Yoga and the Art of Meditationsam
There could be no art without the imagination. It is essential to the creation of any work of art. Our ability to imagine is what allows us to participate with God as co-creators on this planet. Everyone has the ability to imagine though some people are better at it than others. What many people are not aware of is that the imagination can be developed through Yogic practice.
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that can help one to develop the mind through the imagination. Yoga also helps to develop one’s creativity which can help one to become better at their Art. Yantra Yoga is a branch of Yoga that utilizes the powers of visualization to develop ones’ creativity. There are many visualization exercises in Yantra Yoga which uses the imagination to picture various colors, shapes and sizes. For example one of the visualization exercises is to picture a red triangle in your mind. Take a moment right now and visualize a red triangle in your mind. Can you see it clearly? It may be difficult at first but with practice you can clearly visualize a red triangle in your mind. After one becomes adept at visualizing a red triangle then you can move on to other shapes such as a yellow square, green crescent or a blue circle.
One interesting practice is to look at the place where you are right now. Look at the objects around you. Now close your eyes. Can you still see the scene clearly in your mind’s eye? By practicing these basic visualization exercises you can improve your imagination and your creativity as an artist.
One of the most interesting artistic practices that I have seen is the Tibetan Sand Mandalas. This meditative practice has its’ foundations in Yantra Yoga. I have had the privilege to participate with some Tibetan monks in the formation of a Sand Mandala. The Tibetan Sand Mandala is a sacred art form utilizing ancient Yantra Yoga principles. Every color and shape represents certain divine creative energies. The Tibetan monks tap into these divine energies as they create the Sand Mandala. What I find very interesting is that the final creation of the Sand Mandala is not important as the process itself. After the Sand Mandala is finished, it is dismantled. They do not save it. It is the process or formation of the Sand Mandala that is important. This is quite a different orientation than the majority of people in the West. Most people tend to value the finished artwork as what is important or valuable. But for the Tibetan Monks, it is the process of creation that is most valuable. I think that we need to learn to appreciate that the process of creating art is just as important as the finished art itself.
Yoga can help us pay more attention to the process of creativity through the practices of Yantra Yoga and Meditation. Yoga is more than stretching of the body in different poses called “asanas” that we see in Hatha Yoga. Yoga is a pathway to improving both your mind and body. Yogic meditation brings peace of mind and self-realization which is really the ultimate art form. Art is the expression of our creativity. Yoga brings Art to its’ fullest expression by revealing the divine nature within each of us. God has created this universe like a portrait that we live and breathe in. We are born like an empty canvas and we paint it with the various experiences throughout our lives. How is your life being painted? If someone could look at your painting, what would it look like?
Art is the act of creativity which uses the wellspring of the imagination. What a beautiful world this could be, if we would take the time to imagine it.
Jill Lowy is a local author who recently completed a new book, “Yoga and The Art of Astral Projection” and her website is: www.TheAstralYoga.com.