Making mosaic is like a personal mood barometer for me. The moment I make the first movement with the mosaic hammer, I know immediately whether I have a good day or not.
With positive mindset and self-esteem I have control over what is happening on my ceppo and next to it and I proceed well and happily with what I am doing. This does not mean that then there is no room for beautiful coincidences. On the contrary, they appear more often and if by magic.
Mosaic as meditation
Those moments when the hammer almost merges with my own body, when I can perceive the materials with all my senses and follow my instincts, all those moments have a wonderfully meditative effect.
Some just need silence in order to enter this mode. Others swear on their music playlist to get themselves into a positive mood. So do I, and most of the time it works fine.
The other side of the coin
Just as a good moods have their impact on mosaic making, negative feelings and circling thoughts we bring with us are a 300-percent project killer. Imbalance of body and soul, tension and discord manifest themselves immediately.
When my neck and lower back begin to hurt, for me the show is over. And in fact that is what happened to me last week. After almost 2 months of Pilates abstinence (for that is the sport I regularly do in Spilimbergo besides running) I felt like a 75-year-old, with shoulders pulled up to my ears, and my legs feeling incredibly heavy. Neck pain and a whole bunch of wild monkeys circling in my head grabbed me, a veritable “everything is bad” fever. And this despite the possibility to work with Emilie in Blaye as last year – this time by the way in nice company of Eloise from my class in Spilimbergo –, the French way of life and all the great people that surround me.
Create a positive mood through yoga
So one morning I started practicing yoga again.
And suddenly, my positive energy came back. “Everything is bad” turned to “Anything is possible”, my blockages and extremely bad posture have disappeared and my thoughts no longer revolve around like on a rollercoster. Within 72 hours I got back to my self and what I want in life – by 3 units with downward dog, rabbit and Co.
Of course, Yoga is not the solution to everything, but it drives me to re-sort my thoughts, even on paper. It is as if everything snaps back where it belongs and energies can flow freely again.
Tell me about you!
Your experiences with mosaic and yoga
While I was writing these lines, an idea came to me for a post: I know a lot of mosaic artists who practice yoga or Pilates or meditate to be more focussed while working. Maybe some exercised already before making mosaics, maybe some started due to hurting backs or migraine attacks.
Your experience may be helpful to others, and I want to collect some of your statements regarding mosaic and yoga. So please let me know:
When did you start with yoga, what exercises do you do when? What else do you help to sink completely in your mosaic project? If you want to send it a picture of you at the yoga and / or mosaic practicing.
5 reasons why yoga can help you make better mosaics
Why I think yoga and mosaic build a perfect match, summarized here briefly for you.
1. Yoga clears your mind and makes you stay focused
Sometimes – well, actually very often – my thoughts race at a pace that makes me very jittery. Apart from my natural restlessness this is certainly due to the fact that I always run multiple projects simultaneously and feel like I have to plan and work on them simultaneously, too. At some point, I normally get overwhelmed by everything and get stuck.
Yoga helps me to prevent this from happening and focus on what I’m doing at the moment (and not what I am going to do tomorrow or in a year, or what happened yesterday). I listen to myself and understand what I need and want to do today in order to achieve my goals. Also, I realize what I’m grateful for today. My breathing calms down and gets more even (in a blog post about working with the martellina I described how important that is) and with it also my thoughts.
If I have this inner peace, then and only then I get into an absolute flow while working.
2. Yoga makes you self-confident
Today nothing works.
Why the f*** this stupid stone breaks always where it should not break?
Why are the others always faster than me?
Negative thoughts like these are killers for my projects. In my head, I can get extremely rude to myself. Yoga helps me to not let those stupid and useless thoughts rise. It gives me back my positive energy and the belief that I can do anything I really want.
3. Yoga relieves tension and makes you acquire a better posture
Hours and hours of sitting next to the ceppo, twisting the upper body in one same direction, bending your head down to your mosaic, the weight of the hammer in your arm … The list of unhealthy postures of mosaicisti is long.
Who does not stretch regularly will have to deal with aches and pains sooner or later, having an impact on your pleasure in making mosaics. With yoga you get your body tension back and prevent from typical neck problems, lower back pain and tensions in the shoulder area.
4. Yoga makes you more creative
Yoga makes you happy, and who is happy is more creative. Put a smile on your face with yoga and have more fun with all your mosaic projects!
5. Yoga shows us where we really want to go
This is one of the main reasons why I like yoga. With all the digital overload, the thousand possibilities and many people around me that make great things I sometimes lose my focus on what I want from life. But I immediately get clear ideas about all that when my body and mind are calm and relaxed through yoga.
Lovely post. I used to practice Yoga years ago before I took up mosaic, since then have used various forms of exercise (cycling, running, aerobics) to help me concentrate and create my work. Now I find the best way is an hour walk through the fields before I start. It’s a great way to relax and get things into perspective before starting mosaic work for the day.
Hey Kate, thank you for sharing your experiences! A long walk surely clears your mind, and if you have fields around you must be a nice way to start your day. I just return from the sea and I think nothing calms me down as swimming and lying in salted water :-)
Terrific post, Miriam! I have practiced yoga for years, on and off. The “off” times definitely are not good, so now I try to do some stretching every day, in addition to lengthier practices every couple of days. Also I love walking, and try to get some cardio and weight workouts at the gym a couple times a week. After my morning workouts, I am in a positive frame of mind and can be more positive and creative in the studio, just like you have experienced!
Dear Lynn, so nice to read that, for me it is exactly the same! When I go running and/or do yoga in the morning I am in the best mood for making mosaics. I feel superrelaxed and can’t wait to take the hammer to start working. Enjoy!
I only just saw your post about yoga, Miriam, but I agree 100 percent! If I am not going to the studio regularly, I don’t feel limber or de-stressed enough to concentrate. When I travel, I’m lazy and don’t do yoga on my own. It takes awhile to readjust. The other thing I have found helpful in the past two years is lifting weights on machines that strengthen the back, stomach and torso. I used to get bad backaches regularly from working in the studio for long hours. Now, with a stronger core, I don’t feel these pains nearly as often. Namaste!
Hey Julie, nice to hear that you feel the same way. I need this course feeling, too and am happy that I have restarted taking part in classes here in Germany in a nice studio. Also lifting machines is surely a good way to exercise, only that I find that a bit boring :)
But whatever workout it may be, I think it is really super important to keep making and enjoying making mosaics. Namaste :)