Yves Klein "blue monochrome" 1957
"The imagination is the vehicle of sensibility. Transported by the imagination, we attain life, life itself, which is absolute art." -Yves Klein
Yves Klein is spreading his fingers nice and wide, showing us the start of the foundation of our hands. Like our feet, our hands are our foundation for poses like downward dog, table top, handstand and others.
The way we use our hands will affect our alignment, and can either help or damper with hand and wrist problems.
Klein is showing us a way in which to bear weight on our hands that help with pain and or injuries in the wrists and hands. We have a tendency to put most of the weight into the heels of the hands, which over time adds to the pain or discomfort in the wrists. So it is best to spread the fingers wide and allow lots of space between each finger. The natural arch of the hand should be lifted off the floor so there is equal distribution from the base of the thumb to the pinky finger. It forms a half circle. Kleins hand demonstrates some of this. When just beginning downward dog and any other weight bearing exercise with the hands, it is best to start slowly. Every other day for a few minutes will help build strength and avoid injury.
Yves Klein's work can be spiritual and transcendental. He worked with the color blue, which in many cultures and religions is the color of transcendence. Klein created his own hue of ultramarine blue which is so mesmerizing and out of this world. Klein believed lines in pictures were a form of "prison grating" and only color offered the path to freedom. He invites the viewer to fall into the painting, allowing the color to evoke feeling and emotion through his captivating ultramarine blue.
Klein took painting out of the frame. Let's take yoga off the mat.
"The body of the Dead Christ in the tomb" 1521. Oil on wood Artist Hans Holbein the younger
Dead Christ is practicing Savasana. Also know as corpse pose. The pose can also be called Mrtasana meaning death. Savasana calms the mind, relieves stress, helps reduce fatigue and insomnia, relaxes the body, and can help lower blood pressure.
Savasana can be the hardest pose to practice. The biggest challenge of them all, as It requires you to quiet the mind and release the body fully. This is not easy. Savasana is not a deep sleep, but a deep meditation. Most of us are full of tension that we are not even aware of. Savasana can be a place where these tensions arise. And so it is the practice of yoga that helps to release these tensions of the mind and physical body.
Savasana should be practiced at the end of your yoga practice and or pranayama practice. Props are always encouraged in Savasana. It looks like dead Christ could use a folded blanket under his head and neck to help release the back of the neck towards the tailbone. It would make his Savasana a little more comfortable.
Allow yourself to come into your body. Come into your senses. Feel the inside of your toes all the way up to the insides of your ears and brain. And remember, always bring these senses back towards your heart. As it is your heart that connects it all inside and out. Savasana gives us a feeling and opportunity of leaving our body and returning anew. Practice Savasana for at least 5 minutes. It is the most necessary part of our physical yoga practice. Coming into the chitter chatter of our minds can be difficult, so it's important to start slowly and gradually build up through time and practice. Our goal is to quiet the mind for as long as possible so as to reach a sense of pure awareness and pure consciousness. ❤️
So much Peace, peace, peace.
Photography by Artist Yung Cheng Lin also known as 3cm.
This photograph shows the headless human form practicing Gomukhasana arms. Also known as cow face arms. Gomukhasana arms helps release tight shoulders. It is a pose that most of us can't easily come into due to the fact that it requires our shoulders to move into positions that our bodies do not come into very often. Because of this, the pose can be unsettling and provoke a reaction that may be gut wrenching to some.
Like artist Chengs's work, the pose can feel or look like we are distorting the human body. It is so important that we do not force the human body into any uncomfortable perspective. Cheng's work shows us the pressure that society puts on women's bodies to be in good shape, up to date on fashion trends and other issues of what femininity may be.
