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Yoga, Creativity, and the Art of Making Mistakes

As a yoga teacher, I consider myself a pretty creative person. I’m constantly designing, making, shifting, adapting. My body is the paint, my yoga mat the canvas. Sometimes my sequences are pretty black and white, other times I add a few splashes of red, and sometimes the whole class is one glorious sweep of colour. And sometimes – more often than not, admittedly – it feels like I have the equivalent of artist’s block. I can feel it, there, this amazing new sequence, bubbling underneath the surface, but I can’t access it. I don’t know why, and it’s frustrating as hell. So that’s when I dig into the “archives”, repeating the same things, the same paintings, the same colours from months ago.

(Cover Image by Alex Beattie)

Not very satisfying.

And then I came across this quote:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~ Scott Adams

This hit me hard. In a culture that doesn’t easily accept mistakes, where does that leave creative life? Having been brought up to be a perfectionist – when anything less than was considered not good enough – where did that leave my creative life? And as a yoga teacher, what did that mean for my classes and for my practice?

The short answer? It meant a complete overhaul of the way I approach my mat and my life.

When habits are ingrained almost from birth, they can be horrendously tough to break. My habit – my almost subconscious habit, by now – was to believe that I had to be perfect to be any good. Whatever I created had to be just so. If there was a line out of place, a glare on the photo, a hollow in the middle of the cake, a song that didn’t really fit in the playlist, or an asana that didn’t quite work in the sequence, it could put me out of joint for the rest of the day worrying and grumping about it.

But the result wasn’t the perfection that I craved. The result was that I became almost too scared to create anything.

To create, you have to let go. To create means to surrender to whatever comes up, and then try and express that as best you can in whatever way you can. It can be as terrifying as it is liberating. And most artists don’t actually have to share their work. If they don’t like it – if it’s one of those mistakes that they decide not to keep – the world never has to see it. But as a yoga teacher, you’re creating in the spotlight. Even the most carefully planned class has to have an element of spontaneity and surrender to circumstances. Going with the flow and being willing to make mistakes in front of a room full of students who are looking to you for guidance is a whole different ball game to painting in your living room, but I realised it had been striking the fear of God into me both on and off the mat. No one can create when they’re wound up and anxious.

Giving yourself permission to make mistakes isn’t an easy thing to do. Giving yourself permission to admit that you actually like those mistakes and want to keep them is even harder. It involves a huge amount of trust in yourself – not trusting that you won’t make a mistake, but trusting that when you do you’ll be able to adapt, be flexible, and flow with it. We are yogis, after all, and those tings are what yoga is supposed to teach us. Because without trust, without risk, without a bit of playfulness and imagination, and yes, without a few mistakes, even the most technically perfect asana sequence / painting / poem / cake (delete as appropriate) will be dry and a bit boring.

Mistakes are how we grow, and growth is, naturally, creation. And since Nature never worries if there’s a tree out of place, then why should we?

 

 

 

 

Ali is a yogini, writer, photographer, and professional day dreamer. When not on the mat, she can usually be found either with her nose in a book or planning the next adventure (or both).

http://www.purepranaayurveda.com/

The Yoga of Inspiration

Yoga is not an exercise. It is a philosophy. A way of living. Yoga includes exercise (asana), but to limit it to just this part of the practice would mean missing out on Lotus-Temple-Copy-508x640everything else it has to offer. It would be like sitting down to a fabulous five-course meal and eating only the appetizer. When you incorporate all of the yogic practices—such as breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana)—they work together to create not just a healthy physical body, but also healthy mental and emotional bodies. And it is from this steady and clear place that inspiration arises, the bud of creation.

Inspiration has two totally different definitions: 1) something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create, 2) the act of drawing in; specifically, the drawing of air into the lungs. But perhaps those meanings aren’t so different after all. Think about it. What do people say when someone is about to embark on a new adventure, or take on a big project, or make an important life decision? Take a deep breath! Meaning go forth, be brave, have faith to follow your heart, to be guided by your inspiration.

Inspiration springs from a well of creativity that resides deep inside all of us. Some idea, some passion arises from that murky depth, and when it has gained enough force, it Journey-to-Stillnessbegins to make itself known to us. At first it is just a whisper, like a tickle in the back of the mind. It can take some time before we even become aware of it. But once the thought bursts forth and becomes fully conscious, it starts growing like mad. At some point, it can no longer be contained in the mind, and it must blossom out into life, which it does through the channel of our creativity.

