We've been lucky enough to work with Glasgow-based yoga teacher Alice Gray on a few yoga x drawing collaborations this year! Our resident blogger Ailsa asked her a few questions.
AS How do you find collaborating with artists or those of a different discipline? One of the things I love about yoga is the mutual teaching that naturally occurs and I imagine this could be even greater when working with someone who operates in a completely different way to you.
AG I think collaboration with people and organisations across multi-disciplines is not only a good idea but also essential for growth and knowledge expansion. There is so much to learn from inter-disciplinary projects. If we only ever stayed within our own sphere – professionally, personally, even literally – then I am not sure how much we would ever evolve? The life drawing and yoga collaboration with Drawing Life Glasgow is a great example. Life drawing is about external observation, while yoga is about internal observation. Through collaboration it really highlighted that both are wonderful moving meditations and great ways to unlock creativity.
AS The main reason I keep coming back to your yoga classes is I find it to be immensely beneficial to my mental health. Does your MSc in Psychology influence the way you teach your classes?
AG That is amazing to hear! Absolutely, yes it does. As humans we are incredibly intelligent and we think a lot and that is obviously really important. The downside to all of this intelligence and thinking though is that our brains are constantly switched on – worrying about what’s next, am I good enough, I’m not strong enough, what will people think of me, the list is endless. I love drawing on my personal interpretation of various psychological theories that fascinate me to essentially support flipping this way of thinking on its head. I want my students to come away feeling strong and empowered in all senses of the words.
AS Music is a great way to set a mood or a tone for an event. Does the music you listen to when you are figuring out a new sequence or play during your classes affect the flow and how people respond to it?
AG Music is a really big thing for me in my teaching and I find so much pleasure creating playlists for classes. Everything I play is music that I love to listen to in normal every day life and I like to hope that this passion and enthusiasm for my playlists comes across, at least indirectly, and cascades out for others to maybe feel that way too. My music is generally quite modern, up-beat and non-dogmatic – specifications that are important to me within a lot of my teaching.
AS What is your favourite yoga pose to practice? This can obviously be variable according to mood so feel free to give more than one answer.
AG That’s really hard! I think it might have to be good old downward facing dog – it’s a simple posture in some ways, but also incredibly complex in so many others. You could do it a million times over but there is always something new and interesting to observe and learn.
AS And last of all, what would be your favourite yoga pose to draw and why?
AG Another tough question but triangle pose is a great one to draw – lots of lovely clean lines and incredibly sharp and bold. There is also a huge amount of variety and difference in detail from model to model. Same posture, always a completely different sketch.