Saturday January 9: Yoga and Art

This is starting backwards in time. I made this at the end of the class during the art making portion of the class. My yoga guru/teacher and dear friendwhom I’ve known since 1998, is doing a 6 week Yoga and Art Zoom Class, focusing on the chakras. There are 7 Chakras so I’m not sure if we will do the last ones together or what. I’ve studied and read about the chakras, but I’m no expert. I’ve used Chakra cards with clients. As I understand them, they are wheels of energy, these points in your body, and the knowledge is to cultivate awareness of whether the chakra is in balance or out of balance. They also correspond to parts of the body and other things, like the Muladhara chakra, the first chakra at the bottom, whose element is earth. It’s about the right to have and focuses on being grounded and present in the body, your foundation, like food, shelter, home, money, ground and earth. It’s the polar opposite of the seventh chakra which is your superconsciousness connection to the universe or your concept of the divine or the interconnectedness of everything at the crown of the head. I describe it because everyone has chakras that they access easily and chakras that they struggle with. For me it’s opposites, of course, one extreme to the other. I access the top chakra quickly and can easily be in the space so I float up into that awareness and have to bring myself back to my feet into my body or I float away from all the things I struggle with most, most simply, everyday reality. Through the art materials and easily accessing using them, I long ago found my ground, being with the materials and using them is my way to connect back to the first chakra and a feeling of freedom instead of bondage to the parts or life that are more confusing and difficult, connected to my ADHD that I discuss a lot here.

Anyway, one of the great things about this class was connected to Muladhara: time and limits. Because the class was from 9-10:45, Liza as the teacher had the challenge of fitting a lot of information into that amount of time and deal with only giving us a little of the vastness of her knowledge.

Ironically, for me those limits were great. I can’t deal with too much information without getting flooded, ungrounded, self judging. The yoga was really great and different from taking a yoga class with Liza like the one on Wednesdays. It felt simple and very organized on the one topic, the earth, starting with the feet and getting grounded and aware of every part of the foot. From DBT I am familiar with Radical Self-Acceptance, and there are things about my body I don’t like but have to accept, starting with even having a body, which seems so annoying when just having a mind would be so much easier. Then my feet that I used to like. I have bunions that are just there that I work on accepting but hate.

One great part was doing something like Virasana, Hero pose, but sitting on your feet with the toes on the floor, like you’re crusing the tips of the toe and the sole is up, not on the floor. It definitely hurts and seems to be important. Liza said to do it everyday. It probably was the most important part of the yoga. The simplicity of doing the yoga when usually it is very complicated in terms of learning alignment was freeing. I could probably list what we did in the class because it was so focused. Like with my ADHD having a menu where all the extra stuff is crossed out and there are only 5 things to choose from.

Then we did the art and I made the piece I posted. I started with the tree “mandala” and stuck it to the middle of the paper. The rest of it went from there. Liza reminded us we could write as well as make art, which was helpful as I realized I wanted to write something. It came out with no thought,

The Boat Urn

Floats in My Lungs

It opens up

Into a Rose.

Roses for me are angry agressive flowers, which is what I like about them. The cliche of the rose looking and smelling beautiful, the aroma taking over and putting a spell on you until you touch the stem and the thorn pierce your finger and you bleed. Blood is one of the liquids in the body that comes out of it to remind me I have a body. The color is the color of the red rose.

We all shared our art at the end. Many people find the making of the art to be challenging, while for me, the yoga is challenging. Even after years I can’t balance and can fall over just doing the Triangle Pose where you have both legs on the floor. It was interesting as a process for me that I went from feeling chaotic and annoyed at the space where I was doing the class and wanting the background to be simple so I chose to put the mat in front of the red couch facing the screen. I thought of the negatives about my not being able to do simple things, like clean regularly, plan meals with family, cook. I usually hardly cook at all; B. does all the food shopping and cooking.

At the end after making the art, Liza read the poem by Mary Oliver, starting with “You don’t have to be good.” I’ve read this poem before; it was good to hear Liza read it twice. My favorite line is that first one. I’ve written a poem inspired by that with “I don’t want to be good. I want to be bad,” or something like that probably in one of my blog posts. I just tried to find the poem here but can’t find it.

Anyway towards the end or in describing my process to the group, I realized some good things, new good things, strenths that were weaknesses, that I’ve worked out for 8 months in a row almost everyday, a very new thing for me, and that this week I started focusing on better eating habits, making smoothies in the morning, eating vegetables every day, etc. It’s not perfect but it’s a big improvement. The main part is sustaining anything in the root chakra, like exercising, especially eating healthy, being organized with money which I’ve gotten better with, cleaning studio and home regularly, biggest challenge having no time, cooking. I’ve actually succesfully raised many clients’ fees just this month, negotiating with them last month, asked Cigna health insurance to pay me more and raised the fee of my Supervision group. Of course there are clients on food stamps, unemployed, etc. who can barely pay what they’re paying, but it felt great to go through the process of telling most of them that my fees are going up and so the sliding scale lower fees are going up as well.

So, in conclusion, I can look at the root chakra negatively for myself or be proud of all the accomplishments I’ve made. There are more that are more private, but it’s good to write them down.

I’m excited for next Saturday, the second Chakra, water, emotional well-being, sensuality, etc.

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