bones

A bird without wings

There are lots of animal-inspired poses in yoga (i.e. Camel and Cow, Down Dog) and quite a few of them are birds: there’s Bird of Paradise, there’s Pigeon, and then there’s Crow. It always seems to me to be perched there, wingless, or at least with that impression.Β Here’s what it looks like:

crow

Heart shining forward, head creating a tripod with your hands, complete balance. You can take this up to a handstand, scorpion, or a whole bunch of other poses! At any rate, it’s a fun one, a balance pose is always a challenge. It has taken me some time to master this one – when I was younger my light weight made it easy to pop right up onto my elbows. Now that I’m older (and heavier) it’s not so easy. I had a fear of falling on my head for the longest time until my yoga instructor encouraged me to give it a shot again and spotted me as I tried. With guidance and security I was able to achieve Crow this year and feel very comfortable with it now! I’m so happy, it’s a major accomplishment and I hope it turns into a stepping stone to other great poses. It has opened the door to a plethora of new challenges and experiences!

I do believe I am happy with this.

What your shoulders can bear

I felt like doing more than usual tonight. I wanted to show Plow pose, but also the next step from there – Shoulder Stand. I personally love both of these poses, it’s sort of my test to new yoga studios. If they do Plow at the end of class, it’s got my thumbs up! πŸ˜‰

So the drawing on the left is what I started with, really small and simple, just trying to show what the idea is. The right shows full Shoulder Stand. Well, I think you’re actually supposed to support your back with your hands, so there isn’t so much pressure on your neck and shoulders. But I forgot that, so I drew it incorrectly – oh well!

As a side note, this type of pose is called an ‘inversion’ (for obvious reasons), and it’s really healthy! It’s good to reverse the blood flow, get things moving around, send some blood to the ol’ brain. It helps increase your circulation, too, so give it a shot.

Your Two Shoulders

As I’ve mentioned before, getting back to the sketchy-ness I once had, and so far I’m really happy with the way things are coming out! I love the darkness of it – there’s so much more to look at when your eye almost has to search for it. Adds character, too, I think. Question, if you care to answer: is it givingΒ new character to the skeleton, or is it my own character being imputed to the page?

So that’s it, Plow and Shoulder Stand. As a warning I think I’m going to bring this yoga series to a close soon. It’s a vast collection that is ever growing, but I don’t think I’ll get to finish all of the poses, at least not right now. I want to let my mind take me on its own track as I am inspired by the events in my life, rather than sticking with the yoga idea for longer than my attention span can take it. At some point I’m bound to get sloppy or careless, and I want to keep these drawings fresh and new! We’ll see what’s next…

I do believe I am happy with this set.

The Unattainable

What do people most often want the most? The unattainable. Think about it – it’s a huge tangent that I won’t go into here and now, but if your eyes are open to it you’ll see it all the time in today’s culture and society.

So that ties into this post because I always consider a split to be unattainable, which is why I so admire those who are able to do it. A standing split is also very difficult, butΒ I was recently challenged in my yoga practice to do FIFTEEN standing splits! It was intense, but it pushed my limits, and helped me to grow. To me, a standing split is the stepping stone to a split. It’s easier for me, it’s a whole different muscle group, a practice in and of itself.

I find that during the growing experience – those moments when you kind of hate whoever is telling you to keep going – it’s terrible: I keep having doubts, keep hearing myself muttering mild expletives as I try harder and harder. It’s not fun, it’s definitely not easy, but yet we do it anyway. And in the end, you feel great! Because you’ve either gone farther than you ever have before, or you’ve achieved a new goal, or you just feel like you’ve reached the full capacity of your abilities, and that’s an amazing feeling! At least it is to me, and if you’ve never felt that, I encourage you to push through, because the reward is great!

