From Interoception to Performance and Back Again: The Trauma-Sensitive Turn
The early 20th century saw a colonial and technological shift to visual media as a primary pedagogical tool, and this changed everything. Demonstration and performance quickly began to dominate the teaching of physical yoga — and the bodies doing it. Photography became a means of isolating, cataloguing and commodifying postures for mass consumption.
Every citizen of Instagram knows all about how this can feel, whether good or bad. Or — how it doesn’t feel like anything, because visual epistemology overrides interoception.
However: old ways are coming back through new (but also old) ideas. “How do these postures feel?” — is once again becoming the dominant question, along with: “Is this functional, or is it aesthetic?” and: “Can I do yoga as though no one is watching?” The trauma-sensitive movement caps it all off by asking us all to consider yoga as a means for healing and restoring internal agency. Things these days seem to be looking up — or in.
Matthew Remski is a yoga teacher, industry consultant, and author of nine previous books, including reads of Yoga: A Remix of Patanjali’s Sutras, with commentary and reverie. As the survivor of two cults, his work has been pivotal in illuminating the shadows of globalized yoga and Buddhism, and showing that disillusionment and critical inquiry can be gateways to mature spirituality. He facilitates modules in philosophy, history, culture and community health in yoga teacher training programmes internationally. He lives in Toronto with his partner and their two children. matthewremski.com