Edward Clarke Tripsichore

#74 – Keen on Yoga Podcast with Edward Clark

Edward Clark Creator of Tripsichore

Tripsichore is he London-based yoga performance group that has delighted audiences around the world. The performance company was created to explore the possibilities of a form of theatre that would celebrate yoga philosophy and extraordinary physical prowess. Edward began studying yoga in 1978. Narayani and Giris Rabinovitch are notable among his teachers, but he also admires Ashtanga vinyasa, Sivananda, Iyengar, and viniyoga practices. The Tripsichore group has practised daily for the past 20 years. Constantly devising and refining its techniques for asana, pranayama, pratayahara, dharana, and dhyana. Edward fuses his keen artistic vision with a deep understanding of the essential pursuit of yoga practice.

Vinyasa Applied to Yoga Philosophy

Edward says, “The concept of vinyasa as applied to yoga philosophy could either be considered very ancient or radically new. In either case, vinyasa seems to be one of the great contributions to yoga of this particular generation of yogis. VINYASA in our definition, is the evenly metered flow of movement, breath and thought. This resulting in a smooth, uninflected state of being. The vinyasa techniques are pursued to bring about clarity and stability to one’s thoughts and actions. Tripsichore endeavours to do this in class and onstage. Most yoga discipline has worked on refining one’s self in the direction of greater stillness – an absence of movement in the mind and body. Superficially, vinyasa would seem to contradict this. However, the mental focus and physical technique needed to bring about continuous fluid movement can also bring one to a “seat” of great stability and clarity. The stability is not only in the posture. It is in addition in the transition between postures – to the point where there is no distinction between movement and stillness.

Yoga Choreography

Tripsichore began in 1979 as a company devoted to creating full length dance narratives.  They explored a variety of stylistic forms including punk ballet, conventional modern dance and strict neo-classical technique.  They used masks, performed with rock bands and did pop videos.  While yoga was always a part of their training, it wasn’t until 1992 that they realised the expressive potential and choreographic viability of yoga postures.  Once they began to devise works using yoga asanas, their extraordinary artistic logic became evident.  Surprisingly, it would seem that there has been no orthodox tradition for using yoga technique to create dances in the 5000 year history of the discipline.  The postures are the ideal vehicle to express the themes of harmony, balance, spirituality, ecstasy, bliss and mysticism because they are exactly about these subjects in and of themselves. 

See more about Edward and Tripsichore on the website here.