Off the Mat Yoga Popular

The Solution for Creative Block

Art and Yoga.

It goes without saying right? Creativity and spirituality. Relaxation and clairty. Self discovery and… inner peace… or something.

Okay, I’m out. I’m Bex and I admit, I’m a bad yogi and a bad artist.

I eat meat. I’m in no way bohemian and I can’t meditate. My practice is not an attempt to find myself, and I don’t beg questions through my drawing. I routinely skip savasana (…I wonder if there’s any of that yogurt left for breakfast…) and I rarely visit art galleries (because I don’t like them).

I draw for fun, and I draw for money. I’m a commercial artist: the ultimate sell out of the artistic world. And I’m damn proud of it.

There is no divine, no spiritual, and very little mindful elements to my life, either on or off the mat. I just don’t feel the need to begin that journey of self discovery and calmness that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be synonymous of both yoga and artistic expression.

Basically, I am just not ‘zen’. In fact, I’d say I’m ‘Zenless’.

I make pictures, not to express my inner self, but because it’s fun to tell a story – either mine or that of whomever I’m working for. Nothing more and nothing less. I practice yoga every day – without meditation – because I’m addicted to the joy of self improvement and the fact that I’m able constantly surpass my own, physical expectations (even if I do routinely forget to breathe right). Which I do.

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I guess, neither art nor yoga are a ‘way of life’ for me. They’re simply two significant parts of it. Art is my business, yoga is my sport, and both are my passions. I wouldn’t be me without them, but they do not govern my attitude towards all other matters.

So then, when that inevitable and frustrating shadow of an artist’s creative block starts to loom, is that not the perfect time for a devoted – if bad – yogi to finally reflect inwards? To embrace the clarity of mindfulness? To apply the meditative possibilities of the mat that I know allows so many to derive those much needed answers from within?

Truthfully?

No. I’m just too impatient. To be ruthlessly honest, I can’t stay in Savasana for more than one full minute because I’m aware I have washing up to do. Or I start thinking about the contents of the fridge.

But in spite of these rejections of yoga’s core traditions, I AM a passionate yogi, and yoga IS my go-to inspiration plunger for such a blockage. Not for meditation or mindfulness; not for self-awareness or even clarity. Yoga is my go-to because it is beautiful.

 

I’m an illustrator and designer. I’m driven by aesthetics and their communicative possibilities. When the flow of ideas has dried up, I simply look at or, more often than not, draw yoga. Maybe with an illustrative twist, often without. I’m awe-struck by the graceful, dynamic possibilities of good practice. The most seemingly basic poses has a series of physical specifications in its execution that make it truly beautiful and aesthetically satisfying. Yoga welcomes the opportunity to examine the human form, outside of the norm, on a surprising and original spectrum — away from preconceptions and without expectations.

The drawing might look wrong, or it might simply be a new, unusual reminder of the real possibilities of the trained human form; wiggly, surprising and curious. And utterly beautiful.

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Drawing to produce loveliness restores confidence in my artistic ability, and subsequently inspiration is rarely too far behind.

Yoga and art are undoubtedly bedfellows for different reasons to different practitioners. They both demand dedication, passion, and determination; and for either practice confidence can falter. I’ve learned, how to use them to inspire each other in ways that satisfy the nature of my personal outlook (without a chant or mantra bead in sight).

So, yes, MY art and MY yoga. Commercial and physical with no need for spiritual. But always indisputably beautiful.

What’s YOUR go-to solution for creative block?

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11 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Amanda

    August 30, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I like to change my scenery. For me, doing something outside of my regular routine always jump starts my creativity. I just got back from a trip, and I’m feeling so inspired now! Travel is the best for me that, but even taking new classes and meeting new people can help inspire creativity. P.S. I LOVE your drawings!

    1. Rebecca Bagley

      Rebecca Bagley

      August 31, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Yes! I know a lot of people who travel to shift the blockage, I think seeing things a new environment helps to see yours differently. That’s a great tip to try a new class, I guess that would have the same effect.

      And thanks so much, that’s so kind! I’ll remember that the next time I hit that rut, it will make me smile 🙂

  2. Katie

    Katie

    August 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Yes! The pictures drew me in and your writing kept me! Beautiful and engaging, just like your art! I love how you see everything (yoga + life) through the lens of your art.

    1. Rebecca Bagley

      Rebecca Bagley

      September 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Thank you so much! That’s so kind of you to say so, so glad you enjoyed!

  3. Pála Margrét

    Pála Margrét

    September 1, 2016 at 6:23 am

    What a beautiful article! And I absolutely love your pictures – and your outlook on life 😉 Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Rebecca Bagley

      Rebecca Bagley

      September 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Thanks so much! For a shameless aesthete like myself, to have anything of mine called ‘beautiful’ makes me feel VERY warm and fuzzy inside! Thanks so much for your support!

  4. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    September 13, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I love how raw and honest this is, plus your art and your words ARE beautiful! I usually turn to yoga to help ease my creative block. I practice for an hour, then I have all kinds of things to write about, photos to take, places to visit. Thank you for sharing your story!!

    1. Rebecca Bagley

      Rebecca Bagley

      September 20, 2016 at 5:55 am

      Yes I can imagine so many people use yoga to ease creative stress. I guess moving your body gives your brain an excuse to chill out for a bit! Do you think when you practice? Or does it all zone out?
      I’ve got such respect for people who CAN simple meditate their way out of a creative brain fart, it takes incredible control and self awareness that I am in no way close to achieving!
      Thanks for commenting on how you cope with the elusive writers block and, of course for such kind words 🙂
      Keep creating and stay cool everyone.

  5. Jen

    Jen

    October 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Bex. I am obsessed with that doggie on the yoga mat illustration. You are a gift!

    1. Rebecca Bagley

      Rebecca Bagley

      November 14, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Haha! Aw Jen thank you so much, glad you like the little pooch! You’re too kind 🙂

  6. Avatar

    Katie

    July 26, 2017 at 9:04 am

    This is so beautiful! Are you going to publish a book involving those illustrations?
    I am an artist also and I practice Yoga. I did a BA in Fine Art and I’m now saving to be a yoga teacher.
    I’ve just done my kids yoga teacher training and I’m doing a Teen yoga teacher training in a few weeks time.
    People look at me like I’m mad or that I’ve wasted money for doing a Fine Arts degree but to me Yoga and Art are a match made in heaven and I can not wait to teach holistic day workshops and retreats involving yoga, therapeutic art making, dance movement and meditation.
    Love your article, please write more (with more illustrations!)

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