In a term commonly perceived as derogatory, yoga practice and teaching are performative, and there is no question that the fundamental nature of yogic learning requires access to the boundary of space that is most conducive to discovery and creation. In fact, it is precisely the element of performance that invites access to this frontier space and is required for the fundamentals of nature and yoga learning, as well as for its practical application. So, how are yoga and art connected?
Art at its foundation
Art and poetry have been largely devalued, but their important role in society is still celebrated by a few. In our current culture, distorted by the algorithms of mainstream television and social media, we are conditioned to value only what is easily digestible to our psyche.
Yoga is no longer seen as fitness, science, or art, but as a way to tap into the reservoir of human potential that we need to meet the enormous challenges we face. Yoga is generally associated with physical fitness and health, as well as mental and emotional health. It is being played down because it is being magnified rather than used to challenge outdated beliefs. Reclaiming the mysterious art and ritual of yoga connected as tools for personal empowerment is one of the ways in which we tap into this reservoir, a reservoir that we need for our human abilities and the ability to face the immense amount of enormous challenges that we all face in our daily lives.
How does it connect with yoga
To make yoga legitimate in the eyes of the mainstream, many of us have done our best to measure the value of yoga based on evidence. Scientific research into the effects of yoga practice is so limited that a double-blind placebo study could measure only a small fraction of its effect, and even then only as little as it could. There is a reluctance to invoke metaphysics in our work because almost anyone who has ever had direct experience of any benefit from yoga would acknowledge that there is more to this process than science alone can explain. If you demand scientific evidence to explain why a work of art moves someone, then invoking a scientific explanation of your yoga experience diminishes that potential.
The same is true of yoga teachers, and perhaps the pandemic has made it harder than ever to be a yoga teacher. Most people understand that if you want to become an artist, you will have difficulty making ends meet while trying to live your passion. Perhaps the fact that there are so many good intentions and misjudgments undermined by commodification reflects the lack of understanding of yoga as an art form and practice.
The science in yoga
If yoga is a science, it is subject to the same limitations, and its postures serve as a means of performing ritual magic. The process of art and healing is more precise in this context so that the transmission of yoga remains within the realm of the possibilities inherent in the unknown. This leads us to present ourselves as an art form that promotes awareness and healing by embodying the life that animates our existence.