that she has an uncanny way of singing and playing what I feel in my blood and bones.
The sequences aren't necessarily things I'd teach, but the videos illustrate how I sometimes combine qigong (a Chinese energy cultivation practice) with yoga asana. I've done a few videos, and will try and release a new one every few weeks. I hope you enjoy this first short piece that incorporates a warrior flow.
p.s. Dad, the first one's for you.
Jess Meider: www.jessmeider.com (thanks Jess!)
Teacher, writer, lover of movement and meditation who lives with her husband, dog, three cats, 6 chickens and 10,000 bees.