Why do you take photos and videotapes of your practice?
When Mr. Iyengar came to Boston and spoke at the Majestic Theatre, one of the things he talked about was his wife Ramamani. His wife helped him deepen his yoga practice by being his mirror. He wanted to learn what his body was actually doing in asana, not what his mind thought he was doing. So he had his wife watch his practice daily and he would ask her questions. What is this part of my body doing? She would reply and he would adjust so the mind body connection would come together.
He states in “Light on Life” that we must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. He discusses how we use our bodies so little that we lose the sensitivity of our bodily awareness. We move from the bed to desk to car to couch, but there is no awareness in our movements, no intelligence. There is no ‘action’. Action, stated by Mr. Iyengar, is movement with intelligence. Yoga teaches us how to infuse our movements with intelligence, transforming them into action.
Since my husband would rather have his fingernails pulled out with pliers than watch and help me analyze my practice, I began videotaping my practice, using it as a tool to help me develop this ‘intelligence’. I am often amazed by the disparity between what my body is doing and what my mind thinks it’s doing.
And why do you post them?
I post some as instructional videos to help my students remember what we have practiced in class. My personal practice videos are to show students that a yoga practitioner’s/teacher’s practice is always evolving and hopefully they will be encouraged by my practice.
I thought you didn’t like people watching your practice, witnessing your struggles?
Yes, this is true and sometimes I feel uncomfortable posting them. However, it is much easier having an inanimate object taping me than my students/teachers watching me in person. This is something I will have to overcome when I am in Pune.
One of my teachers Zoe Stewart demonstrated one of the most inspirational practices I have ever seen. It was a celebration of her 30th teaching anniversary. Part of the celebration was a demonstration of her practice. Her movements were so fluid and there was complete lightness in her body. Her eyes were open but her mind was drawn inward. There was a room full of students and teachers but she didn’t see us, she was inside herself in a different space.
I was so moved by her practice and I hope that I and my students can find this in our own practice.