Yoga and Expressive Art Therapy: Grounding
The Yoga and Expressive Arts Therapy course that I am taking with Trauma-Informed Practices, has taught me different ways in which we can heal our mind and body.
There is two components to the Yoga and Expressive Art therapy course.
One component is the expressive arts. Expressive Arts is an umbrella term for music, theatre, poetry, dance, and visual art. An emerging field that uses expressive arts is called expressive arts therapy, which“combines psychology and the creative process to promote emotional growth and healing”(Expressive Arts Therapy, n.d.).
The second component is Yoga. A practice that began 5,000 years ago in India as a comprehensive system for well-being on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual"(Yoga Alliance). It is not a system of beliefs, rather it is techniques and guidance for enriched living.
I didn't necessarily understand how yoga would work with expressive art therapy. I just knew that I was interested in the two and wanted to learn more.
I have since learned a lot about the effects yoga can have on the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga has been proven to help people who have PTSD. It does this by allowing the person practicing to take back control over their nervous system. This method, of course, does not work for everyone, which is why there are so many forms of therapy.
Yoga helps to strengthen your body. It gives you the tools necessary to feel your emotions and to work through discomfort. All while remembering that the discomfort you feel will end, as you enter the next pose or moment.
I also learned that there are many types of yoga. Most commonly practiced in Western culture is Hatha yoga, the combination of poses and breathing. What was interesting was how this is an emerging field in Western medicine, while it has been around for centuries in many Eastern cultures.
All this and I still didn't know how they would blend these two practices together. Until I did a grounding exercise.
This next part you can try for yourself:
Grounding is the concept of how or where your body is in contact with the Earth or a solid surface that helps us to feel stable and supported.
Trace your foot on a piece of paper. Fill in the space of the foot outline with imagery, color, words, and shapes, that help you to feel solid and grounded. Also, consider the space outside of your foot shape. What does the foot need around it for support?
You can use any materials you like.
I have provided my creation for you as an example. This is not how yours has to look, give yourself creative freedom and listen to what your mind, body, and soul tell you about being grounded.
You will now challenge your sense of being grounded. Choose one of the following three poses. Perhaps put your image from part one in front of you so that you have a visual reference. Try and hold the pose for 5 deep breaths. I have posted videos to help guide you through the poses so that you can do them properly. Make sure to listen to your body. You don't want to cause yourself pain.
Tree Pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdln9qWYloU
Half-moon pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haRAb8sxnbo
Hand to foot pose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INtjr2jjtmU
Think about how that felt for you? What was it like to start with art-making and then move into a yoga pose? Did it inform how you felt during the pose?
Everyone will respond to these questions in their own way. So try it out and let me know how it goes!
Explore and keep creating!
There are two components to the Yoga and Expressive Art therapy course.