Alright, enough of that. After the rigorous and continuous standing split extravaganza of Tuesday night’s class I was inspired to draw the pose itself in its full expression (at least I think so). I am by no means here yet, but one day I hope to get there and possibly that will take me into trying a full split, grounded, like a pro. πŸ™‚

Standing Splits:

Standing Splits

The sketch itself isn’t perfect, it’s a little off with the angles, but you get the idea. I am really liking the rib cage on this one since I decided to black out the in-between lines. I think it adds depth.

I felt that I should name this guy, so I’m calling him Hobbles – as a nickname. His face certainly doesn’t imply a ‘Hobbles’.

I do believe I am very happy with this guy!

Opening up

I actually have another sketch that I did between the last one and this one, but it’s not yoga-related so I’m going to wait to post it until I feel I’ve finished my yoga series. Sorry! Be patient, it’s a virtue.

This pose is called Side Angle, or in sanskrit: utthita parsvakonasana. πŸ™‚ A mouthful I know. That’s why we call it side angle.

You can optionally extend the arm – how I depicted it here – which allows the side body to really open up. It’s a lovely pose that really helps stretch you out. I’m usually sitting at my desk for the majority of the day, and after a long day of sinking deeper into your chair and yourself, a good opener like this is perfect.

Side Angle

A note on my style: I’ve noticed the intricacy of my last few drawings, and realized that they are lacking the sketchy quality that I love. So I’m really loosening up again and reminding myself that sometimes it’s okay to color outside the lines!

This is exciting, folks – we are current! I drew this side angle sketch THIS WEEK! So what you’re seeing now are the real deal, here and now, as they come to me. Enjoy!

I do believe I am happy with this guy.

Calm in Chaos

My journey in yoga has been a long one, a one in which I’ve learned countless lessons. It has taken me through the lowest of emotional drags, and the greatest happy highs.

Not too long ago I heard a phrase during class that has allowed me to find space in my life no matter what is going on. Yoga is calm in chaos – that means that through good and bad, your mat is your escape, and it’ll always be that calm in the storm, your getaway to check yourself and emerge refreshed and refocused.

When my yoga instructor said, “…that’s what yoga is, it’s calm in chaos…” I was inspired to draw what it meant to me. I started simply by sketching out the basic lotus pose, seated, with hand in hand. It’s a settled, grounded, relaxed position that starts nearly every class:

Lotus

 

That’s the calm. Then I started on the chaos – and this is not technically finished – I had hopes of doing a lot more but time escaped me and I signed and titled it before it got left behind in the back of my sketchbook for good.

Calm in Chaos

I’m very happy with it – I think it conveys what I felt, and still feel about the peace and serenity that I can depend on amidst anything and everything that’s going on around me. You can’t control any of that, but you can control yourself and your thoughts and feelings. Taking time to look inside, check yourself and your mental state can help you to find inner calm and strength in times when you really need it.

Stay focused, stay strong, and find the calm in the chaos.

I do believe I am quite happy with this 1st attempt! πŸ™‚

TGIF!

Thank God it’s Friday! I’m so ready for the weekend!

This is called an inversion – there are a plethora of different inversions you can take, but I almost always choose Full Wheel. My yoga instructor always has us take it three times for ten seconds each, and at the end of the third one when you think you’ve done the very best you can, when you’re about to collapse, you hear the words, “…your fullest expression of the pose.” and all of the sudden you’re inspired to take it higher, and wider, and to open up just another inch or two – to me that phrase triggers “just a little more” in my mind.

This is wheel:
Bridge

Take this idea into your own life – when you feel like you’re there, when you’re really ready to let go and relax, when you’re at the end, THEN push it “just a little further”. Let this be an encouragement. It’s when you force yourself to keep going that you grow the most! So, give this week your fullest expression and really give Friday your best shot.

I do believe I am very, very happy with this sketch!

Down to earth

Downward facing dog: probably the most recognized yoga pose of all time.

When I first started out practicing yoga, I found this extremely difficult, painful, uncomfortable, and I couldn’t bear to hold it for more than a moment before my arms gave way. NOW, after several years of dedication and enlightenment with regard to my practice and being taught the correct form, I appreciate it for its true nature: a resting pose after a tough set; a stepping stone to a standing series; a good stretch for the back of the legs; a reset.

