our yoga mat* is a static thing, with borders, surface texture, a right side and a wrong side. it defines our place of practice. when it is rolled open on the floor it stays there, mostly mute. we go to it. it can creep and ripple and slide depending on its texture, our style of practice, or the kind of surface it has been placed on, but mostly, it is an inert thing.
i wonder if its inherent inertness and ‘industry standards’ shape restricts our potential.
in the evolution of my yoga practices, i have been feeling my body resisting the same old patterns of movement. the resistance has been going on for years, actually. in looking to other forms of physical expression, specifically dance and the martial arts, i am seeing movement ‘phrases’ to incorporate into familiar asana sequences. i watch, then i map the phrases in my own body. i have taken my practice off the grid, as it were.
i recently became aware of a dancer named akram khan. in watching videos of him moving, i am struck by the synthesis of movement forms as he creates and then performs dance pieces for himself and his company. i would encourage everyone engaged with an asana practice to watch akram, to watch slow motion videos of birds in flight, of sea anemones opening and closing, of anything in nature that spirals and ripples and moves with its entire being present to the action.
(*note: my favorite mat has been usurped by my husband and the cats, and it is way too heavy to travel with. i recently unearthed my large, circular mat from our stateside storage unit, and it has too has been instrumental in expanding my notions of a practice ‘space’).