Decolonisation of the Western Body
Liz Koch comes from an academic background as a teacher of sculpture. However, her speciality in this is the spacial element of sculpture. One day she happened upon a yoga class and realised this was what was actually being denied in the dissemination of yoga. The space for one’s own experience of being, outside notions of alignment focussing on the rigid column of the spine.
Soon after Liz was asked to writing for yoga journal, and these articles ended up turning into the book Core Awareness. This was really the first serious discussion of the psoas, published in the 90s when hardly anyone had heard of it. We covered this in our 1st podcast together, episode 59.
More recently, Liz has released Stalking Wild Psoas. This is by way of an answer to the mistaken attempts in the yoga world after helped bring the psoas into general awareness here. Liz feels the yoga students are busy again dominating, essentially re-colonising their bodies.
Here we spread out from the physical body. We look at our attitudes to our own individuation to our socio-economic attitudes to the world, and others in it. Having reduced our own experience of ourselves to something we can isolate, know, control and often comodotise.
This is why I really wanted to do a second session with Liz as the implications of her work on the psoas go deeper than the body. In embodying ourselves in this more visceral, non-linear manner, we notice the kind of narrative of repression and restraint we – generally in the West – have been living under.
I found our talk highly inspiring. There is no time when we might not better look for other perspectives – non colonial established and patriarchal narratives on our own experience than now!