A few weeks ago, my friend Tatiana invited me to participate in a Danga (Dance/Yoga) workshop, to which I said "Yes!" of course, feeling both thrilled and a bit nervous at the prospect.
Guess what? It was not only a fantastic experience, but also a turning point in my quest for creative energy. Somehow, my inner resources became accessible to me in a whole new way, inviting into my life the invisible forest of possibilities that I mentioned in my last post.
Which gave me a personalised set of re-solutions for 2015 and beyond :o)
Danga (also called YogaDanga) was created in Montréal by Mylène Roy, from her diverse practice in mime, theatre, contemporary dance and yoga. Her passion for the fertile potential of dichotomies led her to associate the grounded, balanced aspect of yoga with the freedom, sensuality and energy of dancing: it was this very combination that drew me to Danga.
More interesting still, as I discovered during the workshop, this grounding/liberating alliance of dance and yoga has the ability to bring together seemingly opposite trends, so that they are no more in conflict within yourself – they become empowering duos, dancing together.
|I drew these chairs in the Café Cagibi, while listening to Glen Jones.|
Good news for all of us extroverted introverts, active dreamers, or dedicated dilettantes, who often dwell between the sensual and the spiritual, the practical and the magical – and who often end up feeling paralyzed. Though not always.
|My brother Matthieu: educator, dad, photographer, songwriter, & author not yet published.|
|At the time, we were Mateo y Manolita.|
The workshop I attended was partly guided by three future YogaDanga teachers, including my friend Tatiana – which was another incentive for me, since I find her own energy and vision quite inspiring :o) In fact, as a theatre director in training, Tatiana also uses Danga’s creative possibilities during the rehearsals, and I can certainly see why!
Here is a short but eloquent video of Tatiana improvising through Danga on “the notion of a ‘hinge’ that was also explored as a junction or a bridge between two places”.
This hinge/bridge notion was also, appropriately, the theme of our workshop :o)
To my surprise and relief, the whole atmosphere made it easy for us to improvise on the music, and to follow our impulses wherever they were taking us. We let our inspiration guide our movements, their rhythm and scope, their direction – without noticing what everybody else was doing, yet supported by the fact that we were doing it together.
“Try and explore moves, postures and muscles that you don’t usually use” was one of the useful suggestions we received.
I applied this throughout the workshop – starting with my arms, as they are my weakest point, particularly in yoga. I leaned on them often, like you would in Downward Dog, Forward Bend or Triangle, except I was dancing, and my arms became a sustaining, living link to the ground.
Eventually, I realized that if I keep my elbows slightly bent, alert and springy, instead of locking them as always, I do have some strength (after all) in my too flexible, narrow-boned arms.
Similarly, we worked on our knee’s “hinge” qualities, which became an instructive exploration on how to engage our leg’s muscles in a more balanced, attentive way.
Throughout the evening, there were empowering lessons to be learned, both immediately and at a deeper, metaphorical level (isn’t our whole body a beautiful metaphor of our soul?) from these explorations between stamina and rest, strength and flexibility, confidence and care.
It was during the final relaxation period that I understood this: I don't really have to choose between the things I love doing, because they sustain each other.
|Waiting for the bus + observing nature + taking pictures.|
During the following weeks, I applied this understanding to the areas in my life that had been so far in competition: drawing or cooking, dancing or practising yoga, painting or cleaning up, reading or blogging… or walking on the hill.
You see, before going to work I have a three-hour window of free time + creative energy + good light… for all of the above. (Unless there is a translation on my desk, of course.)
So this is where I begin.
1) The morning light in my bedroom/studio is the best one for drawing. How about opening my creative “window” with an hour of drawing?
2) Then: music and Danga for half an hour, to keep my creative energy flowing. Yes!
3) After which, once showered and dressed, I can tackle my current project of the week (portrait, blog post, etc) for another hour… so I am eager to go back to it in the evening, after work.
4) Lastly, around 11 pm, I now turn off the computer for the night and open a good book. It makes a huge difference in my sleep, dreams, inspiration, etc.
But wait… I have to fit all the writing (emails included) in two hours a day: one in the morning, one in the evening (I come back from work after 9 pm, hungry and dizzy). The problem is that I need two solid hours just to get into the text – its voice, meaning, direction – and to have full access to my writing abilities.
One post = days of struggling with words and ideas (+ pictures). And then I translate it all in French…
The problem is not that I am doing a hobby professionally (though I do, because publishing illustrated essays and stories even twice a month for a wide readership is, after all, a dream come true). I simply need that much time to put it all together so you can actually enjoy reading it. Besides, writing these posts helps me understand where I am going, how, and why. It is quite something, and it implies some processing :o)
|On Saturdays, I work all day - here I am on my way to the bus stop. Great occasion to get pictures of the lovely 8 am snow.|
|Is it an angel on my left shoulder? Or maybe a wisp of hair :o)|
However, this “writing issue” means that I have to skip drawing and/or Danga most mornings, when I am working on a post.
As a result, drawing projects can take weeks to be completed... Not to mention paintings, or stories, or children’s books. I miss creating new material, playing with my skills, and being bold with them.
But you know what? I have a feeling that the drawing/Danga mornings will help me dive into this Beautiful Unknow, in many ways. I will keep trying. This is just the beginning :o)
(I am also hoping that Reading Books Every Night – for the first time again since I don’t know when – will help me in becoming a more efficient writer!)
What do you think?
Fortunately, I’ll have a new opportunity work on my own creative balance this very Saturday evening, as I will be participating in another, unique Danga workshop: Tatiana and seven other future Danga teachers are sharing with us their final project.
The theme is Transitions (Passages): “Intense work – resilience – euphoria”.
Sounds promising, doesn’t it?