by Alison Chambers (@dtlvblogger)
Jenny Skies wants to help you get the emotions and experiences you’ve unwittingly stored over the years on to a canvas in a concentration of color and abstract random designs – to literally “get the issues out of the tissues”.
I do believe that what I have to offer is just another modality of healing. Using art and yoga, it’s a creative and gentle way to bring to the surface emotions or memories buried that need to be examined for healing to begin.” JS
Jenny’s professional life is as a pre- and post-op nurse; it is rewarding for her to learn about people as she cares for them. She has a particular fondness for babies and old people. She’s one of those individuals whose peaceful demeanor makes you happy to be in their presence. She speaks about “Spirit” in her conversations as one would fondly refer to their supreme being. Additional conversation and a little googling on my part helped me understand that Spirit can be defined as the Fifth Element, which exists in the other four ~ Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It is the life force, the breath, a universal energy.
Jenny has combined yoga and art into a 2 hour experience like no other yoga or art class. You step into the studio to canvas pieces pre-cut to the size of a standard yoga mat laid out with individual small bottles of a palette of colors, including two slightly larger jars of one white and one gold paint each, a small brush and a feather.
After an introduction of who she is and how she came to be teaching Artful Yoga, she spoke of how art and yoga together can help eliminate the chemicals and hormones deposited in our bodies which were activated initially to help protect us during “fight or flight” situations, but can later contribute to chronic illness and disease, as well as emotional and/or physical pain. I learned this is science based information in the Trauma Recovery Yoga teacher training workshop I attended earlier this year.
Her own introduction to yoga was a hot yoga class. She recalls initially balking at the idea of practicing yoga – all she knew about it was “leotards and stretching” – but after the session was over, she was amazed, she had spent an hour and a half with just herself and her body. So she continued to practice yoga; it took 10 years for her to finally “crack”; that is, she began to cry in class. She didn’t know why, but it felt good to her. And although extremely self-conscious about being noticed in public, she saw everybody was sweating so much no one took notice of her tears. It was then she had the “ah ha moment” where she realized her body was opening and releasing emotions – sadness, depression, rage, and guilt, all of which she had buried deep. She then understood the mind body spirit. She eventually started having memories of traumatic events that had happened to her years before. Instead of running from these memories as she was practicing, she started to give the emotions or memories a color in her mind. She would visualize that she was releasing these colors on to her mat. It was a way for her to realize she had the power to turn something ugly and painful into something beautiful. She was in control.
Yoga is not just an exercise for the body; yoga allows us to reconnect within ourselves, learning to see ourselves and our reactions to the world around us from a different perspective… being one that flows with the world instead of colliding with it. JS
She has created several of these artful yoga pieces over the past few years. And when she sees them in her home, they are not a reminder of the pain or the trauma she went through, but rather they are a symbol of growing away from things that no longer serve her. She considers these pieces a celebration of the freedom from the darkness and pain that have brought her to the present.
In these sessions, whatever happens, whatever comes up for you, she said know that by moving the paint and emotions and events where you want to, YOU are in control of your path, and making something beautiful out of something that perhaps wasn’t so beautiful. Alternatively, it could be happiness, joy and gratitude that come up for you.
When she had finished her background information and the how and why Artful Yoga works, it was time to paint. She described the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water one at a time, and we were told to select a color for each one, applying it upon our canvas in the design and manner which we chose. Upon completion of the application of our colors, she instructed us to step carefully into the paint and had us do various moves utilizing both our hands and feet, combining the paints in our own way. That being done, we were then given the option of using our paintbrush and or feather to apply the final colors, white and gold as we saw fit.
It was a wonderful experience that I would do again. Jenny’s introduction made you feel comfortable and peaceful before going into a warmup, before painting with our energy. I’m a newcomer to yoga as I enjoy more outdoor adventures and gym time, but this has made me want to take a closer look and practice more yoga to improve balance, breathing and overall wellness. The finishing touches with brushes created a wonderful sense of control and closure to adorn our raw energy on canvas. I have mine up in my studio – and am looking forward to another class. ~ Kim, artist and workshop participant
After a little cleanup and moving our canvases, the final part of our class was a guided meditation reclining on our yoga mats in whatever manner we felt comfortable. It was the perfect relaxing conclusion to an emotional experience.
This art and yoga collaborative class was held at the Downtown Yoga and Wellness Co-op located at 701 East Bridger Avenue, Suite 150, Las Vegas NV 89101, inside Driven Neurorecovery Center. You can visit their website at dtlvcoop.com to find a selection of classes and workshops.