The yoga practices combined are a holistic methodology for bringing a person into a state of healthy equilibrium. This is our natural state—quiet, clear and peaceful. In this space, we hear the whisper of inspiration and are moved to create.

 

 

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Laura Golden is a yoga instructor, sailor, writer & wanderer at large. She has been practicing yoga for 25 years & teaching for 15 of those. She has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean three times & the Pacific once. Her travels inspire her writing.

Connect:

Lauren Golden Yoga

Artist Photos: Kelley Morris

Boundless Art Project

I met Alix several years ago thru mutual friends. She is one of those people that has a special charisma that beams with radiance. But just like all of us, Alix has endured thru much hardship and darkness. And it is the darkness that makes all of us alixwho we are and enables us to grow, rise, and shine! The stories we share about coming thru the darkness and into the light can help inspire us all and allow us to realize that we really are all connected.

Alix Tillett has battled Late Stage Chronic Lyme for ten years now. A disease that has infected her brain, heart, and spinal cord. She has suffered debilitating symptoms that come from Lyme: it has tampered with her eyesight, her memory, and her central nervous system. For three and a half years, she took 95 pills a day along with countless antibiotics… Today, she says, “I’m antibiotic free! It’s been one whole year away from that world.” How did she get to this point? In her words, “I fell in love. I fell in love with someone that gave me the confidence to throw all western medicine away…I needed that push. The antibiotics were killing me.” Since then, she has been treating Lyme with a strict holistic protocol. She has also been putting energy into several uplifting projects. Alix recently opened up what she calls her “happy place” an organic acai bowl shop in Wellfleet, Massachusetts; community that has healed her from the souls of the people to the beauty of the sea. She also has been pouring her heart into the Boundless Art Project. A non profit created by herself and one of her best friends. In this story we will learn more about the vision of Boundless Art. Thank you Alix for shining bright and sharing your light!

How did you find yoga?

 

Growing up I was very athletic. Always participating in sports that were so hard on my body – snowboarding, soccer, competitive gymnastics, etc. It was around the age of 16 I realized my body was starting to feel disconnected from what my brain wanted it to do. My lungs were not as strong, my bones ached, and my vertigo felt almost debilitating at times. All of this happened slowly…every year over the next ten years it would get a bit worse. Come to find out I had late stage Neurological Lyme Disease. The mystery of disconnect was solved. I had to change my way of thinking. It was no longer about needing to keep up with everyone but about really catering to what my body needed. This was when I found yoga. Yoga was good to me. It was gentle. It gave me my lungs back, warmed my bones, and calmed my mind.

 

What does living yoga mean to you?

 

Living Yoga. It’s a way of life…going far beyond just a class. For me, it is a daily practice of balance. To be balanced is to be calm. When I’m calm my illness is at bay and my body is at peace. Living with Lyme feels easier then…I gain more confidence and my confidence is what gives me the strength to get back on my mat. Living yoga is a yummy circle of life.

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Tell us about the Boundless Art Project and what motivated you to create it…

 

Boundless Art Project was dreamt up by my nearest and dearest soul sistah Vicki Thompson and myself. Over the years, Vicki and I have bonded over big dreams and daily struggles. Boundless brought clarity to us. It was a way of making sense of why I myself live with Lyme or why Vicki lives with Cystic Fibrosis. Boundless gave us the opportunity to share with the world what we believe to be our greatest healing gift. An outlet.

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The Boundless Art Project inspires those living with chronic illness. The initiative creates an environment that encourages playfulness, unleashes imagination, and opens the window for self-healing through artistic expression.

 

We compile innovative Creativity Bags for patients while they are in a hospital or homebound setting. These bags, filled with art materials and a yoga mat, facilitate a creative outlet—an essential aspect for successful long-term recovery.

 

Do you have any tips on how we can all use art and movement as a healthy tool in everyday life?

 

Yeah! Don’t think about it so much…Remove the thoughts that tell us we’re too sick to do this or not good enough to do that and just DO!

 

It’s amazing how the smallest acts can take you to far away places. Laying on your mat with your eyes closed, picking up a paintbrush, or swimming in the sea. Let your outlet set you free.

 

What are you most passionate about today?

 

LOVE.

 

What or who inspires you?

 

The stranger sitting next me who smiles while reading his book. He inspires me. The little boy outside who is playing with his shadow, he inspires me too. The playfulness and love that people have through out moments in their day…those moments are inspiring.

