I think yoga and clay have a lot on common. I practice both with ‘practice’ being the operative word here.
I began attending yoga classes a couple of years ago. I wish I’d started earlier. But in the true spirit of yoga, I’m working on living in the moment, letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. This applies to my life and my vocation – clay.
So here are a few lessons taught in yoga that can also apply to clay.
Breathe. Deep inhales and exhales are a constant in any yoga I’ve practiced. I’ve found this same full body nourishment helps with centering (literally and figuratively) in the studio.
Each Day is Different. Every time I hear this spoken in a class, it is a helpful reminder. Human expectation of regular perfection can lead to such negative feelings and self-doubt. Some days are just better than others. I’m learning to embrace the good and learn from the bad.
No Comparison. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself.
Live in and Enjoy the Moment. Don't look back. Don't worry about what's ahead. This is hard for me, really hard. It’s good to remember the process can be just as enjoyable as the outcome.
Every teacher has something to offer. There is always room to learn. New skills, thoughts and nuance can happen with every encounter between students and teachers.
Learn to listen. For me, this skill takes practice and concentration. Listen and follow instruction. Listen to the quiet. Listen when others speak. Listen to your inner voice.
Balance. Poses requiring stability are important and can be challenging. Finding balance in life and art require the same attention and constant adjustments to achieve.
Hands-on is the best part. The sense of touch is powerful. I love the end of class when some yoga instructors offer a soothing body adjustment or relaxing temple massage during savasana. Likewise, I enjoy the feel of clay throughout each creation stage as I translate an idea from thought to completion. It gives me the same happy satisfaction.