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The Breathing Field: Meditations on Yoga    by Wyatt Townley & Eric Dinyer order for
Breathing Field
by Wyatt Townley
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2002 (2002)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This little volume is a work of art, a synergy of poems by Wyatt Townley and images by Eric Dinyer that convey similar impressions to both sides of the brain. In the preface, the author makes clear that this is not a book about yoga poses, 'but about the yogic experience translated into verbal and visual realms.' Its intent is to facilitate the spiritual journey 'from outer to inner'.

Poetry and art make a potent combination. I have seen it before in old Chinese scroll paintings, but The Breathing Field carries it further into poetic and visual expressions of a set of experiences. These would presumably be familiar to the serious yoga practitioner, though many images communicate clearly to a novice, such as ...

'When it hurts, crawl like the sea
turtle to where you began
Feel the tide turn back to shore.
Ride it in.

One combination that especially appealed to me was the poem 'How to get tall' beside an image of a strong tree in a forest, a woman's body barely visible in its trunk ...

'Inhale, drinking the wind
deep into the trunk. This
is an art. Breathe out
through cobwebs and vines.

This unique book makes a beautiful gift for anyone interested in the spiritual side of yoga, in poetry and in art. It's one to pick up and re-read at meditative moments. As the introduction reminds us, 'Inhale and turn the page.'

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