 

Vicki will laugh when she reads this but if you asked me to say one person … I’d say Vicki. She inspires me to wake up everyday and not emotionally wear my disease. She has taught me to consciously choose to leave it at home. My greatest lesson learned and practiced everyday.

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Artwork by Vicki Thompson

How can we get involved with the Boundless Art Project?

 

Share! Share! Share!

 

Sprinkle a little boundless love in someone’s life that you think needs it.

 

Recently, Boundless Art has started a blog where we write about pain, confusion, and inspiration…our mission is to create a community that gives a positive twist on a life long journey.

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Boundless is always open to new ideas, thoughts, collaborations, hospitals, or anything that you may think would benefit those in need. If we’ve sparked ideas in you please do share!

Any parting words of wisdom?

 

The mind has the ability to heal the body…all you have to do is EXPLORE!

 

 

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Boundless Art Project was born in 2014. A non-profit founded by Alix Tillett and Vicki Thompson, two best friends who have shared one of life’s biggest challenges; chronic illness. Boundless Art delivers the tools to the chronically ill to encourage artistic expression through accessing creativity and movement. The project offers Creativity Bags filled with the supplies to fulfill that cause and become a facet to educate and bring awareness around the therapeutic benefits of artistic expression.

CONNECT:

www.boundlessartproject.com

boundlessartproject@gmail.com

@boundlessartproject

 

 

Making It Up As We Go Along

Have you ever dreamed about living in a van down by the river? Here is a little inspiration to follow that dream. Meet Holly Gable. Holly, her boyfriend Angus, and their dog Jella are ‘Making It Up As We Go Along‘ while living, loving, and learning in their home-on-wheels. 

Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Where are you currently? What are you most passionate about today?

Currently we are in a small village outside of Berlin. It is very peaceful, we’re surrounded holly1by forest and beside a lake which every evening at dusk becomes a landing strip and party for hundreds of laughing, migrating geese. The recent news tells of killings all over the world, of horror and despair, accompanied by a myriad of hateful opinions and blame towards religion, race and borders. Today we’re trying to hold on to a passionate belief that there is much more love in this world than hate, to continue to cultivate the kindness and compassion that we know to be inherent within all of us.

How did you and Angus meet?

Angus and I met through a series of what seemed like bizarre, chance, same-place-at-the-same-time, happenings in South London, where we studied.:)

Tell us about your yoga journey and tips on keeping up personal practice while traveling.

My yoga journey begun with a simple determination to beat my family’s inflexibility holly4genes and to be able to touch my toes. This did not come easy, and for the first months I thought of yoga as an irritating discomfort that I tried to convince myself to avoid. But separate from the yoga, I had a lot of anxiety, which to me, seemed to be preventing me from leading the life I wanted to lead. As my yoga practice (very) gradually developed, between styles and teachers around London, my fingers got closer to my toes, but I also felt that my mind and body were more in tune, I was calmer and happier. Recognizing the difference in myself and witnessing how yoga was helping others, each on their individual and very different journeys, I decided to deepen my knowledge and to learn how to share it, completing a 200hr Teacher Training course at Arhanta Yoga Ashram in India.

That was in January, and since then we’ve been back on the road in our home-on-holly5wheels. Keeping up a personal practice while traveling has sometimes seemed hard, surrounded by uneven, muddy ground, only enough space in the van for a few seated postures… And sometimes easy, in homes, yurts, forest huts, fields, at river-sides, fire-sides and sea-sides. But the most important lesson I’ve learnt, is that rather than to feel disheartened at not finding space to do a sun salutation without hitting a wall or slipping face-first into a clay-pit, is to instead remind myself that to practice asana is to practice just a part of yoga; When yoga is recognized as a lifestyle, every moment becomes an opportunity for practicing.

How do you practice sustainable living while on the road?

We spend most of our time on work-exchange projects around Europe, exchanging our help for food and living space, and having wonderfully rich, fulfilling experiences in holly6different cultures, communities, natural building and self-sufficient living. We’re trying to discover ways of living that aren’t dominated by money and capitalism, where value is put upon gift and exchange to deepen inter-personal connection and equality. We create objects from recycled materials and waste plastic from the beach, which we sell online a pay-what-you-can-afford basis, and we forage as much food as we can from the wild, and supermarket bins!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Using the inspiration and skills we’ve gained from our journeys, we hope to build a home and to create a space, from natural and recycled materials: a space for sharing what we have learned, for yoga, for creativity, for living surrounded by nature, and hopefully for many other things we don’t yet know! We would like to put emphasis on providing for those with learning difficulties or disabilities and/or past trauma. After working at art workshops for individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities, we feel very strongly about the empowering benefits of creativity, and want to combine this with the quiet yet tremendous healing potential of yoga as a lifestyle.

