“To perform every action artfully is yoga.” - Swami Kripalu
Creativity comes in infinite forms. It requires acute curiosity and a willingness to take risks, to think outside the box, and find ways to express and adorn, to nurture and grow our abilities. The creative process contains the same elements it takes to sustain a steady yoga practice. Creative energy stirs passion and brings fluidity to the mind.
A R T C O N N E C T S U S
It is found influencing every society, culture and religion throughout the ages, held sacred, depicting the lives and imaginations of humanity – the common denominator for all people and societies. Dance, sculpture, paintings, drawings, street art installations, written word and music. Imagine a world without these? Impossible. Creativity and art cannot be stifled, even in the most bleak and dire of circumstance. Humanity always finds a way to create and bring art to life.
Image by @hannahadamaszek
In physical yoga, art is expressed through fluid, curious movement and acutely refined postures in sustained practice; the pose is the art, the yogi is the canvas. In daily life it is the presence and connection with each moment (whether a time of pleasure or discomfort) that is required to flow and adapt to our ever-changing human experience. This is living artfully.
We see countless photos of beautiful yogis expressing beautiful asanas in epic settings. Of course these are contrived, and intentionally created to inspire (or perhaps feed the ego - but thats a whole other topic) nevertheless they can serve a purpose as forms of art.
So what does it take to create a work of art and an artful living yoga practice?
Openness to possibilities
Willingness to let go of distractions
Time and focus
Concentrated energy and effort
Attention to detail
Acceptance and intimacy with change
Balance of discipline & ease of flow
The ability to weather ups & downs
Basically, if you pour every ounce of awareness, love and energy that you have into everything you do, you are living artfully. By paying attention to everything you do - with a softness and sense of gratitude for the chance to be able to do it - you can cultivate a fluid creative energy. This is the art of living yoga and the yoga of creating art. Creating space with each breath, and living, moving and being in that space.
Places to find creative opportunities in everyday living:
Cooking - one of life's greatest joys and art forms. Imagine putting all your love and energy into preparing a meal for yourself and loved ones. The act itself becomes a work of art.
Dance - fluid, releasing and energetically creative. Bust a move.
Learning a new craft or skill - pottery, weaving, knitting, painting - whatever sparks your interest and lights a little flame within you.
Organizing and decorating your living spaces - this is a great way to bring art into your life, finding little ways to make daily life a little more efficient and fun.
Writing or drawing in a journal - sometimes when you sit down with a pen and paper you have no idea what will come out. It's all good, it's all your life's work.
Sending a funny email or message to a friend - comedy and humor are the most joyful forms of art!
Gardening - Mother earth is the most beautiful and dynamic canvas you will ever have the opportunity to work with. Get dirty, get creative.
There is no end to creativity for an artist, and there is no end to practice for a yogi. Once you start, once you really start, you just can’t stop. You may leave asana practice for a period of time, or have less time in your day to day to dedicate to practicing yoga postures. But you can still practice yoga in each moment, by performing each action and approaching each situation from an open and aware place. Every moment and every breath we have is literally a new opportunity to cultivate artful experience.