"Life appears to me as a crisp and juicy apple that my young teeth can bite into with pleasure, revealing in their power and youth." - Paula Modersohn-Becker (first female artist to paint herself in the nude).
Isn't it incredible the way that life twists and turns and at times can offer you an abundance of inspiration, connection and love and at others there feels to be suffering, agitated minds and conflict. Well, I like to believe that we all experience these alternate states and yet we know that they are ever changing.
Currently it is the time of Beltane (half way between the spring equinox and the summer solstice) and I have ignited the fire (literally), got my hands dirty in the earth (mulching trees), bathed in the water (waterfall heaven just outside of Bristol) and got out in nature for some good old fresh air and blimey o riley - it felt good. I have also been working hard, seeing friends, looking after little ones and pursuing new opportunities here and there, whilst nurturing and maintaining relationships in all forms. The city can be a challenging place, especially living so close to one another and in such a way that we are hovered over by buildings that restrict our view, in more ways than one. I simply moved my desk upstairs so I feel like I am looking down from above more so and already I feel a spring awakening occurring from that simple action of changing the space around you. My kinesiologist once pointed out to me how important my environment was and he was right. I've been one of those people that from childhood, likes aesthetics and changing the space around me to compliment how nature is changing and how I am aware of how my internal world then changes too.
I feel vitality reentering and this feels good. I am also experiencing new opportunities arising, making much more conscious choices in action to change and being accepting when others do it too and it has a direct impact on me. It happens.
I love to read things that I would not usually read, or go put in places with people I don't usually hang with, or get involved in things that are not my usual thing of choice and I love love love the way this continues to ignite that internal fire and opens a new door of vision, relationships and connection.
I guess this all comes down to curiosity... what if?!
I bought a copy of the magazine Milk and a copy of Flow and I have been nonstop inspired by most of the articles in each of them. A few quotes I highlighted that felt relevant to the teachings of Yoga as a way of life were mostly relating to love, friendship, and slowing down. I guess we are drawn to those things that we feel we need or are priorities for us now.
I began 'Yoga i-D' as it is that, an identity. It is a place to come and practice Yoga in a way that connects you back to your own 'Self' and the identity that you give yourself outside of class and to learn how to detach from it, simply through connection and Yoga. I like to write this blog and offer you a little bit of thought or inspiration through a subject matter or sharing my own experiences week upon week, to encourage you in your explorations and own curiosities towards your art of living your own lives. What you do, the way you are, in turn benefits us all.
A discovered a beautiful article today on the life of artist Paula Modersohn-Becker and it resonated with me where she is described as, through her diaries and letters around the time of 1901, being sensed to express her struggles to reconcile all her various identities: daughter, wife, woman, artist.
She died young and it was not until after her death that her art was celebrated and she became the first female artist to have an entire museum dedicated to her work in 1927. She was a pioneer of German Expressionism and devoted her life to art and her passions, known to have said "I know I shall not live very long. But why is that so sad? Is a party more beautiful because it lasts longer? Because my life is a party. A short intense party." She made landscapes and self portraits and was the first female artist to paint herself nude. She was enormously talented yet her husband describes her as being annoyed by her ambitions.
"I am me and I hope to become so more and more" Paula is quoted as saying.
I am telling you all of this as maybe life is just like biting in to a big juicy apple...
And, because I love this artist and all that she stands for.
I love that she was not afraid to acknowledge her struggles, I love that she was passionate and committed to her ambitions and the things that she loved, including maintaining her relationships and her art. This is a skill. To allow commitment to be something that we live by. To continue with what we feel passionate about, even when that becomes a challenge. To be bursting with anticipation and curiosity and continue to learn each and every day that she was alive.
I offer you to take some inspiration from this marvellous artist...
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO YOGA?
Well because in a Yoga i-D practice it is not about the physical exercise alone. It is about the connections that you begin to make to your body, your life and your true innate self when you do Yoga.
This week ask yourself... What is your identity? Do you struggle with your ambitions and the various identities that you have? Do you push things or people away because you feel they conflict with those or get in the way of your pursuit for identity? Maybe you can write a short list what those identities are. What your passions are. Are you attached to them.
Heres a little layout of some of my identities... Free spirit, creative/artist, mother, friend, homemaker, yoga teacher, yogini, urban social media junkie, glastonbury soul, west country girl.
Can you use your yoga practice to bring your attention to yours and to come out of those associations with identity, actually feel connected to the various forms, yet in the knowing that they do not simply define you.
Life is precious and we must all continue to slow life down, tune in to what our passions are and pursue those, yet knowing that it aint always easy, that we are individuals as well as dependant creatures that seek connection and that starts with knowing the Self. Truly and wholeheartedly.
Be curious. We live in the romanticism of life. What if we used suffering as a way of character development, that we changed romantic thinking for loving thinking. That we understood that Love is a verb; it is an action. Become devoted to your passions and live out your identities with the power of curiosity and connection.
See you on the mat this week.
YOGA i-D CLASSES:
TUESDAY PM - 19:30-21:00 MATTER WHOLEFOODS, BS5
THURSDAY AM - 10:45-12:15 SPACE 238, BS5