What inspires you most?

Helping people! Maybe that sounds twee, but if we’re learning anything, it is that nothing feels more rewarding, fills us with more joy, and gives us a more determined sense of purpose, than helping someone or something. And that kindness is contagious.
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My name is Holly. I am a yoga teacher and an artist, living and travelling in a home-on-wheels with my boyfriend Angus and our dog Jella! After graduating with Art degrees in 2013, we moved out of our flat in London and traded the flat keys for a set of van keys, which we converted into our new home. We try to live simply, to explore, experience and to gain a greater connection with communities and the natural world. Choosing experiential chaos over steady 9-5s, living, learning and loving in a home-on-wheels. 

iamVibes

There is definitely a positive shift happening on this planet. We are seeing more and more people and businesses beginning to live and act with a deep awareness for our Mother Earth. Here in this talking story, we are fortunate enough to catch up with Tom Hardless, the Founder of the uplifting brand, iamVibes. iamVibes creates amazing and empowering yoga wear, promotes a healthy and conscious lifestyle & community, and inspires people to become the best versions of themselves. Thanks for inspiring Tom! 

 

Tell us about the vision at iamVibes…

 

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The vision at iamVibes is to project a creative frequency that inspires the Protection & Alignment of one’s Mind, Heart, Body and Spirit, in the hope that our followers and customers can be uplifted to create and inspire others. Further more, my sacred intention behind all I create is to uplift and bring light and healing to the female pain body.

How does your clothing embody “living yoga”?

To me, embodying yoga is about taking the blocks, struggles and strengths from your practice and seeing how they are mirrored in your every day life.  iamVibes serves as a symbolic reminder to remain present in your Yoga, day to day. Our Hamsa symbol we manifested holds such a powerful energy and aesthetic, we hope when it is worn or gazed upon it is like a remembering or affirmation to bring you back into a sacred state of being in all you do.

What do you do to help the planet/how can we all live a little bit more sustainable?

 

As a small brand it is always hard to be sustainable when starting out due to costs and margins but luckily within the realm of iamVibes we use Organic Cotton, Tencel &vibes4 Bamboo based fabrics on all the basics which are produced in Fair wear trade factories. To play my part in the healing of the female energy on the planet I also give £3 of every online purchase to EQUALITY NOW who are actively enhancing the rights for females internationally .

Personally, I am more sustainable within myself by adopting a fully plant based diet. You will be blown away by how much pollution, water waste and deforestation is coursed by the agriculture of animals. As a note, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Once I looked into this information it really made me realize driving an eco friendly car or wearing sustainable products was only a small part of the puzzle. To really make change we must adapt what we consume in a more conscious and sacred way.

 

How do you motivate positive change?

 

I motivate positive change through all my creative outlets and being vulnerable with my vibes2thoughts, feelings, emotions and perspective on life in all I do.
Within iamVibes, I make sure it is a hub of inspiration with the OUR SOCIETY PAGE as well as being as transparent as possible with my intentions. With the physical clothing, each piece I create acts as a “robe” of positivity you put on to shine brightly in the world.
To support this motivation further I also create music through IAMVIBES MUSIC, these are my physical vibrations I am putting out into the world which hope to open up hearts or simply help ones mind transcend to another place for just a moment.
Recently I have been diving into the world of Art and bringing canvas to life with my energy. Soon I hope I will be able to share this art and send it out to those who find inspiration, comfort and love within the pieces.
As a creative who creates only with light I believe it is my duty to share all I do from a humble place to inspire positive change.  IAMVIBES 🙂 & SO ARE YOU

Who or what inspires you?

Everyone always says LIFE is inspiring and I believe that to be a given but My inspiration is found inside life. Not the physical life we experience day to day but the FORCE behind life, the energy that drives it and manifests LIFE into being. The ripples of light and darkness that have be traveling before this life I am experiencing today. The visions, the thoughts and feelings I experience when diving into my self, and being open to seeing others really inspires me to be a sword of light amongst the choppy waters of life.

