Tag Archives: Yoga

Keys to Creativity Series: Part One Don’t Worry About the Outcome

Create Like Nobody’s Watching

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A year ago if you’d told me I would have been sitting out in public scribbling away in a notebook DRAWING (!!) I would have laughed… long and hard. And if you’d told me I would have posted my crude efforts, I would have told you to stop drinking so much.

After a somewhat chaotic year full of interruptions, distractions, and challenges, I am reapplying myself to my yoga studies with gusto. And while it may seem that yoga has nothing to do with creativity, I’m finding the opposite to be true. Part of the course I’m taking includes quite a lot of yoga philosophy (in case you are wondering, it’s the Kaivalya Yoga Method, 500 Hour Teacher Training through Yogadownload). To be honest, I thought that part (the philosophy bit) would make me a bit squirmy, something to endure, you know? But the reading and thinking about the philosophical aspects of yoga has actually been both inspiring and useful and I’m enjoying it more than I would have thought possible.

Yoga, Writing, Drawing, Acting, Art Journals, Collage, Creating: It’s all Related

 

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Collage in my art journal… yes, I’ve got one of those now. This was sort of an art meditation done while listening to a recording of a rolling om…

 

At the same time that I’ve been doing my down-dogs and studying anatomy and thinking about how ancient wisdom can still be very relevant in terms of dealing with the complexities of the modern age, I have also been madly productive on the writing front. I’m putting the finishing touches on the non-fiction book for teens about medical assistance in dying and working on fiddly details relating to the picture book that’s coming along beautifully with Holiday House (LOVE the preliminary sketches by the talented Katie Kath). Research has started for two more non-fiction titles for youth (one about civil disobedience, the other about global deforestation) and, of course, I continue to slowly work on the book about the three-generations Camino trip we did last fall.

Walk the Camino, Think About Creativity

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Though it has been slowest to progress, that project is the one that has a strong hold on my heart, in part because it had me examining my relationship with the creative process. Walking with Dad and Dani, the conversations Dad and I had about art and the creation of art before, during, and ever since our oh-so-slow stroll across Spain really got me thinking about what it means to be creative. What the word means as an adjective. And, as a noun. I’ve been referred to as ‘a creative,’ and that implies that creativity is some sort of integral component of my makeup.

We Are All Creative Children, Trapped in Over-critical Adult Bodies

 

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First attempt at a freehand mandala – on the cover of one of several yoga notebooks I’ve got happening at the moment (of course! where else would I attempt a freehand mandala?)

 

Aren’t we all creative? I think we all have some kernel of creativity within us. Just look at a kindergarten classroom and what happens when you set children loose with paint and blank sheets of paper. You can’t get the paint smocks on fast enough before the brushes are flying!

What happens to us to make us so afraid of exploring our natural desire to create? To explore? To play?

Let Go of the Outcome

My theory is that at some point we attach output with being good enough. If our drawing or painting or story or poem doesn’t measure up, then we have no right to be drawing or painting or writing. We become embarrassed to show our work to anyone else. We second guess our efforts and, before long, most of us give up. When asked, we say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body. I couldn’t draw to save my life.”

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You may be wondering what on earth all that messy art stuff has to do with yoga, but the connection is this. One of the things yoga philosophy has to say is that we spend way too much time attached to the outcome of an action, rather than just allowing ourselves to be fully engaged in whatever it is we are doing. All those poses and paying attention to our breath are about finding a way to tune out all the busy, negative, distracting, endless thoughts that plague us and having us fully enter and engage in the present moment. Does it matter if my triangle pose is a bit wonky and my drawings will never hang on a gallery wall? No. 

What my yoga studies (and recent explorations in visual art) have shown me is that creative output happens a lot more easily when you let go of worrying about how it will all turn out. It’s the process of creation that matters, exactly as it matters only that I embrace my yoga practice both on and off the mat. 

 

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Come – explore your creative side! Bust loose and send those doubts scurrying!

 

Come to Our Creativity Retreat in France!

If you are interested in exploring your creative side, why not join us next May at a really cool retreat we are organizing in Provence. We’ll be holing up in a pretty swanky villa with a small group of people who want to try their hand at painting, journaling, writing, collage, sketching… But more than that, we’ll be exploring what it means to embrace life creatively, no matter what form of expression you choose to pursue. And, yes, – there will be yoga to help fuel that process- every morning out by the pool. I can’t wait!

There’s more to this train of thought, but that’s why this is just Part 1. Stay tuned!

