Twelve Principles of the Center for Yoga Drawing and Painting
1. Safe Space: Every principle of The Center for Yoga Drawing and Painting serves one bottom line, and that is to activate a safe place in which to create. This safe place is not just the studio or group wherein one is participating, but also the space that breathes inside and about the outer edges of our bodies. The union of embodiment and creativity creates permission to be as we are in every moment.
2. Breath: Breath is the first act of creativity. When we breathe we are creative, period. The deeper we breathe the more we can literally draw on the creative nourishment of the universe, and in turn, the more abundantly the universe can feed us.
3. Invocation: At any time we can ask for help by invoking spiritual guidance, our higher self, famous artists and even artists in our family tree that we may not consciously be aware of. When we invoke support for our creativity we may or may not feel an energetic connection. This is the beauty of invocation -- once we consciously invoke any energy we are invited to trust that that energy is here for us, whether we can sense it or not. Invocation teaches us to trust.
4. Trust: At The Center for Yoga Drawing and Painting we learn to trust our creative instincts as they arise moment to moment. Every species on the Earth has an instinct and flows with its instinct just as readily as rivers flow into the ocean. Humans are the only species on the Earth that can doubt their instinct. We learn to trust our creative instincts by taking a moment to breathe during any moment we feel doubt. Breath takes us back into the present moment where the inner-art-critic cannot diminish our passion.
5. Intention: Intention creates the opportunity for us to recognize and focus on our hopes and goals. And paradoxically, intention invites us to embrace the River of Creativity in order to release any stagnant ideas of what our hopes and goals “should look like.” We give all the “shoulds” over to the flow of the river. The river takes them to the ocean –- the “shoulds” were never ours to keep. Let go! Let go! Let go!
6. Inner-Art-Critic: If we become entangled with the pessimistic or passionless aspects of the inner-art-critic, we can use the experience as an opportunity to notice how the critic sucked us in. All we have to do is breathe and ask to be shown the moment we left our creative passion to move into the territories of guilt, shame, or belief that what we have drawn or painted is not “good enough.” Often these feelings of discomfort can feel more familiar and safe than the passionate chance taking of trying something new. The inner-art-critic offers us the chance to notice we have left the present moment in fear of how others will respond to our art in the future. The good news is we can come back to the present moment. All we have to do is breathe deeply and be present to whatever we are feeling in that moment. Come back! Come back! Come back!
7. The Void: Who faces the void of the artist’s canvas? Who takes the journey to discover what is hidden in its emptiness? The Void is the universe before the Big Bang -- any thing is possible. If we trust our creative instincts, The Void will let us know what is ripe to come into form. The Void invites us to listen without becoming attached to outcome. The moment we become attached to what the image is supposed to “look like” we are no longer in the nourishment of the present moment – instead we are thinking about outcome in the future. The Void can be a picture plane of transcendence if we flow with it moment to moment.
8. Embodiment: There is a way that our bodies can become stiff when we drive long distances or sit for long periods of time in front of the computer. Our bodies become locked into a space where we are only using our hands . Our necks and shoulders become stiff as lean toward what our eyes are focused on. This happens all too often in the Visual Arts if we are not checking in with our bodies basic needs during the process of creation. Our bodies are mostly water and water is meant to be moving and flowing or it becomes stagnant.
9. Contact: We discover how our bodies make contact with Heaven and Earth by directing our awareness into our breath, pulse, skin, bones -- the space inside and about the edges of our bodies and our ability to touch, move and make sound.
10. Bliss Tolerance: The contact we make with breath and movement invites us to acknowledge our relationship with bliss. We make the intention to notice when bliss shows up in our bodies. We notice when bliss feels unfamiliar and when we cut it off. We make the intention to expand our bliss tolerance just a little bit each time it is felt including when bliss feels erotic. We honor when bliss asks to be revealed through our artist’s mark Ultimately, we invite bliss to flow abundantly by means of our creative river.
11. A Creative Practice: Not just to practice but to have a Practice. Learning to navigate the various realms we travel as we create allows us cultivate focus and completely trust our creative instincts moment to moment. We must have a Practice, a special time set aside, hopefully everyday, to truly harness the focus and navigational tools necessary to see a drawing, painting or any project through to its completion.
12. Gratitude: Every art experience offered by The Center for Yoga Drawing and Painting is concluded with gratitude. By offering gratitude we are not disconnecting from all that has been invoked. We are simply acknowledging all the gifts received and stating our willingness to continue to receive these gifts of creativity in our daily lives.