Yoga & Creativity – My Two Cents
You may have come here to learn more about my yoga teaching. Or you may have come here to see if I’ll teach a creativity workshop based on my books. To me, they are increasingly close kin. If you want Jennifer the Yogi, you also get Jennifer the Creative. And likewise, when I teach writing, I drop in movement and breath.
So a little bit about how I came to my current approach… I have been practicing yoga for more than half my life. For me it is one of the best ways to arrive in the body and to get out of the mind. The juiciest creative moments often occur when we are far away from that bowling ball we carry on top of our shoulders – hiking in the woods, dancing, or napping in a hammock.
Yes, yoga feels great and can make you stronger and more flexible. But to me it is most useful as a transformative practice. Yoga offers tools that range from the breath to meditation and from devotional practice to balance, all of which we can lean into in our everyday lives.
The longer you practice and the deeper you explore the yogic path, the more you respect it as a complex palette with which to create and transform yourself. Yoga makes us better partners and parents. It adds vitality while also grounding us. Its iterations are endless.
And iteration is where it’s at!! As a creative explorer, I love to play with yoga and see how to coax it beyond the 3 x 5 space of the mat. How do we get beyond the yoga studio with its whiff of Jane Fonda and its siren call of perfection? This is where yoga – true yoga – is headed: off the mat, into the playful field of transformation.
As anyone who has taught knows, it is very humbling to stand in front of a group and take on the guise of wisdom holder. It is also a great learning experience. You really have to come face to face with your own deficiencies or false expectations. Through the weekly opportunity of leading others in yoga, I have come to peace with no longer having much interest in conquering some of yoga’s more difficult poses – something my ego used to think was necessary to be “advanced.” I now believe the most advanced yoga occurs in finding stillness. Yes, we often need to move in order to get there – release energy, loosen muscles, let the mind relax – but eventually being able to find quiet is why I return to my mat and also what I hope to share with my students.
One of my yoga students graciously offered this description of my teaching: “The soothing, mindful pace of her classes means that students must, eventually if not immediately, arrive at themselves. Jennifer’s classes balance work and release, with heavy emphasis on each student attuning to their own needs, and honoring them with loving- kindness.”
As a writer, I think that one of my strengths in the yoga studio is the language that I bring to class. Evocative metaphors and imagery help students to better understand poses and concepts. I also very much enjoy bringing music into the studio and play everything from Kirtan to Greg Brown, the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, and Bach.
Following the subheadings to see my menu of workshops and talks, as well as my current yoga teaching schedule.