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Task 8 - Yoga as reenactment


Marie writes:

During lunch at a café after our yoga practice yesterday you were talking through ideas to resolve a chapter you need to write. Two of the recurring themes were reenactment and performativity. As we had just left the yoga practice the themes you were resolving and my physical memory of sweating on the mat intertwined in my body-mind and I began to think of yoga as reenactment and perhaps even as a kind of performance that is repeated. The way you were describing Denmark as ‘being performed in the moment we are acting out our lives in the nation called Denmark’ made me think about yoga as ‘being performed in the moment we get on the mat and begin our movement rituals’. Finally we are co-authoring a blog post about yoga and white womanhood which discusses the (appropriation of) rituals in the practice which makes me wonder when the yoga practice stops being yoga if you remove components like chants, mats, breathing techniques or key postures. These three elements:

  • Reenactment/performance
  • Yoga practice
  • Rituals of yoga

…are the basis of your next task:

Task 8 is partly a writing exercise and partly a yoga exercise! Your task will be to practice yoga four times this week, two of which can be any length you have time for. Two of the practices will be in your usual setting on Tuesday and Thursday for the Mysore practice in Aarhus. Two additional practices on two alternative days should be practices without the components that you find are the key rituals of your yoga practice. That may be in a different environment, with no mat, changing the sequence or simply with interruption. After each of your four yoga practices you must do 20 minutes bursts of writing where you reflect on the following:

  • How do you experience repetition and performance in the practice?
  • What is the significance (or insignificance) of rituals?
  • What are the indications that the ‘event of the practice’ begins and ends?
  • How do the above questions and reflections change as you repeat the practice and writing exercise?

 Your four pieces of writing (one for each of the practices) should in your response to the task be accompanied by a photo or a mark-making that illustrates some of the points you make in your writing.

See here for Alan's response.