We have completed our first mindful creative writing workshop with the Chorlton Book Festival this week – The Art of Getting it Down on Paper.
We swung from Steve Jobs, Picasso, Denis Potter and David Lynch. We moved back and forth from the writing table (our doing space) to a our meditation circle (our being space) and then brought it all together with a series of mindful based creative exercises.
Each exercise was designed to point towards the experience and techniques of non-doing or non-attachment. Knowing how this way of working can be ‘turned on’ we can develop an awareness of effortless flow which comes from just brining attention to the act of doing rather than expectation of future outcomes.
These simple mind/body techniques bring about a sense of the present and ourselves in the centre of it, moment by moment. When that happens we open up and allow ourselves to ‘receive’ creative flow. But as Picasso told us, the flow of inspiration is always there but it has to ‘catch you working’ – you don’t sit and wait. You use it. You have to get out of the way and allow it flow.
This is at the heart of all creative action. Its also where real happiness is found in the joy of just being and doing.
This weekend we hosted our very first food based yoga workshop with Hannah Patterson from Make it Healthy.
Three hours just flew by as Mick gave a talk on the gunnas and led a posture and breathing based routine focused on prana flow emphasising twists and abdominal body work.
Hannah demonstrated the making of a powerful green juice, ginger balls and a very tasty carob smoothie. We finished with a wonderful pumpkin pie made by Hannah in honour of Halloween.
All in all a fantastic workshop designed to show how yoga practice can be taken off the mat and into day-to-day life with the choices we make on how and what we eat.
Thank you everyone for making the event a big success. You can visit Hannah’s web site here for the recipes…
Last month we hosted an amazing Happy Spontaneous Me workshop as part of Chorlton’s famous Arts Festival. We are pleased to showcase a little piece from yogi Hannah Patterson who took part. We love the pictures from Hannah’s little shrine…
The combination of yoga and drawing is surprisingly beautiful. Not only will you express yourself from a deeper place, you create something to display that is a reminder of how perfect the present moment actually is, no matter how you’re feeling.
Within the workshop, we were guided through meditation and simple yoga postures and then asked to put pen/crayon to paper with some specific techniques. These techniques weren’t to teach you how to draw properly. Quite the opposite. You experienced how to draw without purpose, perfection or judgement. We were encouraged to draw with feeling, allowing our hand to wander across the blank page aimlessly. Very therapeutic.
The reason I love yoga so much is because it allows me to let go of the need to be perfect and achieve. I find peace in the postures and zone out from the people around me and I give up my urge to compete. In fact, I am merely comforted by the closeness of others. Happy Spontaneous Me gave me an opportunity to experience this two fold. After the yoga postures, we’d turn to the page to again connect with our inner world as well as having the closeness of those next to us – knowing that they too were connecting with their own self.
I’d really recommend attending one of Mick’s workshops or classes. If you’re new to yoga, it’ll be a beautiful introduction to your journey. If you’re a regular practitioner, you’ll experience an authentic class and gain a little more wisdom to add to your tool kit.
Here are some pictures of one of my drawings from the workshop – it is part of my shrine at home as I genuinely think it is a brilliant expression of myself at the time. It may look totally arbitrary but to me it’s a reminder of my happy spontaneous self.
Hannah undertaking jappa drawing
You get in touch with Hannah here and find out about her inspiring work with healthy foods and healthy living…
This weekend we completed our first workshop for 2015 with the third annual hosting of our popular new year, Back On Track workshop. Based on intense practice combined with moments of complete stillness through deep Yoga nidra and Sankalpa making this workshop was based on three key principles:
- Your Passion: When you just feel compelled to do.
- Your Purpose: When what you do feels right. When you feel your most creative, purposeful and productive.
- Your Potential: When what you do makes a real and lasting difference for others and yourself.
When we practice yoga we begin to know what makes us do what we do. When we know what is useful or can be discarded in our thinking, we make changes knowing that like a good building everyone is designed and constructed for a certain purpose. Our roll as yogis, as a human beings to is allow that purpose to flow into the world.