 

vibes1Tom Hardless is the Founder of iamVibes. The purpose of iamVibes is to be a beneficial presence on the planet. The greatest contribution is the message iamVibes delivers, which uplifts the hearts and minds of those touched by the brand. By promoting a healthy conscious lifestyle, as a fashionable pop-culture trend, iamVibes inspires society to strive towards becoming the best version of themselves. The symbol came first in a meditation and healing session. The business came later when Tom chose to use clothing as the medium to communicate his purpose. Every thread of IAM VIBES is infused with the intention to PROTECT, ALIGN, CREATE.iamvibes

http://www.iamvibes.co.uk/

iamVibes is offering the Yoga Trade community a 15% Discount code – WEAREVIBES

 

Capturing Yoga Light

Yoga is sharing it’s light worldwide, and so is yoga photography. There is something unexplainably beautiful about capturing the essence of living yoga moments. Here we catch up with yoga photographer, Jason Reinhart to get some inside info on his life behind the lens. 

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How did you get into photography? Tell us about your vision…

I took a photography class in high school but never kept up with it. That was back in the days of film. About five years ago, I got my first DSLR camera and started shooting again. I liked the fact that I could shoot as much as I wanted to without the expense of developing film. I learned what worked and what didn’t work immediately. I’m a self-taught photographer and like to experiment. I have always been drawn to the beauty of my surroundings here in Florida. The seascape, especially at sunrise or sunset, is different from day to day. It’s a very calming subject to photograph. That’s why I like shooting yogis, too, especially at the beach during sunrise or sunset. Their calmness and ability to focus on their inner self and let go of the stresses of the day going from pose to pose captivates me.

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When did you begin shooting yoga photography?

I began concentrating on yoga photography about three years ago after contacting Kino MacGregor (@KinoYoga) and Kerri Verna (@BeachYogaGirl) while I was in South Florida visiting friends.  After shooting those two yogis, I saw the beauty of capturing yogis in their zen state of mind.  Just as the sunrise throws off beauty that you can’t describe its the same as photographing a yogi being flowing. It lets the photograph express the harmony between man and nature. It’s a powerful image.

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How do you “live yoga” behind the lens?

In the beginning I was only interested in shooting yogis in action; however after my third photo shoot, I decided to give yoga a try.  I’ve found out that understanding yoga has helped my yoga photography.

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Any advice on how we can make the world a better place?

Obviously treat others how you would like to be treated.  Make a solid effort to get to know your neighbors, classmates and/or work colleagues; show compassion and be humble! Never forget where you came from and give back to your community in any way you can.

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What inspires you?

The challenge of trying to tell a story through images. Through my photos I hope to take people to places they haven’t been and show them the world through my eyes.

 

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Jason Reinhart has been a lifestyle photographer for 4 years and a yogi photographer for 2 years. Born and raised in Virginia, he currently lives in Ormond Beach, Florida. He loves traveling, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures. He lived in Sweden eight years and holds dual citizenship in the US and Sweden.

 

 

 

Jason is interested in Yoga Trade opportunities. Organize a trade with him for your next yoga retreat or event!  

Instagram: @jasonhreinhart

Email: reinhart.jason@gmail.com

 

Snow. Surf. Yoga. Art.

We connected with Taylor Godber in the summer of 2014 when she won our #natureinspiredyogi photo contest on Instagram. She truly inspires us with her passion for the mountains & the sea, her creative expression, her commitment to wellness and yoga, and her devotion to make the world a better place. Get Inspired! 

