Angles & Curves, Art & Yoga Connect

Artwork by Yizhi Wang

Artwork by Yizhi Wang

My idea for this blog came about not just from my classes, but from my love of the quality of light this time of year. The tilt of the earth creates the angle of the sun which slowly, day by day is bringing us into winter, allowing our part of the earth to sleep-as it must. I also was inspired by a conversation with a colleague who created the lovely painting you see accompanying this post. While in China, she took a painting class. The angle of the brush is paramount to the creation of the specific lines, curves and shapes. This artwork is hanging in her classroom. How wonderful it is for her students to see it. My 30th year of teaching has begun coinciding with my first year of teaching yoga.

I teach quite a few beginning Art students in the fall semester at the high school I work at. Many of my students experiences in Visual Art have been scattered and definitely lacking in consistency. To that end, I try to keep it simple, interesting, and relevant while still having fidelity to the standards I need them to meet academically, and artistically. Always a challenge. One of my personal goals is to inspire them to look at taking art for reasons other than as a requirement to graduate. I love when I capture their interest enough to have them year after year, just for the pleasure of it. For many of them, it becomes the reason they come to school.

Often, at the start of the year I focus on very basic design elements- specifically line and shape. In basic terms line and shape are generally either static or organic. Either they have vitality or movement (organic) or are generalized or fixed (static). Another way to explain it would be to compare the contour of a square to the contour of an amoeba. To break it down even further, one might say that static shapes often are your basic regular polygons, and organic shapes may look more alive. Simplifying the idea further, it’s about angles and curves. Artist Piet Mondrian took it to the next level and eventually created art using just straight lines- an evolution of an idea that is very interesting to study. The students slowly realize that even when artwork looks “easy to make” there is quite a bit more to it than just filling up the paper.

What does this have to do with anything, and what specifically does this have to do with yoga?

As I explain the artistic aspects of what we are trying to accomplish to my students, I often start thinking of how it applies to life. Angles and curves are all around us, literally and figuratively. Literally, the words I am using as I type are made up of angles and curves. The examples are too numerous to name. When something comes along unexpectedly or surprisingly we might refer to it as being thrown a “curve ball”. Again, a very simplified example.The point is, we need them to balance out our lives. We need the angles and the curves to unify our hemispheric nature.

Some may use yoga, which in practice is meant to unify ourselves to the Supreme Being or the supreme nature of the universe. The angles and curves of the asanas and the focus of pranayama aid the practitioner in this journey. Again, there are too many examples of this balance in yoga to outline here. It is food for thought.

Notice the angles and curves of your daily life. I am fairly sure that most of the them are positive; and if not, necessary for growth no matter your age.

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and observations. I am by no means an expert.

Nancy Bennett-Morgenstern

Nancy is a 200RYT having received her training through Lotus Gardens Yoga School under the tutelage of Lara Ward. She also bring 29 years of Visual Arts teaching experience in her practice by often referring to asanas and yogic philosophy with cultural and historic Art
imagery. An avid hiker and gardener Nancy brings the outside in with respectful and appreciative honor to the natural world around us. Expect her practice to be focused and mindful of intention in a relaxed but energetic way. Nancy comes to the mat to receive energy
from students as much as to give instruction.

In addition to Vinyasa Flow from Beginners through Intermediate, Restorative, and Yin, Nancy is interested in bringing the benefits of yoga to those with Multiple Sclerosis. Nancy enjoys spending time with her husband Stuart, her 2 grown sons, and her two Cardigan
Corgies, Monty and Doc as well as her large, close, and ever expanding family of siblings, nieces and nephews.

Nancy is currently teaching a Yoga for Teachers on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm at Mountain View Wellness in Hamden, CT.