The process of painting for me is very intuitive, what I like to call organic. I let imagery emerge in the painting without trying to manipulate it too much, an unconscious discovery of sorts. I have however (since my trip to Vietnam) been longing for a Louts flower to present itself to me. I have tried to paint them before but I have not liked the outcome and have hence painted over them or around them. So when the Louts started to form in my new work I realised I was in a state of "Santosha", not only with my painting but many aspects of my life. One of my yoga teachers described Santosha as a contentment with life. I certainly was feeling very content as I finished my art work and it was beautiful finding the right name for it.
If you would like to see Santosha it will be on display at Power Yoga Manly in reception from tomorrow, for any enquires you can contact me!
Rivers of love and self-compassion
By Bec & Dean Schopen from the Manly Community
When we were asked to write about our yoga experiences, we instantly wanted to share, like a gift, with anyone who wanted to read it. However, then we realised to succinctly express what yoga has given us in a short article was surely going to leave us feeling short. So on reflection, we came up with just a few really simple words that resonate so deeply within us because of our yoga; breath, lightness, presence, truth and love.
We both came to Power Yoga five years ago; little did we know how much we were going to be in need of it. There were a lot of immediate benefits, such as weight loss, improved posture and infinitely better fitness. But then the not so obvious benefits started to surface as things in life got sad. Life was turned upside down when we lost some very dear people to us in quite a short space of time. It was like having your stomach punched and not being able to get your breath back. The gift of yoga gave us back that breath and the presence, to help us both with the multifaceted emotions we felt in our individual grief.
Whilst on my mat in the studio I cried myself rivers of love and sadness (especially in frog pose) guided by understanding teachers, Dean used yoga to draw from within, finding self-compassion that enabled a far more balanced approach to dealing with loss. Our journeys were very different, but in many ways were bound by similar philosophies and principles. The physical practice of yoga helped us in feeling more lightness, not only in our bodies but in our hearts too. This could only be accomplished by being opened to the practice and facing within our real truth.
All of the breath, lightness, presence, truth and love that we found have manifested itself in how we communicate, empathise, and relate to others. We both believe that the practice did not change us or take away our grief, it merely was an integral part of helping us to find within whom we truly are.
Yoga presents such a personal experience; if you do the work and listen carefully you will see and feel the subtleties, the shifts and the gifts it has to offer and the path forward will be full of joy and gratitude. We are however all works in progress, there is no destination, and life is to be lived in the heart of each moment.
Sydney based mixed media artist.