This photo is all about admiring yoga (postures) or at least the body that’s doing them. The photographer states: I think yoga is beautiful.
What a revelation!
Superficial Understanding of Yoga My only question is: if these same (there are a few pictures) Yoga Asana would be performed on dank dark piss filled corners of the city and by ugly people if you’d still think it was beautiful?
This is an important distinction, because if you think of yoga (asana) as pictures of beautiful people/bodies wearing beautiful clothing doing the pose (beautifully) on a beach or a mountain top or some lovely place then you’ve misconstrued the true beauty of yoga. If you can not appreciate it for what it is in your own body, heart and mind then you have not deepened your understanding. This is not yoga you are seeing (it looks like it because of the poses), but it is more like the sugar coating of your own missed understanding of yoga which remains superficial.
Seeing the Difference It is in my mind vital that we distinguish between our own need to flaunt and perform not only our expression of our bodies but also our hearts in this way that is about – the look-at-me-approval train, and to perform a sincere practice where you get sweaty, breathe hard, falter in a posture, make faces without knowing it, and get injured sometimes. Yoga’s beauty emerges from the inside as we have good practice days and not so good. As we take Yoga out onto the street and respond within our capabilities as a human who practices yoga every other day.
Yoga expresses itself more subtly and more privately. It is not as conspicuous as when it is staged with all this stuff and noise around.
What are you hiding from? I wonder from what you are hiding. Is it your own pain? Pain of realization that you might never do a yoga posture perfectly (only an issue of performance), or pain of your body which never goes away, or the pain of realization that to deepen your practice and heart, you must forego the ego’s insistence to be admired. What is it then?
Yoga is Beautiful and Ugly, Painful and Freeing… Yoga needs no embellishment like how this photographer (and many others! Self portraits – you know who you are) presents it here. There is no there there in the expression, just performance and staging. Try not to stage it next time. Watch it unfold and look for it below the surface. If you’re looking for the beauty, you’ll find a gold mine!
Photo by: Robert Sturman