Creativity and Yoga

Exploring the Creative Process: Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center on Maui

Minor White

Minor White, left: Tom Murphy, SF, 1948. right: Cypress Grove Trail, Point Lobos, California 1951. © Trustees of Princeton University

Laura and I are currently planning our Creativity and Yoga workshops for later this month at Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center on Maui. And we are asking the question: what serves what? Are we using yoga to stimulate creativity, or are we using creativity to assist in one’s yoga practice. The answer is neither and both. Both disciplines are equal and deserve not to be subservient to each other. Yoga, at its roots, means union and the “bringing together of the fragmented self. And creativity, as a practice, necessitates a deep union with the whole of oneself, delving deeper into one’s body, mind, feelings and intuition in order to allow oneself to become a vehicle for artistic inspiration and expression. And, artistic innovation can take place in any area of our life that we approach with care and attention.

To become an artist of life is an aim worthy of our humanity. Cooking, gardening, relating with others, addressing the challenges of our occupations, teaching, waiting tables, or advancing one’s business can all be creative acts. The specific nature of one’s activities is not nearly as important as how they are approached. Can we approach life itself as a creative challenge, through the medium of whatever it is that we do on a daily basis?

Seeking the wellspring of creativity and approaching the potential inner union available through yoga are not merely compatible actions; rather, they form aspects of the same large aim: the search for the essential self.

What is the connecting thread? The answer lies embedded in the larger dimensions of both yoga and creativity: both ask for an authentic search into the core of one’s being, to seek and cultivate a broader awareness, and to directly meet the many resistances within oneself

Cultivating seeing becomes the bridge between yoga and creativity. We are asked to learn to see what is. In the art studio and on the yoga mat, we noticed that the initial steps for most people involve both the excitement of making new discoveries about oneself and a poignant sense of something missing, a kind of remorse over the absence of a durable connection to the sources of creativity and inner attention that are the aims of both art and yoga. We begin with the recognition that something is possible but presently eludes usawareness, wholeness, attention, or compassion. Individuals in the classes observed and admitted a fragmentation of mind and body that brought to the forefront many rapidly changing inner conditions that hindered a creative response,

Yet it is in the recognition of our inability and in the sincere effort where illumination can occur. We found in the classes that we have taught in the past that through meeting one’s own fragmentation and staying with it, striving in spite of our lack of wholeness, moments arose where something of our essential being can shine through—and this can take place both on the yoga mat and in the art studio as long as one is willing to encounter oneself. Moments of creative illumination can and do occur in ways that come as a surprise, that reflect something of our innate being, and give rise to a profound, creative interaction simultaneously with the world and with ourselves.

Please join us on Maui if you can.

Following the Creativity and Yoga workshop, I’ll be teaching a two-day photography workshop devoted to discovering your unique vision—your distinctive manner of seeing—and to more fully conveying your artistic intent through creative camera controls and post-processing.

Creativity & Yoga: Exploring the Creative Process with Visiting Artists David Ulrich & Laura Dunn

Through classroom exercises, short yoga sessions (open to all fitness levels), lectures, actual creation of artwork, and sharing of individual experiences, participants will come to a greater understanding of the psychology of creativity and how to access it more deeply in their particular disciplines. The goal of this class is to offer a greater theoretical and practical knowledge of creativity and genuine innovation. A series of proven creative exercises and basic yoga poses and principles will be introduced to assist individuals in accessing their “wellspring of creativity.”
Friday, Sept 28, 10am-4pm

The Photographic Vision: The Next Step with Visiting Artists David Ulrich

This workshop explores ways and means of making photographic images that grow directly from your distinctive manner of seeing, and then digitally editing those images to fully convey your artistic intent. This two-day workshop combines field-work in photography, creative and technical exercises, digital editing of images for expressive results, and critique/response. The goal is to inspire and excite participants towards a creative response to the world—and to learn to make compelling and unique images. Learning to see with a camera will be emphasized. Prerequisite: A basic knowledge of camera use.
Sat?Sun, Sept 29-30, 10am-4pm

Free Public Lecture: 100 Images: Four Decades of Photography

Join us for an evening of spectacular sights! David Ulrich will share photographs from his archives from 1971-2011, including images from his 10 years on Maui.
Thursday, Sept 27, 5:30-6:30pm

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