We had anticipated this day for a long time. Planning and sending messages between Canada and Costa Rica in the attempt to put on a special Yoga and Art workshop in the last weekend of July. Planning for workshops offer many challenges as you have to consider a theme and then employ techniques to make sure your day is a success. It takes mental planning and physical planning as well as continuous asking of the public to attend your event in the hope that there will be enough people to make the day or a success. We almost had to cancel our worship as numbers were low but we were determined to push forward and teach even if we only had one person attend on the day.
We were very fortune to have ten people signed up by the day of the event and felt very excited to put our hard work into action. What we intended to have was an hour and a half vinyasa style yoga class that focus on inward reflection led by Yogi Jessica Perez, garden nibbles from the beautiful yard of Toni Dunne and finally and hour and a half of outward expression taught in an art journaling workshop by myself Suzanna Weimer. By getting people to focus on their inner energies and feelings and getting these moving throughout the yoga flow the idea was to the pour from the body the stored energies and emotions that had risen to the surface of the body throughout the practice into the Art Journal.
I really believe that art is an amazing form of therapy and self expression and you don’t always have to make art for other people but rather its most therapeutic aspect lies in the creating for yourself, be it just marks or words or bigger bolder drawings and designs. I believe that art is the setting free of thoughts, energies and emotions, from the body and onto paper. Art journaling to me became the perfect way for me to art in a personal manner and also a way I could play with and grow ideas from. Then taking it forward onto another medium if I felt the idea was worth exploring more and something I could put out into the public eye. Creating for society is hard because there is always this pressure of trying to imagine what it is that someone else would want. And while this is great it also takes value from making just for the Self. Just for the part of us that yearns to be set free; just for us. In the exact way the body wants to be expressed, not some predisposed idea of what it is society may fancy.
Obviously you need both aspects if you wish to be a successful artist in the sense of selling your art to the public and making money. But this doesn’t mean you aren’t successful as an artist just because you only create work for yourself and never sell it or show it to the public. I believe that being a successful artist is simply being able to put mark on paper in a way of freeing a part of the mind or the soul. Some people are just word artists and we know these people as poets or writers. They still get that outlet of expression where they free from the body built up ideas just as one also does if they throw clay, create food with passion or knit that particular blanket in those particular colours. These are many ways of setting inner expression outward into the world and it is a beautiful part about being human.
Art journaling is special in that it allows you to try many art forms in one space. Watercolour, acrylic, crayon, markers, foil, collage, poetry. You name it and you can probably draw, staple or draw it into a book. Art journals can be new journals, purchased journals or hand made journals. I chose to use my sewing machine to individually stitch some heavy card stock together for the workshop because of the price and also the tactile element it gives of being hand made. I also really like to repurpose olds books from around the house or found in thrift stores and am currently working on one by Walt Whitman which means I have been able to incorporate many of his words in my journal spreads.
The food in-between was exquisite and consisted of array of goodies picked from Tonis gorgeous spherical garden. The Dog House always has the most welcoming and tranquil vibe about it. The studio space being valued by the local yogi as it offers something more authentic than the average westernized studio and offers more elaborate teachings if you want to learn more about yogic tradition. The Dog house is a beautiful place for both Women and Men to practice yoga and is known to bring in an array of amazing teachers from around the country to share their knowledge.
The practice taught by Jes Perez was both dynamic and nourishing, centering around expanding the space of the heart to allow for inward flow and reflection of the inner state. Jessicas class often offers a lot of body awareness and movement and her philosophy centres around the body, being and movement. Jessica believes that if one can tune into their body and find a few physical outlets of movement be it yoga, boot camp or dance, that one can generate health from the inner attention one gives to the body.
Yoga has become a very westernized term and it can often be misunderstood in its entirety. Yoga is essentially something we can all practice in our own homes every day just by being present with our Self and tuning in to the very breath that gives us life. Yoga is essentially the connecting of body to mind, of mind to soul, of soul to Self and it doesn’t need downward dog or eagle pose to offer benefits to the body but rather it just needs awareness. Awareness that breath is present in the body and if the mind can focus on the breath it is very difficult for the mind to focus on anything else. Thus the practice of yoga is essentially as simple as “control of the breath” and “freeing of the mind”.
There is something special about putting on a workshop that combines different elements because it means that everyone is learning something new during the experience and there are more people that feel out of their comfort zone at some stage during the practice. Which makes it relatable and fun!
Putting on special workshops like this means people can teach along side another in a symbiotic relationship, offering skill sets that are enhanced by the talents of another. Turn inwards, Reflect outwards was exactly this and the day was an amazing success. Not only were the students eager to learn but they were all amazing artists and I really hope they were able to take home their little journals and incorporate a little more art into their lives.