This morning, when I was doing my practice, my fiancee came into the practice room when I was in Kapotasana. She said, "You look so beautiful in this pose!" (I hope this does not mean that I ONLY look beautiful in Kapotasana...). In any case, I was quite happy to hear that from her; in fact, come to think of it, I may even have stayed in the posture for a couple of breaths longer as a result of that compliment :-)
What happened this morning was a rare occurrence. Usually, by the time I get to Kapotasana, she is already out of the house. So most of my Kapotasanas are solitary Kapotasanas (philosophical question: Did Nobel really do Kapotasana if there was nobody around to see him do it? You know, as in "Did the tree really fall in the forest if nobody saw it fall?"). As are most of my Karandavasanas. Not that that is anything to write home about...
This is actually related to a question I have been pondering lately: Is yoga an art? My gut feeling is that it is an art, in the sense that the yoga practice involves a process in which the yogi allows his or her body, mind and spirit to be "sculpted" and changed by the practice.
But some thinkers may not agree with my view. Today, in my philosophy of art class, we discussed the views of R.G. Collingwood. Collingwood's view is that the primary role of art lies in the expression of emotion. The artist, in performing or displaying his work, seeks to use his performance medium (whether this is a musical performance, a novel, a poem, or a painting) as a vehicle through which to express certain emotions to his audience, evoking empathy and understanding on the part of the audience.
It seems to me that on Collingwood's view, yoga would not be art. In practicing yoga, the yogi does not seek to use whatever he or she is doing (whether it is asana, pranayama, or other actions) as vehicles to express emotions or to evoke empathy or understanding on the part of the onlooker, although this can sometimes happen (as it kind of did with me this morning). For the most part, yoga practice is an inward-looking solitary enterprise, in which the practitioner does what he or she does, whether or not anybody else notices or empathizes or understands what he or she is doing. At least, this is what I understand practice to be about.
Or maybe Collingwood's definition of art is simply too narrow. Maybe yoga is art in some sense after all, just not in the particular sense that Collingwood has in mind.
Well, this is just me recording my random thoughts and musings about things. If you have anything to add, I'll love to hear from you. If not, that's cool too. Thanks for reading :-)