Allow your body to move freely in its complete range of motion that is available to you, and no more. If you need to use a prop for some poses such as Gomukhasana arms, you can take a strap and use it as shown in the photograph. The photograph has the headless woman using her hair as a prop. She is forcing and pulling on parts of her body to fully come into the pose. She is abusing herself for sake of coming into an expected pose. Be gentle and loving to yourself and don't allow society to tell you how you should move, act, look or be. Be yourself. Find your true self through forms of human interaction, creative expression and practice. We are who we are. ❤️
Street art in Sweden by artist MOGUL "Maybe if I look upside down the world will turn out right"
Upside down boy is practicing Adho Mukha Svanasana. Also known as downward facing dog. Upside down boy is practicing a variation of the pose, by using one arm. This is a great way to improve balance. We do this by feeling our sense of gravity by finding and stabilizing our foundation. If we don't stabilize, the sense of gravity can wander off.
Downward dog stretches the hamstrings, ankles, and shoulders, elongates the spine, strengthens the arms and legs and calms the mind while energizing the body.
Downward dog is an inversion. This just means being upside down. Going upside down is great way to see and feel things in a new light. If you paint a picture and turn the picture upside down, you will see new lines, shapes and colors you may not have seen before. It is the same picture, just a new perspective.
It is beneficial to go upside down once a day so as to see your world in a new way. We are all afraid to go or look at things upside down at first. This is because it can be scary to see things differently. Fear keeps us from going upside down. But we need to remember that we are all in the same boat, the same world, the same community. We all want to see and feel things in peace, love and happiness. Embrace the change. The change you want for the better. Acknowledge the picture upside down, and share the different angles and stories that may exist and stabilize our foundation. Create with art, create with music, create with words, create with yoga. Create and share.
Guru Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati used to say, " the world is upside down and yoga will set it straight"
"A cluster of fireworks that girl" Artist Aya Takano , 2003.
That girl is practicing Vrksasana. Also known as tree pose. It strengthens the ankles and thighs, improves your sense of balance, can reduce flat feet and stretches the inner thighs, groin, chest and shoulders.
Tree pose will help you feel balanced, centered and strong. Balancing poses give us a sense of confidence and truth that helps us to remove the masks we sometimes hide behind. As everything, start slow. Maybe you only bring your foot below the knee to find where you need centering and strength. As you progress, you will find yourself standing strong, tall and rooted in the ground.
Finding balance within ourselves will naturally bring out bursts of color and reveal our true self. Do your best to focus within as you practice tree pose. Find the roots of yourself connecting to the earth, growing day by day as you practice gently and lovingly so as to grow in time.
Practice, Create, grow, reveal yourself.
"You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with kell and Arella" Artist Del Kathryn Barton
Kathryn is practicing Utkata Konasana. Also known as fierce angle or Goddess Pose. It stretches the hips and groin, tones the core muscles, strengthens the quads and inner thighs, heats the body and prepares it for childbirth by allowing more room in the pelvic area. "This painting celebrates the love I have for my two children and how my relationship with them has radically informed and indeed transformed my understanding of who I am." -Del Kathryn Barton
Goddess pose builds mental and physical strength. It teaches us where our strengths and weaknesses lie within our body mentally and physically. It is known as the feminine force that created the universe. With the help of deep breathing, practicing the pose allows the hips and chest to open, bringing energy to flow freely building strength and power. Like all poses it is important to do our best to practice correctly to get the full benefits so as not to create injury over time.
I am in awe of all mothers who devote their lives to another. It takes mental and physical strength and of course unconditional love to do such things. We all learn from our mother. Our true goddess.
Happiest of Mother's Day to all the goddess mamas.
Peace, Peace, Peace.
"Arching man" By artist Alexander Calder 1929 Wire and paint
"Above all, art should be fun." -Alexander Calder
Arching man is practicing Urdvha Dhanurasana. Also known as upward facing bow or wheel pose. It stretches the chest, quads, abs and hip flexors, strengthens the wrists and arms, gives you energy, and is beneficial for asthma and infertility.
It is important to warm up the spine before coming into the full pose. It is also very important to warm up the quads and hip flexors.
