Rituals inspire and motivate us, they bond us and help us form community. The objects within Modern Rituals: The Art of Living have been inspired by rituals big and small; some are deeply personal while others are subtle actions incorporated into daily life.
Someone whose practice has captured our hearts and minds this year is Sydney-based sculptor Carol Crawford. Her alabaster pieces are outstanding; the fluidity she creates and the way the light travels through the stone, are pure magic.
Here, Carol gives us an insight into how Iyengar yoga informs her practice, and enriches her everyday life.
1) Tell us about a ritual that is part of your daily life – be it connected to society, community or self.
My ritual and sacred space is connected to my practice of Iyengar yoga, and the influence it has on my sculptural practice and my life in many subtle ways. It is my quiet time, my time to put everything aside and focus on the physical body. I don’t see myself as a ‘social’ person’ – yoga is my time to connect with self.
2) What does this ritual mean to you?
I have practiced yoga on and off for many decades (when I was a child I practiced yoga with my parents who had a hatha yoga teacher come to their home in the late 1960s before it became ‘fashionable’). When I returned to yoga about 6 years ago, I may have done it for the physical reasons and to aid the wear and tear on the body from sculpting and daily living. Iyengar yoga tends to ‘recalibrate’ my body after long hours spent chiselling and filing my stone sculptures.
But over time I have found that yoga enriches my life in many more ways. Iyengar yoga is a spiritual and mind practice that makes everything else disappear from your mind during the time you are focused on your practice. My ‘sacred space’ is inside my mind – it is not a physical place!
When I see my teacher in twisted poses, with limbs and body parts interlocking and twisting or stretching, I am inspired to create my interpretations of this in stone form.
I am forever the dreamer, and although I do try not to let my mind drift during my practice, sometimes it does, and what results can reappear in my anthropomorphic sculpted forms.
I am very fortunate to have one of the best yoga schools very close to my sculpture studio in Surry Hills, Sydney called the Central Yoga School. James, its founder, is one of the most highly qualified Iyengar yoga teachers in the country. He is very good at keeping my mind (and as much of my body as possible) on track, during the classes I attend.