The Yogi as artist

A yogis welcomeImagine if you will a ‘few’ thousand years ago and a group of yogis are sitting around in a glade near the Holy Ganges talking it up on the shape of the world, and their chakras and the “Why-are-we-here?” and “Who-am –I?” questions that we still explore to this day. They begin to stir from their seated postures. First an arm perhaps, a leg instinctively extends to remove the stiffness of their seated duration.

“Look my fellows what happens when you do this!” remarks Gupta – “look what I did with my leg! And you know I feel more  blood flow there,  more energy and truly this leg is much more at ease….”

“Oh I did that last week but I added this to it” remarked his friend Salil as he drew in his other leg and reached his arms out to his extended foot to what we now know as the half-seated forward fold; janu-sirsana.  And what’s more, much of my endless worrying has seemed to have become more quiet in my head. I can sit for much longer periods of time!”

“Well,” remarks a third companion   “rumor has it that just a league down-river, brother Gorankth  has been given a whole bunch of these,’asana’ I think he calls them, and he claims that they were passed down to him by the  Lord Shiva  himself!  Imagine!   And not only that, he says he now is able to sit in meditation for days on end!“

“The nerve!” countered Gupta!  “I’ll wager that he has nothing like what we have discovered here!– in fact I think if we work on this a little more we can create and discover many more “asana” than he did!  Grab some of those palm leaves over there and let’s jot this down before we forget.”  “Go ahead Salil,  do that one again but this time reach your arm around you back,  roll your shoulder back and hold onto your right, no left toe… now what do you feel?? Uh- huh… I see… interesting…okay, now let’s try….”

And so it went for days-on-end before our three yogis took their show ‘on the road’.

Please forgive if I have stepped on sacred toes here, maybe it didn’t happen quite this way.  Perhaps it was “divine intervention” or a holy gift from one deity or another that brought us the forms we know today and call “hatha yoga”.

But it appears just as in any art form whether it be dance, the visual arts, music, the culinary arts, that the imagination/divine inspiration (I have yet to find a demarcation between the two) is certainly an active “force” behind their developments.  Growth in what ever sensual avenue and tool we have available to us a human beings requires it..

The artist, an archetype of the creative soul is a useful icon as we develop in our practice of hatha yoga. Indeed as we develop in our practice of….Life.   We are all artists that make use of an unlimited array of  “mixed media”.  The pigments, in this case, the practice of hatha yoga.

“….. No artist is pleased .  There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction…”
Martha Graham

Enjoy your ability to create!  Never doubt for a moment that you are not capable. It is our birthright to build on the imagination that set us upon theses paths and prepares the groundwork for inspirations yet to come.

—Paul Reynolds

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Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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