Allison Ray Jeraci
This is a great place to add a tagline.
When I'm not teaching yoga, I create mosaics on basically anything I can get my hands on. I’m by no means an expert at mosaic artistry, but I really enjoy it. I made my first mosaic when I was eight and I returned to it twenty-two years later. And I have to admit that I’ve been quite smitten with the practice ever since I came back to it.
I find it curious that I would be so magnetically drawn to such an art considering I didn’t have any exposure to this art form prior to the age of eight. One day, out of the blue, it occurred to me that I wanted to tile objects. For me, the act of creating the tile art was only part of it. I also needed to understand why I connected so strongly to this particular creative process.
The first realization that I made was that I find joy in taking all of the shattered pieces and making them belong. There is powerful meaning to belonging. Everyone wants to have a place that feels comfortable and right; even if we don’t know where or with who, we all have an innate desire to belong.
The second realization as to why I connect so strongly to the tile art has to do with the practice of revolving the tiles. I work on purposefully laying each tile down so that every individual piece comes together with every other piece to create a unique and beautiful whole. At the beginning of each mosaic project that I work on there are thousands of individual pieces. At the end of the project each differently shaped piece has been flipped, strategically oriented, and grouted together to create a unique masterpiece (using that term liberally about my mosaics). The beauty here is in this coming together of all these different pieces in one harmonious place - does it get more yogic than that?
To be honest though, my absolute favorite discovery thus far has been the realization that I am taking what seems to be shattered, broken, meaningless, and useless and reconfiguring it into something extraordinary. All of the unique pieces that seem unusable are coming together to form something conceived with love, patience, and care. I find a lot of meaning in this process that is unpredictable, creative, and transcends binary definitions like good and bad, right and wrong, and so forth.
To me, the act of creating mosaics from tiles reflects my journey through yoga and life. Creating the mosaics is like taking the social labels, the hurt, the misfits, the shattered bits of life and turning all of these pieces into something remarkable. I look at asana the same way. I look at the pieces (shoulder flexion, hip extension, etc.) and ask myself what would happen if I turn the body in space? What happens when I add a prop? And then what happens when I start to glue those pieces together making connections between the actions and the asanas, revolving them in space? Eventually, I get to a point where I grout all this information together with different variations so that all the pieces flow naturally. Finally, I carefully polish the poses with practice because each pose is comprised of tiles organized in a unique way. Each unique combination of poses may lead us in different directions, but ultimately creates a sense of curiosity and exploration about the way that we fit all the pieces of ourselves together.