Over the past year I have been undergoing a Yoga Teacher Training towards my 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) Credential. I'm really interested in combining art therapy, mindfulness, and yoga in my work. Similarly to Mandalas, Yoga is all about centering and becoming more aware of oneself.
Over the weekend I finished the last of my required hours and completed a 14-hour training from the Vedic Conservatory on Thai Yoga and Bodywork. If any one has had the opportunity to experience bodywork or Thai massage, you know what a transformative practice it can be. I'm happy to be certified in Vedic Thai Bodywork and to be able to offer this ancient tradition for my family, loved ones, friends, and in my work with patients.
Within the workshop we learned about TRATAK MEDITATION, which was amazing. You can easily find more information on Tratak on google or wikipedia. Basically we sat and stared at a candle flame without blinking, the eyes normally water during this practice. Then we closed our eyes and stayed present and mindful. What you see when you close your eyes is the lasting image of the flame that you were mediating on. I was doubtful when I first attempted it, but what I experienced was something very beautiful. I knew right away I wanted to make a mandala about this image. I will post that on here as soon as I finish it.
I think everyone should try this Tratak exercise and make a mandala. This could even be a good exercise with certain patient populations.
Please add your comments about Mandalas, Meditation, Yoga and Art Therapy, and if you give Tratak a try!
If you're interested in Vedic Thai Yoga Bodywork: www.vedicconservatory.com Mukti and Sudevi were amazing teachers!
The Mandala Exchange is an interactive blogspot where mandala projects, resources, ideas, and knowledge can be shared. The Exchange was formed to be able to continue the mandala work presented at the 2011 AATA conference, "Communicating Through Mandalas: Exploring Traditional and Online Media with Fellow Therapists". The presenters and moderators of this site, wanted the cycle of the mandala to continue and expand through a virtual community of practitioners, artists and explorers.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
As with Amy's wonderings I too have taken-on new responsibilities that are leaving me with very little time for my creative self to cut-loose, the good-old-fashioned-way, by making a mess. I am now in full swing of my 1st semester as a PhD student and TA as well as employed full-time (bills still need to get paid). With progressively less time for creative endeavors I have found the Mandala Exchange and the connections made here to be sustaining. It all began this summer while in preparation for a panel, when Amy had the idea of a blog to help share self-sustaining-great-round experiences. Which brings me to today. Just a couple of months after the conference and we've all gone our separate ways, such is life. However, we're tethered to the Exchange and to the commitment of sustaining ourselves and each other by way of creative encounters (shown or spoken of here) and encouragement!
We've all heard the adage: When LIFE gives you lemons. Make lemonade. Well, Amy did just that in her last post indicating that with reduced time she's now turning to coloring mandalas that she finds online (for link see her post). Myself, in the absence of time and materials to create the 12x12 pieces I have become accustomed to (and it feels like only yesterday when all I could do were 6x6 images) I now sneak-around with small pieces of paper 3x3 or 4x4 similar to Sara's Coffee-Cup Mandalas. I am careful to select paper that nurtures my appetite for expression such as natural tones or soft textures. I then loosely follow the guides for making a Zentangle, often embedding the tangle with symbols representative of my emotions at the time of creation.
If interested in learning this quick & easy method for self expression please check-out the following links and also Google search for more options. I like to do a simple breathing exercise before I begin and have even shared the process with a few clients.
Zentangle basics & some examples on Squidoo.
A fun Zentangle video intro from a couple of instructors-->YouTube Video
If you find that you have no time to be creative. Then, be creative with your time.
Monday, September 5, 2011
http://mandalaofthemonth.com/ I've just been so busy - but perhaps this is the solution for now. I will color - and it's just one a month. I can do this - YOU can do this! Try with me. I posted September's but link to a large version on the Mandala of the Month site. Navigate to the "About Me" section and click on the Mandala Lady's artist statement. Interesting story and she shares some cool techniques I haven't tried for making mandalas - like putting found objects on the paper and just pouring paint over them to see what happens. I will have to try. Nameste.