1,000 Words in One Picture: Art + Yoga = Voice

“Art + Yoga Wellness seems really cool, but I’m not an artist. Even my stick figures look weird.”

Does that sound familiar? Are you thinking it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I hear this nearly every time I talk about my program. Let’s explore how making line art at Art + Yoga Wellness supports your yoga practice, and why it’s so much fun. You’ll learn that you can be an artist, after all!

We begin every Art + Yoga Wellness practice with line art. We might choose to draw the general sensation of a strong feeling; we might use stick figures to name where and how we experience the physical sensation; or we might create a drawing of how we felt in one situation.

We begin every Art + Yoga Wellness practice with line art. We might choose to draw the general sensation of a strong feeling; we might use stick figures to name where and how we experience the physical sensation; or we might create a drawing of how we felt in one situation.

Your Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

We all know the saying, and it’s true.  Line art offers us a special way to identify and express ourselves. We use it to sort out and solve complex real-life issues and emotions. We start by selecting one or two colors that represent what we’re thinking (or feeling). Then, we make lines and shapes. We might add a few words to further clarify the drawing. It’s totally ok to make scribbles, stick figures, or graphs.

Here are two examples of how line art provides voice:

  • Line art helps us sort out, identify, and talk about our most confusing emotions. When we have conflicted, mixed or very strong feelings, our drawings help us move them out of our heads and onto paper, where they feel less intense and are much easier to discuss.
  • Our drawings help us strengthen our gut instincts. Whether you call it intuition, your Little Inner Voice, or that ‘gut feeling’, yoga helps us connect with it. Line art gives it expression without overanalyzing. Once it’s on paper and before us, we use special journaling techniques to explore the drawing further. People often report that this helps them feel connected to a higher power or wiser part of themselves. In truth, they’re connecting with themselves beyond the everyday level of conscious awareness.
After a gentle yoga practice, we complete another drawing. After observing the two drawings, we complete a series of journal questions.

After a gentle yoga practice, we complete another drawing. After observing the two drawings, we complete a series of journal questions.

The Art + Yoga process is fun. There is no right or wrong way to draw, and there is no competition for best artwork. Even if we’re feeling bad, it feels good to have our emotions witnessed as we see them on the paper. The “inner voice” wisdom piece that we connect with as we journal is typically reassuring, and with regular use it can be transformative.

Seeing is Believing

In the practice of Art + Yoga Wellness, we create line art before and after a gentle yoga practice. The result? Most people are surprised to see the emotional and physical shifts that occur through even the simplest of yoga sequences. It really is empowering when we literally, on paper, see how much a little bit of yoga makes a difference. It’s one thing to know that yoga is supposed to be good for us. It’s quite another to see it for ourselves as an artistic expression!

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Jodi Gonzales ATR, NCC, RYT200 is a credentialed art therapist, counselor and yoga instructor. She is the creator of Art + Yoga Wellness, a powerful program that provides effective tools for improving resilience, including emotional and physical health. Jodi offers presentations and group workshops both in-person and on-line. To learn about how Art + Yoga Wellness will benefit you or your organization, contact Jodi at shift@artyogawellness.com or 520-276-1878. Current events and workshops are posted at http://artyogawellness.com/events/ and on Facebook.