Do you ever feel like you learn more from those you are teaching?

yellow_1On Sunday I had the opportunity to host a group of art enthusiasts at The Arts Building for Art & Yoga Workshops.

We practiced some yoga, dabbled in some drawing exercises and pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones while exploring colour and paint.

I’m amazed at the courage these people displayed and their willingness to let go of the outcome and PLAY!

By the end of the day I felt tired but at the same time it seemed that every cell in my body was doing the happy dance – energized by the experience.

demoAnd yes, me, the teacher, learned so much in the process.

The Divine in me, bows deeply to the Divine in all of you,

Namaste

 

 

Sorry you missed it?  While I can only host large groups from time to time, I’ve set up my home studio to offer private sessions.  If you are intrigued – follow this link.

 

I woke up with that crazy bubbly feeling . .

I woke up with that crazy bubbly feeling . . . like those butterflies when you are first falling in love.

It has happened two mornings in a row and for no particular reason – just an accumulation of events, people, happenings, I guess I’m just that excited to be part of so many things.  Excited to create the day, to make stuff, connect with others, move forward …   crazy, like I’m falling in love with life.

I know the other days well enough, but I’ll take these ones as a sign that whatever I’m doing, focusing on, whatever I’m dreaming, whatever attitude I’m operating with is working well for me.  I’ve got a little bounce in my step and I feel light.

I think subconsciously this question has created some small but significant shifts….

I’ve been asked a few times this past year (at workshops, in books) to imagine that I have a documentary film crew or a keen teenager following me around for the day – How would I spend my time?  How do I create my day?

Here’s a snapshot of Marlene’s perfect day:

  • Up early – Hot Shower
  • Lemon tea (hot water & lemon juice from ½ lemon)
  • Meditation & Journaling (on my biomat, by my picture window looking out at the mountains & the ocean – pinch me).
  • Teach & Practice Yoga (with lovely souls – we drink tea and laugh often).
  • Breakfast & My 1st coffee – this is an event to be celebrated because it is made by my husband, Patrick and it is divine.
  • Go down to my Studio
  • Paint and drink tea, repeat, repeat, repeat…
  • Return upstairs (to my fireplace, friendly cats, more tea & family)
  • Write, plan and dream a little
  • Check in with emails & in with the virtual world (FB, Instagram, Pinterest & all those fun people out there doing amazing things that inspire me daily).
  • A few chores and dinner prep (who am I kidding – Patrick is the chef) I clean up
  • Spend time with my people – a little hike or canoe, or maybe a TED talk…
  • Unwind with a good book (in the bath)
  • Early bed

Now, this is NOT how I spend every day but I’m taking the small steps, making the little shifts and I’ve had few days like this one. Yippee!

How would you spend your day?  What needs to shift so that you too can fall in love?

 

Can I be of assistance?

 

Meditation – I made a 5 minute offering – it is a big file so expect a long download, time it out with your coffee :).

Do you just need to play? – Come Paint with Me ….

Patrick’s coffee?? – I’d have to work on that one!

Books I’m reading (I always have several on the go) recently read or are waiting for me:

  • Fear – Thich Naht Hahn
  • Die Empty – Todd Henry
  • The Art of Communicating – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Rise – Sarah Lewis
  • Show Your Work – Austin Kleon (Steal Like An Artist is great too)
  • Emily Carr (Collected)
  • The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Field – Lynne McTaggart
  • You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness – Jen Sincero (my 17 year old daughter gave this to me!)

 

Please post your book list, I love collecting recommendations.  I’d also like to hear about your “shifts” – what do you do, how are you committed to creating your day?

Namaste.

Marlene

 

 

Keeping it personal – my top 5 reasons why I practice & teach yoga …

Plank poseI know if you “google” or research the benefits of yoga online or at your library, you will find thousands (I mean 100s of thousands) of websites, books, studies, and opinions.  I’ll keep it personal and share with you my top five reasons why I practice and teach:

  1. Connection to My Body – I’ve tried all sorts of other “activities” and sports in my life and while I enjoy them, yoga is like no other.  It leaves no stone unturned so that my practice mobilizes my joints, (even my toes), strengthens and lengthens my muscles, develops my balance, deepens my core strength and has given me a gateway back to the wisdom of my body – a path to my intuition.
  2. Conscious Breathing – Nothing fancy here, I’ve just developed a more mindful, slower, and deeper breath that I can turn to even when I’m not on my mat to help me deal with stress and remain centred (even while driving or in the grocery store line up)!
  3. Confidence – I still can’t believe sometimes that I walk around in yoga pants!  I just feel so much more comfortable in my own skin!  Yoga has challenged me to come face to face with all my insecurities – physical and emotional.  Slowly, one at a time, I have learned to let go, accept vulnerability and even become at ease with it.  I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with not being perfect and I’ve come to love being human instead!
  4. Community – The yoga community is so welcoming.  I have met some of the most amazing people, side by side in a class, at teacher trainings and workshops and most of all in our classes.  I feel so honoured to lead people through their practice.  Our community is filled with people from all age groups and all walks of life, our practice is our common ground.  I’ve witnessed amazing friendships develop and well, we laugh much of the time too!
  5. Commitment – I have always been a bit restless, (I’m a Sag) wanting to try this, taste that, travel here, and I’m often tempted by new and exciting opportunities.  Yoga has been my anchor.  While I still have the desire to learn and grow, my practice has given me the discipline that I have so wanted and needed allowing the other parts of my life to whirl around – I remain centred.  This commitment has grown in strength and spread to my art and my life as a mother, business partner, and wife.

