Total Yoga DVD Brings Flashback of James Turrell’s “Perceptual Cell”

Finding myself with an afternoon hour to spare between work and class, I decided to crack open my favorite yoga DVD, by my gurus, Tracy Rich and Ganga White of White Lotus. Though I hadn’t followed the Total Yoga: The Flow Series “Fire” practice in quite some time, the DVD is one I’ve gravitated toward since I started doing it about seven years ago.

I laid out my yoga mat in my sunny living room, and as I immersed myself in the practice, I remembered how much the sequence anticipates just the stretch or energizing burst the body unconsciously craves. My breath guided my movements, turning my focus to my engaged muscles, which burned with a newfound strength.


The view at sunset, to give some afterimage inspiration.

Outside the broad, corner window of my apartment, palm fronds twirled like pin wheels above the white-capped Pacific Ocean. I closed my eyes on the blustering spring day and deepened into my breath and body. Still, the deluge of sunlight anointed me, melting into rainbow pools of oil that expanded and collapsed in the colorful darkness behind my eyelids. As I went through the length of the DVD, and especially in the final S(h)avasana, I was jolted to a flashback of James Turrell‘s Perceptual Cell.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of laying submerged in the artist’s white spherical chamber, observing a 12-minute, high-intensity light saturation parade. The result was akin to what I experienced in my Savasana–or the dance of maroon and emerald afterimages one sees when one closes one’s eyes after staring at the sun–except during the Turrell exhibition, I my eyes were open. Terrell’s light patterns bathed me in an almost supernatural light, leaving me to gawk at the silhouette of my hands, and move through a few supine yoga postures.

If you can’t get to Perceptual Cell at LACMA before it closes on April 6, 2014, or even if you can, try this DVD and experience the awesome potential of Savasana and an invigorating yoga practice.*

*Thanks to the Hyundai Project, Perceptual Cell, along with Robert Irwin’s Miracle Mile (2013), are permanently on view.


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