Full disclosure: If you happen to get all inspired and decide you’d like to sign up for the YTT course I mentioned above and you use the link in this post, I’ll get a small referral fee. If you have any questions about the program, shoot me a message and I’ll happily answer. I love the program and have learned a lot.

 

 

Come! Let’s Get Creative in France!

Give Yourself the Gift of Time to Create

Writing, Painting, Creating Retreat in Provence, France

Think you might be interested? Have a look at the listing here.

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Amazing location (check out that pool!!) – nifty field trips (can you say wine? truffles? ancient markets?) – a chance to try your hand at watercolor painting, journal-writing, pen & ink, or drawing… Work on your novel… or, finally try your hand at writing a magazine article… outline a book of family stories for your grandchildren… Wherever your creative heart leads you, that’s where you’ll go… What about a scavenger hunt with your iPhone, honing your photographer’s eye? What would you do with a week (or two, space permitting, you can score a great deal if you book two weeks back to back) in Provence where we’ll feed you delicious local meals, provide you with space, time, and as much peace and quiet or inspiring workshops as you choose?

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We’ve structured this retreat so people can come and experiment, play, and create with as much or as little involvement from the facilitators as you like. We’re organizing some pretty nifty local field trips, which you can choose to participate in, or not. Everything is included – we’ve made it easy for you to change your mind on the fly, opting in or out of activities as the mood strikes you.tim-arterbury-126157-unsplash

Don’t let that blank page intimidate you! Join us in France and let your creative side come out and play!

Book Your Spot – Don’t Miss Out!

For more information or to book (spaces are limited and there is a discount if you register early), follow this link:

Book Now

And, watch the blog for more details…

Theme Reveal: Transitions, Travel and Transformation

This will be my fourth year attempting to blog every day for the month of April as part of the AtoZ Blogging Challenge (details here, if you want to learn more about how the challenge works and who else is participating). Each year I’ve bogged down somewhere in the Q, R, S, T region of the alphabet. I could consider these past efforts to be abject failures (I mean, the rest of the alphabet is just as worthy of posts, no?). But I’m a glass half full kinda gal, so I’m choosing to look at the 50+ posts I have managed to write as part of this annual challenge to be posts that I wouldn’t have written otherwise.

This year I’m keeping my theme pretty general because, hey, there’s lots going on and I can’t quite predict which of several potentially interesting developments will become the major focus for the month ahead. I know some people pre-write a bunch of posts and then release them over the course of the month. Other people come up with a list and then write and post as the days come and go. I’m going to try and write pretty much every day and tie the topic of the post to something that’s reasonably current.

 

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Frog legs in the Latin Quarter… a lot of work (I had no idea how many little bones there are in each leg…) for very little return. And, yes, sort of tastes like chicken. 

 

Given that I’m heading for Paris on Monday, at least some posts will fit neatly into the travel category. Transitions and transformation are related, but subtly different but will allow me to write about works in progress (there are several at the moment), progress on the job search, what’s going on with my efforts to become more involved with theatre, TV, and film, setting (and reaching?) climbing goals, and maybe even a bit about my ongoing quest to be healthier (so I can live longer and have half a hope of getting a few more of the outstanding items on my To-Do list done). Art, photography, friendships, family, yoga, and a change of seasons will all likely get some love during April.

 

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Working on my crow pose… a contender for C-Crow, B-Balance, Y-Yoga, F-Frustration

 

There won’t be a list in advance – this will be a seat-of-my-pants month, but as always, it will be fun to take (and share) snapshots of what’s going on. Equally fun (and inspiring and stimulating and intriguing) will be reading what other participants will be sharing.

This year, each day I’ll also post a link to another participant who has caught my eye. Today’s pick: The More Than Words blog – theme this year TRAVEL.

Climb aboard and enjoy the ride!

Curious about topics from previous years? Here are a few links to posts from the past.

From the Climbing Year:

M is for Munter, Mountains and More…

F is for Fancy Footwork, Flights, and Fortitude…

From the Writing Year:

Ordinary Day at the Office

From the AtoZ Farming Year (when I actually made it to the letter Z)

Catching Some Z’s

From the Farming Year (a slightly different 30-Day challenge back when I had my farm)

The Pros and Cons of Farm Life

When the Writing Just Stops — Nikki Tate – Author

It’s so weird how this happens. I’m beavering away, have lots of ideas, am all eager to work and then… something shifts. The momentum completely stops. And I find myself drifting about feeling like I have never written anything and will never write again. This morning I was up early, tossing and turning because I […]

via When the Writing Just Stops — Nikki Tate – Author

(reposted from my writing blog… or, in this case, my ‘not writing’ blog.)