Photo Credit: Ashley Barker and Jessika Hunter

Tell us a little bit about your story…

My Story! Not quite sure what chapter I’m in here or where it really starts and most definitely no idea where it will end. I have called Whistler home for the past 10 years, taylor3moved here for a year and have yet to leave. With the exception of trips to Tofino on Vancouver Island to dip into the water and play in the waves. I’m a sponsored snowboard athlete for a few brands such as; Billabong, k2 Snowboards, Electric, Skullcandy, etc. My discipline or better yet, my passion as a snow enthusiast is in the mountains. Deep in the backcountry, off the beaten path and usually accessed via snowmobile. When I’m not freezing in the snow my heart yearns for the ocean. I’ve made 3 solid trips to the island of the Gods, Bali and a few of the surrounding islands. Part of me most definitely belongs there. The energy of that part of the world will shift your perspective at plain sight and on a deeper level that can only be experienced from being there. Outside of the adrenaline addiction of snowboarding and surfing my other hobbies & passions reside in creative endeavors and wellness. The yin to my yang is painting canvases and creating healthy high octane fuel for my body and others, in the form of food! I find value in eating organic, local, fresh, nutrient rich foods and see it as a gift and priority to be able to nourish ourselves with healing beautiful foods. Which leads me to an item on the bucket list, a cookbook. A wellness cookbook, of course! I write, not as often as I should- on my blog, freelance articles for a few websites, and magazines. Passions into “jobs”, a tool belt that brings in some cash here and there, to keep the dream alive-living! Travel and adventure always on the mind-open to experience life in the front row. A burning desire to see the world, meet new people, and live life to the fullest.

How did you find yoga and how do you “live” it?

Yoga found me. Classes were being offered amongst other fitness classes at my gym. I thought that I would try it out to increase my flexibility. My first class was a power class,taylor7 that kicked my ass. Less stretch more shake and sweat. I started integrating the power classes as my rest days between workouts. Then another yoga studio opened up a stone throw away from my apartment and I figured I would give the 2 week deal a chance. The first class opened up with some pranayama and mantra, I was like “what the heck is this?” It was my first experience of stepping away from the poses and cliche or not, this teacher was magical. She was an older woman and had 20+ years of teaching all over the world. Totally drawn to her “presence” for a lack of a better word, I started rocking out to a couple power classes a week and then some more spiritual classes here and there. Fast forward a couple of years and I was looking to add to my resume to become a lifestyle coach. Yoga seemed like a great skill to tack on to the standing credentials: certified weight trainer and nutritionist. I had a month between moving to the Island to surf and work for the summer. I logged on to the web to find a teacher training and with less than 2 weeks till start date, my first ever yoga teacher and favorite power guru was holding a training in Mexico. I signed up last minute, tried to cram the stack of books, one of which was the bible brick- the Yoga Sutras. I read it all & taylor5didn’t understand much. Committed to 2-3 classes a day for a week to “prepare” for what I thought would be a serious physical journey, since my teacher was known and I had experienced- a teacher that will make you sweat! My teacher training…changed my life. It was an introductory to so much more than the asana (poses) and it pretty much took me for a roller coster ride of emotions and experiences both physically and mentally. It was a shift that changed my perspective to how I live my life. I think that it was the opening comment, you need to do the work in order to help other people make the transformation. Kinda like, you can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself. Like everything in life, I dove in head first and straight to the bottom to clean up all the sh!t that I had tucked to the side. What a trip that was, ha! With the dark comes the light and a journey with a dozen more wicked people. What I learned & was reminded of, and am continuing to work to apply on the daily:

-be yourself

-be kind to others

-forgive

-find the light in every situation

-set goals

-find balance, create balance

-practice

-love love love

-laugh more

-shanti / peace -carpe diem / seize the day

-contentment

-see the beauty in all

-eat healthy 

-go after what your soul churns for ……….the list goes on.

But collectively it shifted me into a space where I really truly started loving and accepting myself and listening to that voice in my head, my intuition.

Have you ever participated in any kind of yoga trade? What are the positive impacts you notice that evolve from volunteering and travel?

I have yet to participate in any kind of yoga trade. I have had the pleasure of teaching in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on the beach in Tofino, British Columbia Canada, a taylor2couple of sub classes in Whistler British Columbia Canada, and at a surf resort in Bali Indonesia. I love teaching, I often forget that I love it. Something to be re-ignited in the near future, I do believe. If I can help or inspire someone be it through healing a previous injury, finding space in a locked off zone through movement, find clarity in slowing down or through moving meditation, or stoke what needs to be burned away- then I’m down! The whole idea of what you do on your mat can be translated into your daily life, I dig that. We as human beings are instinctually caring. It is in our innate nature to give back and be compassionate. Volunteering not only has an impact on whom we are giving to, but also gives back to us. Spreading the love and helping anyone or anything is necessary to reconnect and break barriers that have been created. Love love love. To travel is to live. To experience and shift our perspectives be it: positive or negative. Through culture shock, food touring, new sunsets, blurry nights, near death experiences, or new personalities. All the while to come to the simple conclusion that we are all connected at some level and all the same and should be loved and supported all the same. We need to give a fu#k about the planet and one another and desperately need to stop sweating the small stuff. Wow, is this world ever incredible!

