We recently caught up with Julia Knight ahead of our day retreat The Artist’s Way at The Hepworth on 25th August, to find out more about what she has planned for us.

Who is your session aimed towards?

The session is aimed towards everybody interested in exploring yoga and creativity. Everybody will be made to feel very welcome whether you’re completely new to yoga or have years of experience.

The workshop lasts for 4 hours. How long will we be spending practicing yoga?

The workshop includes lunch so will be approximately 3 1/2 hours of practical yoga, and then lunch which will be included, whilst sharing ideas and showing what we’ve been working on.  

I’m not very artistic. Can I still come along?

The retreat is essentially to develop and inspire creative practices for non-artists, and to inspire artists from a yoga practice viewpoint. We will be playing with various exercises such as 2 handed drawing, working together in both pairs and groups, and delving into our individual creativities. We will explore attitudes of mind and our inner critic, which these ways of approaching creativity can help switch off. My aim is to make the day fun as well as interesting.

What is the link between yoga and art?

Yoga helps us return to our centred still self, getting out of the grip of the chattering mind. Absorbing our mind in creative processes such as making visual art can do exactly the same thing though mindfulness, focus and meditation.  Yogic art can be used to evoke a state of meditative bliss in the viewer and we will be exploring making our own mandalas which can then be used in a meditation practice. We will also play with abstract forms inspired by some of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures., where forms are rounded and hint of mandalas as well as shapes from the human form.

Will it be difficult? I’m not very flexible!

This will be a Hatha yoga practice, with each posture explained in detail, and offered at different levels. Working in this way means that everyone can get something from each posture, whilst being safe yet challenged at your experience level. Yoga is very adaptable, and the focus is listening to your mind and body. If something doesn’t feel right, it can always be modified or adapted to suit you.

What style of yoga will we be doing?

We’ll be exploring the hatha practice, through an exploration of mind states from the Asana (Postures) Drishti (Yogic Gazes), Pranyama (Breathwork), Mantra (Sound) and Mudra (Hand positions to promote connection). We’ll also be exploring the cross over with creativity.

Do I need to have any yoga experience?

Not at all! Everyone is welcome, whether you’re a yogi who’s exploring creativity or a creative who’s exploring yoga!

What do you want students to take away from the day?

Knowledge and practices that they can integrate into their yoga, and also to energise and support their creative practices. Art work that they will have made and a record of their creative explorations which can be used again to warm up for other creative work and disciplines.

What will be involved throughout our time at The Hepworth?

We’ll work together to explore the chattering monkey mind, as well as playing with responses. We’ll look at how the mind responds to shapes and images, working with abstract art – which allows intuition and creativity time and space to not be overridden by habitual thought pattern responses. We’ll turn chaos into creativity.

I’m not able to make the retreat but I’d love to come to one of your classes. When do you teach and what are your classes like?

I teach three Yin Yoga classes throughout the week on Wednesdays at 5:15, Thursdays at 11:30 and Sundays at 11. I also teach an Ashtanga class on a Sunday at 9:15. My classes focus on meditation, alignment, and breath work.

Can you describe The Artists Way in 3 words?

Create, explore, and discover.

Would you like to add anything?

My background is in art, having attended art college and working as a Community Cohesion Artsworker. I focus on making art accessible for everyone, working with a wide range of people to encourage communications, develop and building self-esteem through expression. I’m really looking forward to bringing this to Kula and celebrating art and student stories throughout the day.

To book your place on The Artist’s Way // Day Retreat click here.