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Why Paint Yoga?

The concept of Paint Yoga is to provide the students with a classroom, supplies, and open ended instruction so that they can independently explore their creativity through artistic expression. I came up with the initial image of "PAINT YOGA" during a meditation guided by instructors at the school where I earned my teaching certification, Yoga Farm. Initially I wasn't even really sure what it meant, I knew that I wanted to combine painting and yoga, but how?!: could it be doing yoga in paint like mud wrestling? how about painting while holding elaborate postures??? Wait a second! Why look at "yoga" as the fashion and fitness industries want us to see it; as nothing more than another means of body sculpting.

Many people, here in the U.S. at least, think of yoga as "aerobics light" or "deep stretching," but there are many limbs to the tree that unites all. Because Sanskrit language can make some people uncomfortable, many yoga teachers only use it sparingly in our classes, and I think that contributes to the misunderstanding. Jnana yoga is a yoga of study and self-exploration that can be as rewarding as it is sometimes difficult and painful. Bhakti yoga is the yoga of dedication, and can relatively quickly induce ecstatic elation. What I hope to facilitate in my students in a Paint Yoga class is the connection to an inner friend. I hope participants will find a pleasant internal dialogue as we move slowly and mindfully through the activity.

Many members of my family have attended at least some Montessori accredited school in their lifetime. That may be one of the reasons that yoga education has become one of my greatest passions because they share a focus on the preparation of the learning environment. The "prepared environment" is Maria Montessori's concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child." I aim to facilitate my students' learning and exploration their inner and manifested self independently through the practice of yoga.

In addition my credentials and certifications, I have spent a large part of my life painting and making a variety of artforms. I have attended a variety of figure drawing, water color, or other classes outside of formal schooling through the years, but I hadn't really been a student of any sort of art instruction in many. Looking for something to do together with my teenager, I signed us up for a painting class. The course was 4 or 5 classes, 3 hours each session. I expected a relaxing and educational activity, and it was for the most part, but there was one class when the teachers lack of preparation led to my extreme discomfort and might I add, embarrassment...

Several of us waited nearly half and hour into the class time by a locked door, and when she finally began to wonder why most of her class was absent on the penultimate meeting, the teacher seemed to me to imply that all of us waiting by the front door, after checking the public back door of the building, should have known about the teacher's entrance that they had used. Then the classroom wasn't even set up - she wanted a table moved. This table, heavy and with metal legs, was being dragged by another student across a concrete floor - this made a sound I didn't like, so I offered to help pick up the table to move it. The teacher was concerned for my back, but not for the discomfort of my ears, and said something like "if you don't like it leave." That phrase is triggering to me, so I slammed some stuff about as I stormed off... That is not the way I hope to feel when going to a class that I'd purchased as a means to bond with my child :(

Even though my behavior was not acceptable, I hope that I've learned how to facilitate an experience rather than just teach a curriculum. And I hope you'll let me share that learning with you at the next Paint Yoga class on Sunday January 6th from 3-5:45 PM. Tickets include all of your supplies for an interactive piece of modern art for your walls as well as an environment prepared and cleared away for your convenience and relaxation, and are on sale until 11:30 PM tonight, January 2nd here: I look forward to seeing you soon!

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