Any tips for how we can all help improve our local and global communities?

taylor6We all matter. We all have the power to create change. Be it through smiling at a stranger, picking up a chip bag at the beach, putting a coin in an overdue parking meter, working at an orphanage, turning the tap off while we brush our teeth… Everyone has a huge voice and every positive action has a massive affect on the movement towards peace, acceptance, and love.

What inspires you most?

Standing on top of a mountain in the middle of Alaska at the mercy of mother nature herself or feeling the power of a wave hurl on to your legs as you just manage to ducktaylor8 dive. It humbles me and consistently reminds me that life is to be experienced and the planet is to be respected and cared for. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces where all ego slips away and they are completely vulnerable and content, lost in the moment and as present as possible. Traveling and seeing kids play in the dirt and sand with the biggest smiles. Anyone living a simple life, who has understood the difference between needs and wants. People that exercise living life to its fullest and follow their dreams.

Anything else you would like to share…

Create.Travel.Inspire.

 

taylor4CONNECT with Taylor here:

www.taylorgodber.com

IG: @tayeg

Yoga & Art in Costa Rica

KimMichelle is an incredibly talented and inspiring woman who is thriving in the jungle as a living yogi and artist. We are grateful to be able to share her insights and spirit as a talking story with the Yoga Trade community!  (Photos by Scott Martin Images)

Tell us a little about your story…

I love my life these days. I’m inspired and free and able to work through things kim2when they come up. For a long time I’ve been working to come to this place. There has been a lot of heartbreak. That seems to be the thing that has kept me from being totally inspired and open. So healing my heart has been my biggest lesson and my greatest blessing. I have managed to start a new life in Costa Rica which I love. I didn’t even feel comfortable saying “hola” when I first moved here and now I can get along quite well. It’s taken time but all good things do, and I’m still inspired to stay on. I am painting my days away while surfers come and go to surf one of the longest left breaks in the world. I practice and teach yoga, eat as consciously as I can, go on small adventures every day, commune with nature, laugh with friends, treat everyone as family, read about the saints, pray and meditate. I’m promising myself to start surfing again, I have to! But painting fulfills me holistically, so I’m really sticking to that.

What is “living yoga” to you and how do you practice it?

Living a life with the core purpose of practicing yoga is a very interesting way to live. Keeping my heart open and gaining more and more freedom is what that means to me.art4 So wherever I am and in whatever I am doing I am always keeping these things in mind. Yoga knowledge is so accessible these days that it’s easy to find the specific practice, or tools that you need when things come up. For me it’s been a journey of change and adjustment and allowing myself that freedom to choose to go in the direction of my happiness. A few years ago I was keeping a disciplined Ashtanga practice and I realized I wasn’t doing what I truly wanted to be doing and I wasn’t happy in general so I packed my bags and moved to Costa Rica. There were so many reasons why I did this but most importantly I was following my heart, I was doing my best to break or at least breathe into those invisible boundaries, I was letting myself be free. Since then I’ve been going deeper and deeper into these practices, integrating my life, constantly questioning the “truth” of things.

Have you ever participated in any types of yoga trade and what do you think the benefits are of yoga-based exchanges?

My yoga trade experience at the Yoga Farm in Punta Banco, CR changed my life. I came art2to stay for one month and ended up moving here! The place is exquisitely beautiful and I really enjoyed meeting so many cool people and seeing a little about the way of life in the jungle. I felt so much freedom. And I saw myself really looking at those dark places within me but somehow being able to see that they were only shadows, they weren’t things I needed to hold on to or abide by, I could easily shine a light and the fear would dissipate. My teacher calls it Witness Consciousness, TM calls is Transcendence. Being present in the jungle gave me this miraculous gift of grace. Everything changed once I understood that experientially. One can always read books and stay comfortable in their dysfunction but really when you step outside the box and put yourself in a brand new environment, its amazing what can take place. I call these shifts in perception, miracles. There are so many miracles to be had when you just let yourself go.

What is your advice to how we can all bring more sustainability into our lives?

