Interview with Darren Rhodes
I'm taking a break from sequence requests to post an interview with the incredible teacher and devoted yogi, Darren Rhodes. I first became familiar with Darren's work when I was practicing Ashtanga Yoga and saw a poster (mentioned in the interview) of Darren in various asana. It was inspiring (although definitely a bit intimidating, too). Darren continues to inspire with his new project, the Yoga Resource Practice Manual.
As per my usual interview format, I asked Darren three questions over email. The responses are directly copied below.
|Headshot by milostudios.org|
1. Your newly released book, the Yoga Resource Practice Manual, will include over 400 photos, instructions for 360 poses, reference material as well as personal anecdotes a lot! What sparked you to create this resource and who do you envision utilizing it?
The photos came first. In 2006 we did the initial photo shoot for the Penchant for Practice poster. Although students benefited from seeing and even studying these forms they often requested alignment instructions. The postures themselves are like the what. The alignment instructions offer the how. And, the personal anecdotes often indicate the why (at least the why for me). The anecdotes also make the book feel more personal. Otherwise I feel like Yoga Resource would have been too technical and tough to read.
2. Dharma Mittra, who has also famously provided photographs of hundreds of yoga postures, has discussed his challenges with removing the ego from the asana. Did you find yourself grappling with that same issue during the photography sessions?
Removing the ego from the asana is an interesting perspective. My aim has always been this: may students see the pose, not the person. I don't want someone to see Darren Rhodes in Triangle pose. I just want them to see triangle pose. So, I guess that's similar to wanting to remove the ego from the asana. The way my ego shows up is in feeling like the pose could have been better. Show me any pose in Yoga Resource and in under 5 seconds I can tell you 5 things I'd like to change. Milo, the photographer and graphic designer, is the same way. When he looks at the photographs he sees how it could have shot it better. I think that's just how it goes. The positive side of seeing the imperfection is that it pushes us in the direction of perfection. For example, we have reshot most of the initial photographs taken in 2006. So, this ongoing project has pushed me to progress my practice like nothing else. That said, I don't recommend that students strive towards a picture perfect practice. I recommend that in practice students approximate these forms. That's what I do when I personally practice. These poses are guides not goals. And if they are goals, they are goals without destination.
3. I like to ask my interviewees the same final question. What upcoming projects are you excited about? What is inspiring you these days?
My passion is yogahour which is an effective, affordable, and expertly taught flow practice. I'm currently finishing up the yogahour teacher training manual. In 2014 I will be teaching yogahour teacher trainings throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. These days I see myself like an athlete that becomes a coach and finds that she or he is more inspired about coaching than they ever were being an athlete. In other words, I'm finding that teaching yogahour is more fulfilling to me than my practice (my practice mainly benefits me whereas teaching benefits many people). And, teaching keeps me in the game (on the mat). I'm inspired to practice each day because it gives me insight into how to better teach this practice to others.
The ebook of the Yoga Resource Practice Manual is available for iPad or iPhone here, for Kindle or Kindle Fire here, and for all computers here. You can also take a quick look inside the book with these videos: http://youtu.be/
DFjbDY3Av2M (for Computers) or http://youtu.be/DFjbDY3Av2M (for iPads). Much gratitude to Darren for the interview, and to you all for reading!