Crane Pose

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m never going to be (more accurately, never was) one of those twenty-something yoginis who can do full standing splits on top of the Eiffel Tower (or a handstand on a rock in the middle of the ocean… honestly, have you seen some of those yoga poses on Instagram???) But, I wanted to have some fun with yoga poses and photography and so, with a little help from Picmonkey (which, btw, is a very fun way to spend an evening playing around with your mediocre images and seeing what can be made of them…) I took a series of photos in my very boring living room. Here’s Crane Pose if I were able to clone myself and time everything perfectly (sort of like a partner yoga solo selfie)… Maybe I should keep experimenting with the photo editing and just insert myself into some awe-inspiring locations…

How to Make Your Own Yoga Mat Spray

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Things I don’t want to think about too much include the long list of cooties that breed in yoga mats. (If you would like to think about it, check out this article on elle.com). Ew. Just ew. I went searching for simple recipes for anti-bacterial yoga mat sprays and found quite a few of them. I mixed and matched and came up with this concoction, which I’ve just used on my mats (they now smell lovely – not that they smelled terrible before – but now they really do smell delightful). Though it likely isn’t potent enough to kill off super bugs, it should be sufficient to handle everyday micro creepy crawlies.

Want to make some of your own? Here’s the recipe…

Nikki’s Super Duper Stinky Yoga Mat Cleaner

3/4 cup distilled water

1/4 cup witch hazel (the witch hazel I used includes some alcohol)

7 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lemongrass essential oil

5 drops lavender oil (if you don’t like the smell of lavender, try eucalyptus or peppermint)

Mix them all together and pour into a small spray bottle.

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Do a hearty yoga class. Sweat all over your mat without fear. Sneeze on it – what the heck. After your workout, spray the mat with your fancy spray. Wipe with a damp cloth (not too wet, you don’t want the mat to get soggy). Let the mat sit and dry for a few minutes before rolling it up.

I’m thinking that if you are using this at a busy yoga studio you might also want to do a pre-emptive spritz of the floor before you unroll your mat. Just saying.

And now I’m curious… What do you like to use to swab your mat?

The Getting Serious About Yoga Chapter

So I’ve been doing yoga for years, on and off. I’ve always been a bit streaky – practicing  regularly for a while and then neglecting yoga for weeks, months, or (during a particularly busy period during the farm era) years.

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Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.   -Sting
**Nope – that’s not me in the photo…

It turns out that climbing and yoga and rehabbing from injuries (oh yeah, I guess I should do a broken body parts update one of these days) are all good companions (along with weight training, apparently – more on that in the injury update post). Anyway, for various reasons, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga over the past months and when the chance came up to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course, I jumped on it. I figured taking the course would inspire me to deepen my own practice and being able to teach is a wonderful way to share all the many benefits of yoga with others. It also occurred to me I could even teach some gentle classes while travelling, say, on a sailboat while I circumnavigate. Obviously, I would wait until I was ashore on a beach or at a resort somewhere before unrolling the yoga mat and inviting people over, but based on how much fun Peta and I had doing a bit of yoga while sailing in the Caribbean last year, it seems like the two activities would go very well together.

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While we were in Hawaii this year, Andee and I attended a rather funky yoga class on the beach at Waikiki. Our instructor was an exceptionally happy dude!

As for the climbing connection, climbing requires strength, balance, and coordination (and a steady mind) to be able to do it reasonably well. Yoga is the perfect activity to complement my vertical addiction! Practically speaking, winter is upon us here in the Rocky Mountains, so it’s ice climbing, gym climbing, or nothing. I’m not nearly as enthused about ice as Fabio, so I’m actually pretty happy to split my time between the yoga mat and the climbing gym as the days get shorter and colder. As I continue down the teaching road, I’m developing some classes specifically aimed at climbers – lots of shoulder, back, and core strength – arm balances and inversions – all the stuff I love to play around with and which, even as they make me sweat, infuse me with the kind of strong, positive energy that helps with whatever else I might happen to be doing in my day.

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A particularly soothing yoga and meditation session with the inimitable Ally Pony.

I’m writing this post partly so you don’t get too big a shock when, suddenly, yoga references start popping up in the blog. Sometimes I think I should try to maintain six blogs – a climbing blog, a yoga blog, a sailing blog, a writing blog, a bread-making blog, a travel blog… But I am only one person and life is short, so if you think yoga is just for … um, yogis… keep scrolling down until you find something more interesting…

**I realized, as I was putting this blog post together, that I don’t have many/any photos of me doing yoga… I guess I should maybe experiment with that…

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