When working with wire it is important to work slowly and loosely. If you are heavy or tight when working with hands or tools, the wire may get overworked. If the wire is overworked it hardens and can become so brittle that it breaks. Same principle with our bodies. Start slow, stay at ease and smile.
Wheel is playful and can bring us back to our childhood. A time when we saw the world with open eyes, and could see ourselves achieve anything. Calder has said, "The underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the universe, or part thereof...." Allow yourself to smile and open yourself to the universe today. Above all, yoga should be fun. :)
"Sitting feminine act 2" by Artist Egon Schiele
Woman is practing Baddha Konasana. Also known as bound angle or cobbler pose. Bound angle opens the hips, lengthens the spine, and stimulates the nervous system as well as the reproductive system.
It is important to keep the back flat and chest open. Using your breathe to help elongate your spine, press down through the hips and allow the crown of the head to reach up to the sky. -This woman would really benefit by placing a folded blanket under her hip/sit bones. The pose requires some strength in the back muscles, core and outer thighs. The core is actually playing a part in helping not round the back or drop the shoulders. The back muscles help to keep the spine lifted. The hip and thigh muscles if weak, will limit our ability to allow the knees to fall outward. It may be that your body is just made up in a way that makes the pose more difficult. There are many people that have never practiced yoga before and can easily fall into poses we have been working on for years.
Our bodies are all made up differently. Regardless of our limitation, we make such beautiful shapes and effort however we move our bodies. Our starting place is just as beautiful as our progress. I mean, look how gorgeous this woman is in her pose. Color, line, energy and shape. Whatever lines, shapes and colors you make today,
Walking Man is practicing Tantric Walking. Tantric Walking effects the way energy moves in your body. It is all about learning to walk correctly. When we walk in the proper manner, it balances all of the main chakras, as each chakra is related to certain parts of the foot. Our feet are our foundation. It all starts here. This is why the positioning of our feet when we walk will effect the way the energy moves in your body.
The middle of your heel is related to the base or root chakra, Muladhara chakra. It is our center and or source of power for the physical body. The outside of the heel is linked to the sacral chakra, Svadhishthana. It is our sense of movement, and our need to take action. The outer arch of the foot is related to the lumbar curve, our Manipura Chakra. This is where our fire burns, associated with confidence or lack there of. The ball of the foot is related to our heart, Anahata Chakra. So, as you walk you should feel a sense of lifting up, associated with the air. The toes correspond to the throat, Vishuddha chakra. It is the space between our individual and universal spirit. A space of creativity, intuition and inspiration. In relation to walking, it is what allows us to move forward into space.
Giacometti's Walking Man represents the isolation a man has in relation to, and existence in space, as we walk among each other, yet alone. This work revolved around Existentialism. Existentialism, is about finding the individual self and the meaning of life through personal responsibility, choice and free will. It is a journey for the true self and meaning of life.
The world will undoubtedly throw unpleasant things at us, but we are responsible for our own experience in this world. In our approach to yoga, we want to practice confidence, letting go, compassion, finding the real identity of body and mind through non-attachment. In other words, don't allow the mind to take over the body. We must allow the body and mind to work together. Our thoughts come from the past and are coming out because it wants too. Allow the thoughts to leave. We have this need to hold on to our thoughts with attachment to grief, happiness, or anger. Whatever it may be, let it go. Acknowledge it, and let it go.
Practice Walking. Use tantric walking as a meditation to balance the energies in the body, and to become aware of how our mind affects our posture. To find balance in the chakras, start with the heel of the foot connecting to the ground, then roll onto the outer arch, ball of the foot and finally spring off the toes. Focus on the energy that moves from the ground, traveling up to the crown of the head. Become aware of your thoughts. As they come up, see it, acknowledge it, and let it pass as you move onto the next step. Moving forward, allow your foundation (earth), motivation (water), confidence, (fire), love, (air) and communication (space) within you balance. Practice non-attachment. Whatever you are is from your own effort. We are given a chance over and over again, but always start on our own. As everything, it is a constant practice and an infinite journey. Try to practice as often and as needed.
