“Hey, I’m an artist!” That is how I used to address myself back then, but now with the beautiful start of this yoga journey, I started realizing that this is just an ordinary identity and can be elevated to an extraordinary level with the help of yoga. The amount of satisfaction gained whenever a sadhana is achieved in an asana, is always equivalent or beyond the amount of satisfaction and peace of mind obtained after a piece of canvas had done painted. There are not much difference between art and yoga. Since art is transforming a plain white paper or canvas or cloth into an amazingly beautiful portrait while yoga as well is a transformation of a human functioning at bare minimal to someone who can move beyond their habitual way in the form they think, breath, move, and talk.
Yoga is not always all about stretching, flexibility and balance, but it is about the unity of countless philosophical, spiritual, and physical practices. It symbolizes the amalgamation of body and mind. Just like that, when an artist is sketching or painting, he or she puts the heart and soul into it. Thus, the outcome is way beautiful than that had been imagined in the mind earlier. An artist is already born talented, and the skills or abilities get even more empowered through the activation of brain by yoga, pranayama and spiritual seeking or practices. A daily practitioner experiences a charged body and mind through the energy flowing along the spine to crown where all the memories of past experience are being carried along. This helps to activate an artist’s manipura chakra and they can maximize the usage of their gifted talents and skills. We, artist tend to become more dynamic and creative through unification of brain parts and new connectivity created through yoga.
On the other side, the artistic side of us can be felt or realized easily but in order to reach the creativity within us, it is strenuous. One should possess stillness and presence in order to bring out their creativity, but we human get distracted easily by self-absorption and racing thoughts. Asana, pranayama and meditation are the gifts to let go of those diversions. Yogic painters now able to explore into different shapes, colors, brands, textures, tools, and styles in order to provide a best artwork. Just like “Right action on the mat brings right action off the mat” (Master SK Durai), artist start being more mindfully observant about their surroundings to be detailed on their art pieces as well. Combining art and yoga therapy helps with anxiety, negative thoughts and depressions as well. One’s personal mental and physical health is aided with the help of yoga due to its integration with our body and mind in the form of dynamic motion.
Yet, having a creative mind is not always a bed of roses. An artist is able manage the highs and lows of creativity flowing mind by only just observing and experiencing the beauty of natural gift and not by struggling with them. We would not be analyzing right or wrong and judging about our ideas because we gain mindfulness through meditation and practices. Being mindful helps one to be stress-free, 24/7 happy and think divergently. It enhances our innovative thinking skills and squeezes new ideas by removing the emotional fogs like maya (illusion), ahamkara (individuality or ego), and buthi (wealth) that blocking the sitham (light or wisdom) from our mind to be visible and allow us to be more creatively energetic. Yoga helps an artist to stay focused and balanced when handling the paint brush while innumerable thoughts and ideas are rising amid an art project. With the practice of yoga, we gain self-realization about who we are, and we tend to become a vivid thinker and our true potentiality will be out awakening.
Any artwork takes hours to complete. Soon or later, doing something for a prolonged period causes discomfort in body parts and the process of creativity gets interrupted as well. This is where the beautiful role of yoga practices comes. It improves an artist’s strength at their hand; wrist and fingers to hold paint brush for a longer time and back muscle to remain seated till get the painting done plus enhances flexibility to stroke the brushes gracefully as well. Mainly, a few yoga postures help painters like Marjariyasana (cat pose) for wrist strength and flexibility, Balasana (child’s pose) to relieve tiredness after stressful painting orders, and Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose) to release prolonged hip and neck tensions and Uttanasana (forward fold) to release tension at lower extremities and to reverse blood flow so that the creativity is boosted up even more.
To conclude, once we start being mindful and devoted in order to approach creativity, we will start making artwork also in spiritual way. Every artist has to find a practice that suits them, and I am extremely glad and thankful that I chose this practice of yoga. Namaskaaram.
By Anusha A/P Mohan