Wow, what a great thing to think about. I think enhancing one’s yogic practice, in the most sincere way possible brings consciousness. Whatever that means to you – through asana, practicng yamas and niyamas, meditation, etc.! If you love yourself you’re going art3to abide by nature’s way out of respect for yourself and your environment. So I would say keep practicing, sincerely, devotedly, passionately. Ask yourself those tough questions about what really drives you in every single decision you make, are you inline with truth, who’s truth? Your own or the universe’s? Do you love yourself enough to go against the grain and do something that others might not understand? What is “right”? What is “wrong”? Who says so? Keep it going, keep inquiring deeper. Find the source. Find your truth, the truth. You always find yourself in this way. Pattabi Jois always said, “Practice and all is coming.” I have found so much within this simple statement.

Who or what inspires you?

So many things inspire me – nature, art, people who have confidence without so much ego, inspired people, artists, yogis, natural people, crystals, rocks, waves, flowers, culture, indigenous culture, music – new music, latin music, latin dancing, India, religion, spirituality, Milarepa, rainbows, the rainbow body, light, love, peace. Color! Shapes. Saints.

 

kim1KimMichelle is an artist-yogini living deep in the jungle of Costa Rica. She grew up on Cape Cod, MA and went to Mass College of Art and Design. While living in Florida after finishing her Bachelors Degree she showed her art in galleries and museums and dove deeper into her yogic practice. Inspired by some Indian friends she took off to India. After six months, 25 cities, 2 YTTCs, countless Temples, Vedanta studies and Thai Massage Training, (and so much more!) she headed back west and returned to the quaint village town of Pavones in Costa Rica which she adores. Thriving in the jungle is not an easy task but one step at a time she builds her life there and continues to develop herself by sharing what she’s learned. She hopes to inspire others through art and yoga in all the myriad forms expressed uniquely every day. She values freedom and expression, truth and righteousness, peace and love, green and gold, colors! Color therapy. Light and rainbows are her driving inspiration. 

www.kimmichelle.com

The artwork of KimMichelle can be viewed and purchased here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/KimMichelleArt

Parker’s Paintings

Creation is the means of our existence. Being creative allows us to fully engage in the present moment while sharing our unique magic with the world. Here I met up with inspiring creative artist, Parker Detchon (ParkersPaintings.com). He lives in Portland, Oregon where he produces digital media and paints full time. He is on his way to Hawaii for the winter to follow painting and surfing dreams. His love of life is contagious!   

How and when did you know that you wanted to pursue the path of painting?

parker4
Painting has been a life path from the get go and I started getting serious with my education and technical application in high school. I began to pursue painting seriously in the real world when I sold my first piece and thought to myself, “Whoa, I just turned a piece of wood with paint on it into money.”

Where do you find your inspiration?

 

My inspiration varies per piece, per series and evolves with me as I grow through this amazing experience of life on Earth. For example when I was young I was inspired by Felix the Cat, and now I’m inspired by consciousness and dimensional astral traveling. In the end the real motive is expression and communication of what’s in our hearts and minds.

How do you feel that yoga and art are related?

 

Yoga practice is an art form itself. Each practitioner is using their body as a brush, movement as a stroke andparker3 mat as a canvas. Yoga is a performance art and your soul is the only audience member. We should hang used yoga mats in a gallery so you know how it feels for a painter to see a work of art. Everyone missed the experience of the act and has to decipher what happened from the remaining evidence.

What does the sacred geometry in your artwork symbolize to you?

 

Geometry literally means earth measurement and the sacred preface indicates the “…on Earth as it is in Heaven” idea. For me this has a large volume of symbolic meanings but the most core one being that our world, us included, is of a divine order. Buddhists acknowledge this by saying hello to the Buddha within everyone they meet. We must use the grand power of free will wisely, compassionately and with love as its intention. This is my new favorite topic.

What do you do to help your community and the planet?

 

parker1My work has always been made using post-consumer waste and recycled goods. In a way it is to snub my nose at people who buy everything brand new instead of acknowledging our over consumption of materials goods. On a small scale, I look into the iris of stranger’s eyes and smile really big with an open heart. It takes confidence and practice but boy that is so fun and helps people feel like they’re part of a community and not just a stranger on a sidewalk anymore.

What words of wisdom can you pass along to other aspiring artists?

 

How you deal with fear of failure shall define you and dictate where you fall between the spectrum of blocked to prolific. Setup your workflow with the freedom to fail built right in so it’s not such a big deal anymore. Fail prolifically and happy accidents will abound.

Thanks for the share Parker!!!!  Excited to see your newest island inspired creations. ALOHA!

Find Parker’s latest artwork online:parker5

ParkersPaintings.com