Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are we the asanas that we perform?

The answer to this question is quite clearly no; asanas, as all of us good yogis and yoginis know, is just one of the eight limbs of yoga practice, and what asanas you can (or cannot) do should not be confused with how "yogic" you are, or how "advanced" your practice is.

Fair enough. But this funny thing called the internet does very funny things to people's perception of yoga practice, and asana's place in it. Here's an example. Earlier today, in his comments on my previous post, Frank told me that a picture of me in Kapotasana that I had posted on this blog last year had been re-blogged here on this tumblr site:

I'm the guy with the green shorts in Kapotasana, just below the center of the page. Well, okay, in case you can't find it, for whatever reason, here it is:

Pretty cool, eh? :-) I actually have mixed feelings about my, ahem, famous Kapotasana picture being circulated on the web and preserved in electronic form for all eternity (pompous much?). On the one hand, I am very honored that somebody actually thinks my Kapotasana worth preserving for posterity to look at. On the other hand, there is a certain strangeness about seeing yourself in an asana on somebody else's website, especially if the viewer can't see my face in the posture. It is quite possible that most of the people who visit that site and see that picture will know me only by the shape of my body in that particular posture; they won't even recognize my face if they see me walking down the street! Pretty bizarre, don't you think? Isn't there something vaguely pornographic about this? (Please don't make me spell out exactly why this is vaguely pornographic: I don't want to have to reveal how much I actually know about pornography on this blog...).

This thing called the internet is indeed a very strange and bizarre creature...


  1. Very handsome. Now in answer to your question, no, we are not the asanas we perform. I would be out of existence if I was the asanas I perform as of late.

  2. Thanks Arturo. A very wise person recently said this to me: Everything passes. The asana practice (and everything else, for that matter) never stays the same. In any case, we are not our bodies (or the asanas they can do). The only thing we can sensibly be is to be (or at least try to be) happy with what our bodies can or cannot do right now.