The Value of Combining Art & Yoga
By: Katie Hovde
Cover Photo by: Marcus Wallis
Yoga is one of the most beautiful ways to exercise your mind, body, and spirit. The shapes the body can take, the euphoric bliss that comes over you at the end of an intense class; that’s art in its most simple and divine form. Because yoga is an art-form in and out of itself, it is the perfect candidate for multi-disciplinary artistic expression. Different art forms will offer different types of benefits. I’m excited to share some of my favorite ways to incorporate traditional art into my yoga practice.
I always begin my practice with a poem. Lately I have been reading a lot of Percy Bysshe Shelley and other romantic poets. Focusing on a poem before my practice helps me to grab my thoughts in one hand and ground myself in the present moment before my practice begins. Yoga begins first with the mind and the physical aspects will follow suit. This time to ground myself and prepare my mind is not only valuable, but crucial to my practice; as my mind is going a million miles per hour during every other part of my day.
The music that is playing has a profound impact on the nature of my practice. Personally I don’t prefer music with lyrics unless I can relate the lyrics to my practice. “You Can’t Rush Your Healing” by Trevor Hall is a wonderful example of lyrical music that keeps me present in my practice because I can directly relate the healing power of yoga to what the song is about. “Someone New” by Banks is one of my favorite songs, but not great for my yoga practice because I get caught up in the song and have a hard time staying present for myself; mostly because I’m too busy processing a break up I never had during that song. I also find that sometimes EDM or even metal can keep me really focused in the more active and fast paced parts of my practice. I know that sounds strange and probably unappealing, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. You’ll be surprised what it can do for your focus!
An artform I have been experimenting with in my practice recently is dance! I love to dance, and as a musician I can’t help but move when I’m feeling the music. When I allow myself the space and freedom to dance in my practice, it keeps me loose, and more importantly, keeps me from falling into the trap of taking myself too seriously. After all, we do yoga because it’s fun and it feels good! The same can be said for poetry, music, and dance.
Give it a shot! Try experimenting with things you have never thought about incorporating into your practice. Maybe wear an outfit that expresses how you are feeling that day, or make weird noises during your practice! Just express. Find the value of the art that lies inside of you and let it make its way onto your mat. I leave you with this quote from “Hymn of Apollo” by Percy Bysshe Shelley: “I am the eye with which the Universe Beholds itself, and knows it is divine; All harmony of instrument or verse, all prophecy, all medicine, is mine. All light of art or nature; - to my song Victory and praise in its own right belong.”