When you hear the word "SoulCollage®," where do you feel it in your body? Do you see a visual image and hear words in your mind? SoulCollage® is not only a visual experience, it is also a felt experience. Perhaps when you see an image, or one of your cards, you take in a deep breath and your hand goes to your heart. This is a gesture of unity with your body, mind and soul. If we close our eyes, still holding our card, we can often feel it and know where it lives inside of us. This to me is one of the magical experiences SoulCollage® reveals.
Both yoga and SoulCollage® are pathways to the Self. Each has physical, contemplative, creative, and exploratory aspects. Practiced together, SoulCollage® and yoga are a natural fit. Each complements the other, and because of this each is deeper and richer in meaning. A daily practice of both together opens up an essential opportunity to reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that may arise, staying receptive and aware, nourishing the soul. When you pay attention to your body as you make a card, allow yourself to physically experience what the card is all about. Breathe life into your card and breathe that life into your body.
|Embraces the Wild
by Marci Wenn
I Am One Who
embraces the wild.
I teach a yoga class at a wildlife refuge where three wolves live. My card
Embraces the Wild
is very meaningful to me. I love wolves and I love to be at the refuge. We have class where the wolves can see us and hear us. They often howl as we move. Savasana, (usually the last pose in class, where we are lying down and feeling the effects of our practice) is a whole new experience when the wolves howl.
Making a SoulCollage® card to honor these magnificent animals as well as my wild spirit keeps me connected to something larger than myself, a oneness with the natural world. My class and I often howl instead of the traditional chant of OM. Respect, connection, and love is what yoga and SoulCollage® with The Wild Ones is like for me. Try it - find a wild place, even your backyard. Notice what animals are there, breathe, settle in, notice how your body reacts. Maybe you move to a sound of a bird or the wind. Feel it in your bones, again breathe it in. Animals on our SoulCollage® cards depict the movement of energy flowing through our physical bodies. You can make a card about your experience.
Both yoga and SoulCollage® are full of compassion, curiosity, acceptance and community. I find that the saying in the
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
(often seen as the Bible of yoga) "Study thyself, discover the divine" matches perfectly with the SoulCollage® motto "Discover your wisdom, change your world."
We usually think of yoga as just postures,
, but it is so much more than that, just as SoulCollage® is so much more than making cards. The depth of experience when you explore your cards and your body movements together is powerful and beautiful. Know that you have the right body, the right mind, and a limitless beautiful soul - this is all you need for a SoulCollage® and yoga practice. Yoga can clear the body of tension and imbalance and still the mind so we can hear the quiet voice of intuition, spirit, and creative flow.
The study of yoga asanas and SoulCollage® is not about perfecting a posture or creating the right art. It's about exploring a yoga posture and images to understand and transform yourself, to deepen your knowledge and felt experience. In
(p.16), Seena asks us questions about what we may be sensing in the body when sitting with a SoulCollage® card and what the consciousness represented by that card might have to say about the sensation's meaning and purpose for our lives. I find this to be very helpful in deepening my yoga and SoulCollage® practice.
Here is an outline of a SoulCollage®-and-yoga practice that I do. Have your SoulCollage® materials available. Sit cross-legged in easy pose or seated in a chair. First, remember you are practicing with the body you have right now, not the body you imagine, not the body from 20 years ago or even the body from yesterday. Your body has been with you throughout your whole life, a consort, always present to you, as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes points out in her audio book "The Joyous Body, Myths & stories of the Wise Woman Archetype."
Listen to yourself, your whole sensory system. Bring your attention to your breath. Allow this to be the most important action happening in your body right now. Notice the rhythm of your breath, its lyricism, its quality, and your experience of it. Feel your breath fill your entire body from the inside.
Now take a moment in this stillness to set an intention or a dedication for your practice. It could be to dedicate the card you make to your breath as you sit in your yoga pose. Setting an intention strengthens and deepens our practice, and every movement, whether it's collaging or yoga, can draw our intention into our own body.
Now close your eyes and do a quick body scan. Then open your eyes and begin to move your body in any way it wants; maybe stand up or do a gentle twist in your chair. Now come to your SoulCollage® materials and begin to make your card. Throughout your card making, notice your body and move with it. SoulCollage® is a moving meditation.
Marci Wenn, LCSW-R, RYT
is a mother, grandmother, wife, SoulCollage® Facilitator, yoga teacher, and clinical social worker. She is passionate about living her creativity more fully with the help of her many teachers in both SoulCollage® and yoga. She is a student of Clarissa Pinkola Estes and has attended her Singing Over the Bones and Art as a Sacred Act trainings through her Institute for Archetypal and Cross-cultural Studies. Her family and her animals are always inspiring, and she is grateful for them each and every day.