Give Tantric walking a try, and on your next walk about I wish you Peace, Peace, Peace.
*Great source/book for information on the chakras and tantric walking: "Chakra Yoga Balancing energy for Physical, spiritual and mental well-being" By Alan Finger with Katrina Repka
School of Fontainebleau-"Portrait of Gabrielle D'Estrees and the Duchesse De Villars".
Ladies are Practicing the Jnana and or chin mudra. When fingers point up it is called Jnana, when fingers point down towards the earth it is called chin mudra. You allow the tips of the thumb and index finger to touch each other and extend your other fingers. It is a passive receiving position. It is one of the best known hand positions of Hatha yoga. The gesture symbolizes the connection of human consciousness. The shape of the circle made by the index finger and thumb represent one of the many goals of yoga, which is the unification of the individual soul and the world soul. It helps improve mental tension and stimulates concentration.
Practice as you like. See as you like. You will see what you practice, and you will practice what you see.
"Madonna and child" Artist Fillipo Lippi Italian ca.1406-1469
Baby Jesus is practicing Warrior 1 or virabhadrasana 1. The pose improves focus, stability and balance. It opens the hips, chest and lungs. Strengthens arms, shoulders, legs, ankles and back. It generally energizes the whole body. There are many variations of Warrior 1. Baby Jesus is working on one of them, As Madonna gently helps with adjustments. There is love, grace and dedication in everyone's practice regardless of what goal or beliefs we may have.....
Peace, peace, peace.
"The old guitarist" Artist Pablo Picaso 1903
The old guitarist is practicing sukhasana or easy pose. It is meant to be an easy and comfortable position for practicing meditation. This pose is grounding as it opens the hips, stretches the ankles, lengthens the spine and promotes inner calm. It's a great pose to practice mudras while meditating. The old guitarist has chosen his guitar as his meditation, vibration and mudra. Make your practice your own. There is no right or wrong in yoga. Just allow yourself to learn, grow and practice. Om shantih.
"Untitled" Artist Mark Ryden pencil on paper.
Girl is practicing Vajrasana. Also known as thunderbolt, diamond or pelvic pose. This drawing demonstrates the pose in a magical way which is perfect, because it is a magical pose! Vajrasana helps digestion, fights stomach disorder, helps the lower body become more flexible, helps strengthen the sexual organs, combats acidity, helps with circulation and may even act as a painkiller for certain arthritis issues. This is A lot to claim for such a simple pose. But I believe this drawing helps us step into the ethereal world, which is an important place to be in understanding the possibilities of ourselves.
Step outside yourself today and become a witness of yourself and this strange and magical place we live in.
Statues in the Zagreb Museum Of Contemporary Art
These Statues are practicing arm extension at the wall. It is a great way to help you feel the proper rotation of arms and position of the shoulders and neck. The practice is meant to help see how the position of the shoulder girdle affects the head and neck.
This is a great practice for downward dog since the shoulder girdle acts as the base of support. Here, the statues decided to practice with their arms a little farther apart than usual. This is ok, as its great to explore different positioning for your body. Take the time to find what works best for you. Asana practice is about exploring and getting to know your body from the inside and out as you find a body mind connection.
Artist Yue Minjun
Yue Minjun is practicing the final phase of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or Hand to big toe pose. This pose requires a strong core, open hamstrings, and a solid foundation for balance. But the most important part of this pose is breathe. If you go into this pose without the proper awareness of your breathe and foundation, all stability is lost.
This mentality is important to take off the Matt as well. We have a tendency to go after things so fast. As Yue Minjun has said, "just slow down a bit maybe, so as to let people catch up with the same pace and so as to live in a rather stable way. Going to fast would just make people lose balance, and somehow feel being abandoned and isolated, which is not good to the society as a whole." Minjun was referring to his country's pace of social change, but his words can be applied to many aspects of life.
