When I was in my early twenties I lived in Italy for several years, and it was there that I began to be more conscious of the mind-body-spirit connection. I had a friend who was a physician and dance instructor. She beautifully integrated the emotional and the scientific in her very being: body as both an expressive tool as well as a scientific organism of systems and processes.
In our own stories of pain, we all had blockages of the mind-body-spirit-connection
When that class ended I took every adult beginner dance class I could find: contemporary, ballet, Latin, and also some yoga classes. After three or four years, I entered graduate school for an MFA in painting, and no longer had money for dance classes. I found other ways to minister to my body: going to the gym, attending dance performances at the University (student tix!) and I also began to attend a free yoga class held twice-weekly at the Student Health Center.
And there it is again – the mind-body-spirit connection. The Student Health Center was investing in a yoga teacher to help keep the students sane, and hopefully decrease health difficulties (so many of which can be traced to STRESS). Over those two years I was able to memorize and bring home a basic enough yoga routine that I could practice at home, and I still do so to this day, ten years later.
To heal the whole person – mind, body AND spirit – you need to treat the whole person.
Through a very stressful time with a few anxiety attacks and some counseling, I found respite in routine movement and challenge of breathing, balance and strength found in the practice of yoga. In those years I realized it was pointless for me to work when I was over-tired: I should stop and eat if I was hungry, and drink if I was thirsty. If I was feeling stiff, I should go for a quick walk or workout.
It seems too obvious even to write – and yet so many of you know that in a competitive environment (whether that competitive drive is internal or external), it is very easy to push down those needs, to ignore your body, to the detriment of your physical and emotional health. Even as I write I can feel that sense of crowdedness and clouding in my head, a physical sensation that is more than just a jumble of thoughts but I found can only be released with the adrenaline of exercise. Awareness of my mind-body-spirit connection helps my work.
I always say that in my next life I will be a dancer (and my husband always scolds me, reminding me that I do not believe in reincarnation). But I do feel as if there is a part of me that hasn’t reached its potential – that still wants to dance. In this life, I have dedicated myself to the visual arts, and to the representation of the human figure in art. And when I see the model take a pose I follow the tension and relaxation fluidity and feel it in my own body, too.
Art creates sacred space
To celebrate this new series – the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Drawings – I am going to be giving away one of these mounted prints of a colorful yoga twist drawing. Until May 13 if you sign up or make a purchase, you will be automatically entered to win this 8×10 print, a retail value of $60. **Only Residents of US and Canada are eligible to win. Winner will be drawn randomly on May 17, 2017.