January 10, 2013

Art and Yoga

I've been practicing yoga for about 13 or 14 years. And here's an un-yogini thing to say- I wish I had been practicing consistently for 13 or 14 years.  My MO has been to practice for a couple of years and then drift away due to injury or changes in my schedule and then I suddenly realize that it's been weeks or months or a year since I practiced, and I begin again, or I start running and then I drift away due to an injury or changes in my schedule and then I suddenly realize that it's been weeks or months and so forth and so on. It's a pattern I have had for about 14 years. On the bright side, I am consistent.

It's not exactly like starting from square one each time, but it's close. I lose flexibility, stamina, and lightness when I am away from my mat. The good news is that I have surprised myself by being able to do a pose that for years I thought was difficult or have no recollection of being able to do. Conversely, major breakthroughs like Bakasana and Tolansa are a distant memory, though I do remember feeling giddy. On a more positive spin, I've learned patience and my current philosophy is wherever you go, there you are. 

I tried a popular yoga studio when I first moved to town but it was insanely crowded and everyone was chatty and although I had lost about 3 months of practice while packing and moving across country during The Great Devastation of 2009-2010, it felt like 3 years as I made a feeble attempt to adjust, which means I didn't. I wasn't in the mood for chatty or crowds, and with only one tattoo, I felt oddly vanilla. After losing my balance in a headstand and practically collapsing through a second story window, I decided I wasn't ready to be social and I went back to running and a haphazard home practice that wasn't very much of a practice. Goals being goals, I decided to take a break from running and start off the new year with yoga again. Painting is a solitary activity. I am a solitary person. I thought I might be ready to interact with humans again. I found a new studio that looked less trendy.

I was a bit wary of the new yoga studio at first. An alignment class held poses for 15 seconds, (yes, I counted). The deep stretchy class seemed a bit too casual, and whenever I approached an instructor at the beginning of class asking if they did adjustments, they said not really. But here's the interesting part- I've learned some new supportive poses using props, which in the past I had dismissed as wimpy and I've learned to work my way into some poses from inside out instead of outside in (which in a way I liken to how I teach drawing- first by observing positive space, then observing negative space or contour, until finally you've settled into a reasonable representation of the thing you're drawing).

I'm on my way back to feeling the benefits of a consistent practice and bonus: I feel fabulous in my striped yoga pants I found on sale. Yes, gear is a good motivator. The secret is to keep up this momentum after next week which is when everything kicks into high gear. I'm scheduled to teach 3 classes this spring, I'm taking a few art trips between now and March, and I have applications in progress with January deadlines. I'm also curating a show, I'm in a couple of shows, and I need to plan some studio visits for when I'm out in LA. My life is full, not busy, but I remind myself that's it's good sometimes not to give too much of a flying fuck. The secret is to keep letting go of what's not contributing to the work and to keep investing in things that do contribute to my life as an artist. I love simplicity.

I'm on the 3rd painting of the new year.

Easy does it. Nasmaste, Bitches. 


Carla said...

Nasmaste, Bitches. - Ha! You really should be able to sell that as an ala carte movie title, with no further development on your part.

I've been experiencing waves of acceptance lately, which seem related to making calm choices of detachment from what were previously major piques.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Alas, I can't claim ownership of that phrase. It's been a T-shirt and coffee mug for some time now.

Enjoyed yesterday. Blog post a bit slow, but in the queue.