Take the time to slow down, breathe, and do your best to become aware of the environment you live in. Accept change, embrace change or be a part of the change. Whatever it may be,
Peace, Peace, Peace.
*Source : "what's behind the grin of Yue Minjun?" April, 7 2010. CNN.com Part of complete coverage on talk Asia.
"Cutest Kids collection" Artist Frank Morrison
Kid is practicing Viparita Karani asana or Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. It is considered a restorative pose. It is a supported and passive variation of shoulder stand. Great for headaches, anxiety, insomnia, varicose veins, mild depression and urinary disorders. If you have been standing on your feet all day, this is a go to pose to help tired feet, legs and minor back pains.
Best practiced for 5 to 15 minutes. So put your feet up, grab a book and soften into your weekend with one of the best poses out there, Viparita Karani.
Don't forget to breathe, and allow the blood and energy from your legs reach your heart to help start stimulate that creativity and passion that flows inside us all.
"Shadow" Sculpture/performance piece by Artist Rook Floro
The Shadow is practicing Tadasana also known as Mountain pose or Samasthiti. It is the foundation of all standing poses. If practicing correctly, it can improve posture, strengthen ankles and knees, reduce flat feet and firm up the abdomen and behind.
As there are certain things to look out for when practicing Tadasana, remember that we are all made up differently so there is no perfect picture to Tadasana.
In remarks to His own piece, Floro has stated, "it represents my "shadow" which represents my hidden desires to be different and become perfect in my own right. We always feel the pressure to be perfect by everything around us such as the media, social network, advertisement, friends and family." Floro's words can be put into context for all of our yoga poses, especially Tadasana. Tadasana is our foundation. It is the root of what makes us stand tall, firm and ready for the next thing/pose to come. It is our centering. Our place to come back to and check in. It is important to find the proper alignment for you. Your picture "perfect" Tadasana may look different than the person next to you. And your idea of "perfect" may be different than the other. Point being, there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is where you are at this point and time.
*If you are unable to stand, you can practice Tadasana in a chair as seen in the art above. There are always variations.
Picture source and quote from : mymodernmet.com "sitting here casting my shadow" by Eugene Kim, September 21, 2011.
"Richard" Artist, Alice Neal (1969)
Richard is practicing Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or one legged pigeon pose in a chair. Seated pigeon is a great pose for those with tight hips and can be practiced anywhere including your office chair. If you really wanted to, you could practice a whole yoga sequence in your chair while at work.
Chair yoga can be done with any ole yoga pose. It's a great way to adapt, modify or get a feel for a new pose. If you have an injury, or any kind of chronic condition, you can still reap the benefits of yoga by practicing in a chair.
Chair yoga is a wonderful place to start your practice if you lead a busy lifestyle, you want to start slow or are unable to practice standing or on the floor. There is always a way for us to practice. Important thing is to give it a try. You might like it:)
"Self portrait -Fiesole" , 1948 by Artist Oskar Kokoschka "Consciousness is a sea ringed with visions"-Oskar Kokoschka
Kokoschka is practicing self awareness. Yoga is body, mind, and breathe. Awareness of these parts of our being will bring us into the present moment. Yoga will maintain the body physically, but it is important to take all aspects of ourself and practice Finding our true inner self. "I used to be too subjective, and I was always tempted to find my inner self in the exterior and dissipate my imagination on other people and on life." -Oskar Kokoschka
Take time just a few minutes a day to look inward and see where you are at in the present moment. Become a witness of yourself in action, breathe and mind. Take the time to listen to yourself and others. Stop and actually listen to yourself talk, and stop and listen to hear and see the responder. Become aware of cause and effect. This is in regards to your response and to what you cause. Become a witness, become you. And remember everything is an illusion. What I see, may not be what you see. We make our own reality. So take the time to step outside your body to look inside. However you view yourself today,