Down dog is supposed to look like an inverted V. This doesn’t show it quite as neatly as I’d like, but then again, every human form is different, so I can’t expect perfection.

Down dog

This one isn’t too bad, it embodies the pose well, I think. The feet are disjointed and the rib cage is a little too ‘swirly’ to be accurate. BUT, don’t let that get in the way – the spine is beautiful, the arms are perfect.

I do believe I am happy with this one.

Moo

No, this isn’t Cow pose…though typing that just now I have decided that should be next. I love cows, by the way. #funfactaboutme

This is Camel pose. (What sound do camels make?) I LOVE Camel, it feels so good! Opens your abs, chest, throat, shouldersΒ – even your quads if you lean back a little (not recommended for beginners). Sometimes it’s hard for people to get into this position if their backs are weak or inflexible (you’re as young as your spine!), but as of now, I don’t have any trouble with it and find it quite beneficial.

This sketch is not my favorite, to be honest. The angles are confusing, and I don’t say I did it wrong, but the picture I was copying was a little difficult to follow – I couldn’t really tell what angle it was supposed to be showing! So this is just my first Camel, I might have to do another to make up for the poor quality. 😦

Camel

Positive thought, the hand does actually look pretty good for once. I have issues getting all those little joints and tiny bones in the right place, but this isn’t too bad. I do LOVE the way the rib cage came out, very well-defined.

Can we just pause and take a moment to realize that I’ve already caught up to current day?! Well close enough, there are a few more, but just as a warning, the posts will slow down as I start posting these in real time.

I do believe I am happy with this one!

 

Reluctant Warrior

My personal trainer, Braze, calls me the Reluctant Warrior. πŸ™‚

That has nothing to do with this next picture. Well, a little – the name of this pose is “Warrior 2”. There are several warriors but 1, 2, and ‘peaceful’ are all sort of the same basic flow. My favorite is Warrior 2, so that’s why I chose to draw it out.

Warrior 2

Granted, again, he’s a little short. I don’t know what it was but the whole series started out with some unfortunate proportional errors. 😦 Anyway, Warrior 2 is so straight and arrow-like, with arms stretching as far as they’ll go in either direction! So powerful, so grounded, so ready. It’s a beautiful pose, really.

I like the way it turned out, especially the rib-cage. That’s actually fairly accurate. Sometimes I tend to go a little crazy on the ribs, and either put way too many, or make them too circular, when they tend to slope down toward the bottom. Still hadn’t mastered the fingers or feet but, what the heck? That’s not the focus, is it?

I do believe I am quite happy and satisfied with this little warrior.

What’s up dog?

We’ve finally reached it, the more current drawings! After my mom and I recently joined a new gym we’ve been grateful to go to yoga classes together. I’ve always loved yoga, and have practiced for some time on my own (not seriously or regularly, but enough to be familiar with the poses and comfortable with the concepts).

Getting back into yoga with regular practices two or three times a week has made all the difference in the world for me! I feel great, energetic, loose – it allows me to let go of any and all tension – I LOVE IT!

So, inspired by how I feel and how excited I am to be back in practice, I decided to start a yoga series. The first one that came to mind was Upward-Facing Dog (or more familiarly, Up Dog). I guarantee you’ll see this in any basic class you try.
Up Dog

 

I don’t really know what went wrong with his head, I’m a little dissatisfied with that, and he does appear to be on the shorter side…oh well, it’s a done deal.

You’ll please note the eyes: at this point I decided that my skeletons needed more life to them, to represent more than a hollow soulless frame, to be more. So [since I can’t do real live people with skin to save my life] I decided to make the eyes heart-shaped moving forward. You’ll see that most, if not all, of my sketches after this will have the heart-eyes. I think it adds a touch of peace and serenity.

I do believe I am happy with this.