This year we put a new creative spin on our Sankalpa by asking our YLP yogis to make a map, firstly describing where they are right now (location) where they want to go (destination) and the route they would need to take to get there (intention) . The map would serve as a tool to describe self observations – and then how to intuitively move on towards what ever goals or tasks they are designed to do.
To support this, Mick gave a short talk on looking, knowing and observation in yoga. Describing, piece by piece the difference between the observed and observer, from the external to internal experience finally leading to an experience (however partial) of our deeper consciousness, the observer of who and what we are. The witness which knows where we are going and how…..The Sankalpa is the result of this experience.
Back on Track is one of the YLP’s, Yoga in Action workshops, designed to show how yoga science and practice can be used to reveal a more creative, fruitful and meaningful life.
Yoga in Action = A human, seemingly random creative act of spontaneity that brings joy and compassion into the world by pointing to a deeper, ideal reality.
Not a day goes by…at YLP HQ without someone laughing at Mick and what he gets up to. During busy baking preparations for Christmas, out of the oven popped a gingerbread version of Mick performing the tree complete with trade mark stripes and glasses.
Ho ho ho…
CD’s are now available of two of Mick’s deep-guided relaxation sessions.
Mindful Relaxation contains:
1. Introduction. How to use these sessions
2. Going inwards. (18.00) A deep guided relaxation helping to bring your attention inwards moment by moment.
3. Yoga body scan. (12.00) A mindful guided relaxation to help calm and energise.
Copies are available to buy at the YogaLife Project classes Tuesday and Thursday.
Mindful Relaxation CD – £5.00
At Long last, and after much prevarication (from Mick) The YogaLife Project has started to put together a special YogaLife Handbook based on our classes at Chorlton Central. Many of you have asked for book recommendations which we have on the website. However, the plan is to create our own easy to use handbook, which you will recognise and feel comfortable with as your very own yoga.
It will be based around our 12 key posture, breathing, relaxation and Salute to the Sun with the variations. It’s a joint effort between Sue, Emma and Mick. In the meantime here is a picture of Emma (who will feature heavily in the handbook) in her Downward Dog……looking good.
Well we know you are desperate to get back onto to your YogaLife mats but we have to wait just a little longer. The heating installation is underway and going well.
We can’t guarantee hot yoga but it will be warm enough…
A few weeks ago The New Statesman magazine called for a ‘Revolution of Consciousness’ There is a well thumbed copy at YLP HQ. You can read about it here.
It’s worth tracking down. Between all of the excitable stuff from Russell Brand who was guest editor there is a well-organised argument for change based very much on Yoga principles. There is a great article from one of our heroes David Lynch. We have tagged him before with his work on meditation via his Foundation. He too calls for revolution. A revolution of 180 degrees where we turn attention inwards, inwards, inwards, as opposed to outwards, outwards, outwards. We often do this at the start of our YL classes. This, he says, is where we will find the solution – in particular to the economic, social and environmental turbulence we currently experiencing following the greed of banks and the incompetence of our politicians, which is very much the theme of the NS issue. We were really struck by Lynch’s accompanying sketch diagram which is a brilliant illustration of how we move from the ‘surface’ of life’ as he describes it, into the Unified Field – something we often talk about in class and most certainly experience in our practice. In many ways if we were to write a manifesto to support our YogaLife then the NS Revolution of Consciousness would form part of it. It’s important though that we rise above politics and economics, as they are not real, and still very much part of the problem.
So what can we do?
Given the mess we are in, the lack of any plan for the economy, energy and the environment – .our role is to stay tuned. Keep paying attention and carry on with our yoga practice. That’s the way we can make real and lasting change right in the heart of our own community and make, as Lynch says a beautiful and peaceful revolution.
Lynch’s route map…
Lynch and Brand. Lynch has no idea who he is…
NS Front Cover…