Last month I was invited by Sweaty Betty St Albans to "perform" some yoga in their shop window to celebrate the new opening of their store. With a history in performance and site-specific dance (where you make and perform a dance for a specific place) I felt in my element. My only inner conflict with the activity was that yoga wasn't something that I innately felt should be "performed". The joys of a yoga self-practice are that you can do it outside of the judging eyes of others and you can come to practice to matter how you feel: tired or mighty, excited or sad. Yet, in an effort to "perform" yoga there was a sense of "the show must go on" and in this capacity all emotions and any lethargy must be put to one side in order to "put on the best show".
It was market day and my audience of passers-by paused from their shopping to to watch my yoga performance from time to time. It was interesting to observe what effect an audience had on my practice. I was comforted by the use of dristi (looking points) that are set in the Ashtanga yoga primary series. Each posture has a designated place to look and this adds focus to the practice. I was also comforted by my breath. Even though Christmas music was being pumped into the store by the speakers above me I still found that I could hone my attention to my breath and places of looking (dristi). As a result, the practice I did that day as a 'performance' of my Ashtanga yoga practice was a very memorable and pleasurable experience -- even a welcome change from the quiet of my usual place of practice.