E i g h t Pat h s One Journey
Yoga is an infinite physical, emotional and spiritual journey for anyone who indulges in the intricacies of the practice. Each individualâ€™s experience is unique, a journey that can be likened to the birth of a stream lost high on a mountain gradually carving a path through untapped landscapes to the vast expanses of an ocean unknown. Eight Paths, One Journey is an artistic exploration of the experiences of nine yoga practitioners who have found a place for the ancient Eastern practice of yoga in their 21st century Western lives. It provides a window into each individual; their emotions, feelings, desires, motivations and their understanding of self at a point in time along their very own yoga journey. The result is an intimate and often raw insight into the gamut of human emotion in the context of the practice of yoga set against the backdrop of contemporary urban existence.
E i g h t Pat h s One Journey A W I N DI NG W H EEL BOOK
W O R D S BY M AT T D R A G U N
P H OTO G R A P H S BY N I C M O NTA G U
YO G A A N D T H E B O D Y
Most people, if you were to stop them
strength. The bodies of yoga practitioners
When viewing the practice you can’t
on the street and ask them, would tell
are not uniform, but maintain the
help but appreciate the sense of effort,
you that yoga is a form of exercise.
unique shape of each individual.
strength, control, balance and flexibility
Some might tell you that it is popular with supermodels and flexible folk and some might mention hippies. Yoga’s physical practices, or asana, are practised widely in the West and have even been adopted by many elite sporting teams to assist with training and physical conditioning. But, despite yoga’s popularity as a form of exercise, it is distinctly different to other popular types of exercise. The focus of yoga’s asana practice is not on physical growth but on the restoration of balance and alignment in the body. To restore this balance, a yoga asana practice works every single muscle in the body. As a result, the yoga body is not a ‘perfect’ body. It does not bulge with disproportionate muscle mass. It is not flagpole thin. This is not a practice of personal sculpture. It is a practice of personal development and so creates a body that has a certain organic beauty. The yoga body is smooth and toned, evenly proportioned from top to toe. It permeates a sense of physical balance and
While the body of the practitioner conveys a sense of the natural beauty of the physical form, the practice itself demonstrates the body’s amazing ability. Yoga uses a combination of both static and dynamic movements and to watch the physical practice of yoga is to view the full capacity of the human body. This reveals some of the most beautiful and inspirational physical demonstrations. An asana practice explores the limits of the complete range of movement achievable by the human body. It takes the body in all directions and moves into the outer atmosphere of the physical world. As the body creates intriguing forms, the poses shape a seamless composition of limbs and trunk, communicating a sense of balance and peace within what is often a complex and challenging physical form. While yoga’s static poses are comparable to the sculptural works of the great artists of the Roman era the dynamic movements of the practice are powerful, explosive and controlled and see the body move with the connected fluidity of molten metal.
that combine to deliver each pose, and the juxtaposition of the static strength with the sense of flow. Through such a complete exercise regime, students explore the body’s full range of movements; they develop an awareness of the previously hidden subtle movements of the body; and they learn to appreciate and control the movements of every single muscle in the body. This exploration requires considerable concentration, a redirection of the practitioner’s awareness inwards, to the physical landscape of the body, away from the distractions of the outside world.
C AR M E L A
‘Every day is different. One day the practice will wrap its arms around you, embrace you, love you and kiss you and then the next day it’ll turn on you and slap you in the face.’
NI C K
‘Left to our own devices our minds will spin out of control every day of the week. We have 40,000 thoughts a day – that’s what the mind does, it thinks random thoughts and spits them out in the same way a heart pumps blood. Yoga, with that single point of focus on the breath, stops the mind and if you stop the mind or even just slow it down it gives your psychology a rest. It stops this me, me, me, what do I want, what am I doing. What a gift and what an amazing impact that can have on your life!’
Critical acclaim from the Eight Paths, One Journey world-premiere exhibition November 2008
Eight Paths, One Journey challenges fundamental assumptions which colour how people interpret experience, events, other people, and think about their goals and ambitions for the future and highlights positive change. The images are anonymous summaries of the gamut of human emotions, yet they have the ability to gently tap you on the shoulder reminding you of your own vulnerability. Paola Anselmi (Visual Art Critic & Writer)
The projected images, loaded with their own connotations, were peeled along the skin of a body in a yoga pose, in darkness and light, which used the black and white of the medium to a convulsive capacity. There is something real and personal of the participants which is being exposed by the artists. Emma-Kate Dowdell (PhD Photomedia, Edith Cowan University)
Eight Paths, One Journey presents a fusion of yoga and art, two experiential practices that rouse emotions and challenge perceptions, offering a journey towards knowledge, insight and peace.
Eight Paths, One Journey presents a fusion of yoga and art, two experiential practices that rouse emotions and challenge perceptions, offeri...