8 Limbs is partnering with City Arts Magazine to profile local artists who practice yoga at 8 Limbs. For the June issue, we profile Stokley Towles, a performance artist and writer. Stokley is an artist whose work focuses on the relationship of people to their daily working and living environments, be it the dynamic world of police officers on the street, how patrons interact with the public library, or the seemingly mundane environment of a municipal water system. In each case he researches to understand this relationship and presents stories and images that reveal these otherwise hidden worlds.

What brought you to yoga?
I had a back injury and realized I needed to be more conscious of
stretching.

How long have you practiced yoga?
4.5 years

How does yoga support your art?
This is a hard question to answer. What comes to mind is taking class after
class and hearing “root your feet to the ground” or “the feet are the foundation” and trying to root but not quite knowing if it was happening. After practicing for two years I was doing my Waterlines performance (July 2009) and standing in front of the audience when I realized that my feet were firmly on the ground. I wasn’t flighty from nervousness or shifting back and forth out of bad habit. My feet were solid. I went to class the next day and told the teacher, exited that I finally understood “rooted.”
This is a small but significant example of how yoga has helped me settle more into my body and be more aware of my movement/stillness/breathing all of which helps me when I am standing in front of people and need to be focused and present. In general my work is about being present–conducting interviews with the sewer workers and actively listening to their stories or turning those stories into a performance in front of an audience
As a writer I spend too many hours wrestling with words on a computer screen, stress gathering in my shoulders. Yoga practice dampens this nonstop chatter in my head and allows my body to move. It teaches me to stand firmly on the ground, mind relaxed and ready to tell my story.

Why practice at 8 Limbs?
I love the teachers, particularly Douglas and Andreas and Maygen when
she was there. I love the space, the windows, the light.

Favorite yoga teaching?
I guess my favorite teachings come in the level 3 flow classes where we work on physical strength and a deeper understanding of the practice, breathing, body, mind, presence.

Posted by: 8 Limbs Yoga Centers

Neighborhood Studios