If you simplify all of the above and explore a little deeper, you will find that they all lead back to the same message; knowing myself better, being confident with who I am and what I have to offer and ultimately having the strength and courage to share.

Namaste

Marlene

 

Interested in splattering paint around while in your yoga pants?  Join us!

10 surprisingly easy ways to enjoy a stress-free holidays.

Be playful and exercise your creativity!  Why?  Read on to learn how creative play can banish stress and make your holidays a whole lot happier!

  1. Write a love letter – to your grandmother, your partner, your child – send it old school (in the mail) as a holiday card or even in an email with holiday greetings.  Tell them why you love them, thank them for being there for you – this will make you feel amazing and them too – studies show that writing letters of gratitude increases happiness!
  2. Sing – in the shower, in the car, let it rip, crank the tunes, plan a little carolling – come on you know you love them – singing is energizing, healing and a stress reducer and did you know that singing actually releases pain relieving endorphins.
  3. Make stuff – use your hands.  Hang out with kids and build some Lego spacecrafts – show them how it was done – before there were kits & instruction booklets, or get outside and build a snowman or a fort.  Research shows that using your hands to make things (especially playful, non “productive” stuff) helps decrease stress, relieves anxiety and depression.  Yippee!
  4. Read – reach for some feel good reads.  And try, READING OUT LOUD – even adults love to hear a story read to them. Infuse your voice in those holiday favourites for the family or try curling up with something saucy & that special someone (Santa-baby!)  Along with the countless benefits of reading – reading out loud creates stronger bonds between you and your loved ones.
  5. Doodle – it’s o.k. – science backs it up – doodling is actually good for you.  It can stimulate creative thinking, whole-brain thinking and help build a variety of pathways for problem solving.  Maybe you can turn your funky designs into some wrapping paper or a holiday card.  Here’s a great TED Talk on the subject featuring doodling guru Sunni Brown. (I was so inspired writing this article – I made “colouring pages” for you!)
  6. Let’s Dance!  Dancing, yoga, and Nia are a wonderful outlets for your creativity!  We know that moving our bodies improves our physical health but research is pointing to further health benefits, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, which equals a greater sense of well-being. Sign up for some classes as a gift for yourself and/or a loved one, go out on a dancing date or two this season and blast the tunes in the living room with the whole family!  If you are on the Sunshine Coast, I offer yoga classes and my dear friend, Jan Jensen is a superb Nia instructor!  See you on the dance floor!
  7. Take that hard to buy for someone out on an Art-Inspired Date!  Stressed about finding the perfect thing?  Switch it up and make a date to spend time with a loved one instead – tour local galleries or artist studios add coffee/tea & a treat – wah lah the perfect gift!  Viewing artwork is inspiring, creates interesting dialogue and helps you stay in the present moment – a sweet reprieve.  If you are on the Sunshine Coast, you can visit the Gibsons Public Art Gallery, the Sunshine Coast Art Centre or look up studios on the Purple Banner Tour (membership to public galleries also makes a thoughtful gift).
  8. Colour – Yup.  Science says “The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.” Colouring books for big people are a fad that is here to stay!  I’ve turned some of my doodles into a coloring book – treat yourself to a box of crayons and relaaax!
  9. colouringphoto_18Plan an Arts & Crafts session – this is a fun way to play with friends and family – create 2015 Vision Boards using magazine images & collage or make a collaborative canvas, everyone adds to the masterpiece.  Spending time together playing is an invaluable gift to give.  A little intimidated?  I offer workshops  – gift yourself and friend – come play.
  10. Eat really dark chocolate – this has nothing to do with creativity but I read that really dark chocolate has all sorts of health benefits and that it can reduce your stress hormones – enjoy! – p.s.  A favourite chocolatier of mine.

Wishing you a playful, joyous, happy and relaxing holiday season!

What do you do to destress?  How do you play over the holidays?  Please share to inspire the rest of us!

My Sources (some really interesting stuff!)

Books:

Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

Creative Confidence – David Kelley & Tom Kelley

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – Betty Edwards

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Articles:

“The health benefits of love letters and kindness” – Victoria Batacan

“Life-Affirming Benefits of Singing – Vocalizing Promotes Well Being” – Patty Mills

The Creativity Cure, A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness” – Carrie Barron, M.D.

“Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress” – The Huffington Post | By Elena Santos

“Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter” – Richard Powers

TED Talks:

Doodlers, Unite! – Sunni Brown

How to Build Your Creative Confidence – David Kelley – founder IDEO & d.school Stanford University