Amongst the various fine arts, sculpting fascinates me. Unlike paintings, where one creates on a blank canvas, sculpting is an unveiling, an uncovering. The stone is chipped off to reveal what is within already. Yoga is like that too, except that the sculptor and the sculpture are one. 

While waiting in line to sign up for the next academic year, I was looking at a happy idol outside Guruji’s house. Head at a slight tilt, open feet and easy arms all in one fluid stillness. It’s one of many sculptures that pepper the Institute and its premises. I’m not sure which deity or mythological character this one is. The figure sits atop a lotus set on top of a creature with tusks There are other figures below the pedestal but I’m not quite sure what they signify. I wonder who I could ask for a little more about its origin and details.

His foot caught my fancy. The left sole is open like a book, completely at ease. How many human bodies have that same graceful presence? The foot fascinates me endlessly and this sculpture has a beautiful presentation of the soles. One of the beautiful aspects of Indian art is the effortless weaving of religion to express. Sculptures to music and dance and even our clothing! Art is nothing but an expression of bhakti.

Pallu of a baluchari Saree from Bengal. This one was a gift from S and has a beautiful depiction of Krishna and Radha at leisure. Handwoven works like this still abound in our country where the humble weavers create masterpieces drawing inspiration from religious and cultural iconography.

Our bodies are like books, some parts an unwitting expression of our deepest desires and fears. Our backs are honest, beyond the field of our eyes, they rarely lie. Besides the feet, I’ve been an observer of the paschima of bodies. Sometimes on runs, I see people in front of me and their backs are interesting to observe. It reminds me of my slouched and hunched posture of not too long ago. My entire being was a reflection of the dullness and ache inside at that time. It is a lot different now and the whole emphasis of lifting and opening the chest in class has created a transformation in my mental and emotional posture too. 
As the academic year draws to an end, there is a little more confidence in being able to practice at home. The confusion of what, why, when and how has cleared a bit to allow a thought out approach to practice rather than just repetition. Thanks to my teachers who have taught us so well, there has been progress and a desire to keep practising. I have been lax in my studies of the texts though and that’s something that needs to change. 

Hari Om

2 thoughts on “Expression

  1. “Our backs are honest.” So true. The unseen side ourselves. Each body is a work of art sculpted by a life. I notice posture and have the urge to liberate the hunched and slouched, but of course I can’t walk up to a stranger and suggest fewer crunches, more yoga, when I see some otherwise fit and active people walking or jogging with an excessively tight front body that distorts the back. I visualize them being uplifted and open, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guilty of actually telling my colleagues to sit straight. It’s so easy for us to slip into a slouch with the equipment of our daily lives. Screens have messed us in a big way.


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