Imagine this scenario: you’re finally getting to sit in your creative space, ready to begin a new piece. You’ve got the materials out, your mind is jumping with ideas, and your loved ones have promised to leave you alone for the next few hours.
Unfortunately, even in this ideal setting, thoughts and worries creep in—you forgot to pay a bill, you missed the dog’s medicine, you’re pretty sure your teenager is hopping online instead of doing her homework. . .
Does this sound familiar?
Even artists with discipline and a regular painting routine might find themselves stuck with a brush in hand, wishing for a quiet mind and an easier pathway to that wonderful state of “flow.” One possible solution for this problem lies in the practice of uniting body and mind through restorative yoga.
Even if you’re not a fan of exercise, restorative yoga can work wonders. It differs from traditional yoga in that the focus is on holding just a few poses (most of them quite comfortable) and visualizing something, rather than completing a physical workout.
In a restorative yoga class, you might find yourself lying down with your eyes closed, supported by folded blankets and listening to soft music. During your session, the instructor will guide you through a visualization or two and instruct you in deep breathing, which allows oxygen to circulate through your body and increases the flow of blood to your brain (an important tool for artists!)
As an artist, you’ll appreciate the power you possess to let your visual mind take you to a different place, where the anxieties, stresses, and distractions of daily life are temporarily banished.
During your restorative yoga session, you’ll also be asked to acknowledge your thoughts before releasing them. This can be a powerful practice for artists, who often struggle with silencing the voice of criticism that plays in their minds as they work.
And you can do this at home too. . . just add a few minutes of deep, relaxed breathing before your painting warmup exercises. Consciously acknowledge and release your worries as you breathe out, and you’ll find yourself slipping much more quickly into your artist skin—finally able to enjoy the flow of creativity that comes from a relaxed and focused mind.
All of us occasionally get so caught up in the development of our skills, knowledge of materials, and the need to create (especially when we’re financially dependent on our artwork) that it’s easy to forget the role the physical body plays in the creative process.
So make sure to schedule a bit of time this week to unite your body and mind. Trust me, you’ll find yourself functioning better and truly getting the MOST out of the time you spend on your creative endeavors.
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