Cast your mind back to when you were a child and you got a new coloring book, or a set of crayons or new paints. Remember how happy you were? But something happens as we age. We allow the opinions of others to influence how we spend time pursuing joy. Ask yourself “when and why did I stop being artistic?”. Because chances are that desire is still there. Especially if you find yourself sitting at table with a bunch of 5 year old’s coloring. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you might have heard about art therapy. In this article, I want to talk specifically about using coloring as meditation, and how it relates to yoga.
As therapeutic methods go, art is definitely budget friendly. The best part is, that it can be accessible to all. Because even those who claim to “have no creative bone in their body”, can color in a coloring page. Making this accessible, to even the most unwilling Picasso.
Coloring as meditation
When we meditate our brains, switch off from the high stress anxious state (sympathetic nervous system response). And instead, we flip the switch into relaxation (parasympathetic). This is also the reason you may want to yawn in meditation, find your tummy grumbling or you begin to salivate more than usual. Our bodies natural response is to “chill”. When we imagine meditating, most of us think of the traditional method. Of sitting crossed legged, eyes closed, just breathing. Many find that impossible. Ever heard someone say “I tried meditation, but I just can’t do it”. Good news! There are some fun ways to assist in getting into that meditative state. It’s the difference in yoga between dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation).
How coloring pages relate to yoga
I’ve talked before that yoga is more than the poses. That is just one small part of a longer path. An eight limb path, if you are following Pantajali’s path to enlightenment. The eight steps are:
Of note for this topic of conversation, are dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation). Many times in modern speak we confuse the two (just as we confuse yoga and asana as the one and the same) but they are succinctly different. And yet universally linked. Meditation in it’s true form cannot be taught, rather it is briefly experienced. It’s something that arises out of concentration/focus on one thing. Have you ever experienced doing something, with so much focus on ONE single thing, that time ceases to exist? That is concentration or dharana. It primes the pump for meditation, and has many of the same benefits. We can get those benefits from art therapy, like using coloring as meditation.
Benefits of coloring
So often we tell children to concentrate and focus, but don’t allow them to build the skills required to this task. Heck, many parents don’t focus as we’re too busy trying to multitask. Then, as our lives get busier and busier, we become more and more stressed and anxious. Coloring as meditation can help! Benefits of this practice include:
- Reduces levels of stress & anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase mindfulness
- Helps combat depression
- Improve focus
- Increase motor skills
Of course one of the biggest benefits is that it’s FUN. Seriously, when was the last time you did something create without pressure to BE creative yourself?
Free Printable Coloring Page
As we move into a New Year one of my goals for this year is to be more purposeful with the things I share. And provide more value for you as my audience. So to that end I have begun creating coloring pages. Nothing fancy. No pressure. Just something fun you can print, and color at your leisure. Now obviously there has to be a catch, and that it that it’s only for for email subscribers or Patrons. Interested in getting this printable coloring page? Click Here.
Each month I plan on sending out a new page to help you get all the benefits of meditation, while being creative. What else do you get? Well I let my brain spill out and be vulnerable sharing lessons I’ve learned, challenges I’m doing, and ask for your help creating content to serve you. As part of my community you drive the content forward. My mission is to help you live your yoga, and love your life. If that sounds like a deal then click here to sign up and join.
- When was the last time you expressed your creativity?
- Have you used coloring pages before?
- Do you meditate?