Dr. Sjoman is coming to the UK next month, Feb 1st and 2nd, should be quite something, all this squeezed into two days,
2 Asana practice classes, 2 pranayama session, four lectures, 2 Q and A's
I'm looking forward to going.
Here's the link to the workshop page at Vinyoga Coventry (more info about Vinyoga Coventry at the bottom of this post)
Outline of the workshop below.
An Exposition of Yoga with Dr N. Sjoman
I came across a recent interview with Norman here at Priya Thomas', Shiver's up the Spine
In Perpetual Motion: A Conversation with Norman Sjoman PhD on Yoga, Art and a Personal Sense of Order
|"Dark Rudra" original on canvas and paper, Norman Sjoman|
It happened the usual way things happen for me. I read something curious and then the thought of it grew, generating questions that then fractured and multiplied, interrupting my routines, populating my peripheral vision. I owe this particularly pleasant detour to Canadian painter, writer, yoga teacher and Sanskritist Norman Sjoman who I’m told was living in Argentina at the time I managed to make contact with him. See, I was on a mission to sequester myself (very successful on the isolation end of things) with the books I needed to read for my final comprehensive exam when I re-read Sjoman’s lovely book, The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace, in which he wrote the following:
"I feel that the only possible way of communicating any meaningful sense of justice is through one's personal sense of order, one's aesthetic."So of course, this seemed an unusual pronouncement to make. I mean, not that the statement itself is hard to understand, but that Sjoman had decided to open his discussion of the hatha yoga traditions of the Mysore Palace with this note to his readers seemed out of the ordinary. What was his concern with the aesthetic?
|"Harihara," original on canvas/paper, Norman Sjoman|
|"Rudra Rajata" original mixed media on canvas, Norman Sjoman|
Priya Thomas in Conversation with Norman Sjoman, PhD
|"Burnt Rudra" original mixed media on canvas/paper, Norman Sjoman|
"I feel that the only possible way of communicating any meaningful sense of justice is through one's personal sense of order, one's aesthetic." - Norman Sjoman
So when we consider yoga, we have to consider the whole psycho-physical apparatus. This has implications beyond the physical – our dreams, our deep sleep states, the dissolution of the body (as happens every night when we go to sleep). In short, the practice of yoga is in reality an exploration of consciousness and this has been indicated from some of the earliest records in Indian thought, particularly in the Upaniṣads and continues almost up to the present in Indian texts.
Norman Sjoman: Everyone who practices āsanas seriously has experienced the resolution of an emotional complex connected with a physical or anatomical release or access to movement and vice versa. I have spoke about that in detail in Dead Birds. Indeed, ‘attitude’ is often ultimately more important in the accomplishment of movement than physical preparation. Physical preparation tends to remain in a part of consciousness that is limited by a certain anatomical logic that might give some mechanical access in movement. Anatomy can be considered an ocean but it has boundaries. Emotion gives access to possibilities. In Indian terms, that word can be covered by the word ‘heart’. That adds a different perspective.
Priya Thomas: When did you first get interested in yoga?
Norman Sjoman: I began trying to work with Yoga in Sweden from a book. I heard the word Sanskrit there as well and, when I heard it, I knew that I would study that and began to do so. I did not even know it was an Indian language then. I have felt that the two complement one another. After all, they are both about concentration.
Priya Thomas: What book did you find that guided you to practice yoga in Sweden?
Norman Sjoman: I have always been interested in art even as a child. Now, I like to have a number of things in front of me. I dabble with them. With good fortune, one of them will take me and then I work on that exclusively until I am finished. Then I hang around and wait for something else to take me.
|"Language Mandala," mixed media on canvas/paper, Norman Sjoman|
Norman Sjoman: What more is there to say than above? Wallace Stevens has spoken eloquently in this excerpt of “The Man with the Blue Guitar:”
The Man With the Blue GuitarI.
The man bent over his guitar, A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.
They said, “You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are.”
The man replied, “Things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar.”
And they said then, “But play, you must, A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar Of things exactly as they are.”
I cannot bring a world quite round, Although I patch it as I can.
I sing a hero’s head, large eye And bearded bronze, but not a man,
Although I patch him as I can And reach through him almost to man.
If to serenade almost to man Is to miss, by that, things as they are,
Say that it is the serenade Of a man that plays a blue guitar.
Ah, but to play man number one, To drive the dagger in his heart,
To lay his brain upon the board And pick the acrid colors out,
To nail his thought across the door, Its wings spread wide to rain and snow,
To strike his living hi and ho, To tick it, tock it, turn it true,
To bang it from a savage blue, Jangling the metal of the strings…
So that’s life, then: things are they are? It picks its way on the blue guitar.
A million people on one string? And all their manner in the thing,
And all their manner, right and wrong, And all their manner, weak and strong?
And that’s life, then: things as they are, This buzzing of the blue guitar.
Do not speak to us of the greatness of poetry, Of the torches wisping in the underground,
Of the structure of vaults upon a point of light. There are no shadows in our sun,
Day is desire and night is sleep. There are no shadows anywhere.
The earth, for us, is flat and bare. There are no shadows. Poetry
Exceeding music must take the place Of empty heaven and its hymns,
Ourselves in poetry must take their place, Even in the chattering of your guitar.
A tune beyond us as we are, Yet nothing changed by the blue guitar;
Ourselves in the tune as if in space, Yet nothing changed, except the place
Of things as they are and only the place As you play them, on the blue guitar,
Placed so, beyond the compass of change, Perceived in a final atmosphere;
For a moment final, in the way The thinking of art seems final when
The thinking of god is smoky dew. The tune is space. The blue guitar
Becomes the place of things as they are, A composing of senses of the guitar.
|"Rudra Whispers," original mixed media on canvas, Norman Sjoman|
|"Tree of Life," original mixed media on canvas, Norman Sjoman|