I have recently had the pleasure to visit a contemporary art exhibition in Vienna, whose main focus was the experience of alienation. I am by no means an art expert, therefore I am in no position to judge or comment on contemporary art, but among all the amazingly thought-provoking installations and artworks I witnessed, one struck me as particularly relevant to my own life and profession.
Crisis & Control by Burak Delier is a short video where the author and other professionals talk about their work, their struggle for success and the difficulties they met on the way while performing yoga poses in a totally alienated and surreal office environment.
Equalimity, concentration, and flexibility, the paradoxical ability of being “at one with oneself” while constantly going beyond one’s limits, are fundamental virtues of both yoga and neoliberism
The introduction to the video in the exhibition catalogue might seem like a provocation, but it actually succeeded in making me think about my relationship with yoga, and about my own struggle to find a seemingly elusive work-life balance.
Is yoga actually helping me, or is it just a palliative? Can relaxation and self-discovery really occur in everyday life, when it is hard to find the time to take my dog for a walk? How much of the responsibility to reach a balance in life lies on me, and how much of it lies on my employer, on our society, on our governments? Is it neoliberism’s victory to have convinced us our hapiness depends solely upon ourselves?
I find myself constantly torn between two opposite poles: trying to do my best at work, striving to improve and to prove my worth, and on the other hand trying to find peace and happiness in my daily life. Are these two opposites even reconciliable at all? And if not, which one should I choose?
This work of art definitely succeeded in making me question what I do and why I do it. It helped me think more deeply about my motivation for taking up such activities as yoga and meditation, and about whether I will ever be able to fully develop any of these aspects of my life while I try to pursue both — self-discovery and the performance principle.