The latest series on ‘The Art of Mindfulness’ at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) hosted by Vanashree Ghate, promises to transform your mind. In a conversation with The Morning Standard, the art-based therapy practitioner and educator says, “Mindfulness can help us to be better adjusted in times of stress such as the current climate that humanity as a whole is facing. Arts is the language of the soul...it’s wonderful that so many people are beginning to see its benefits. This is a sign of positivity, with so many people enrolling for these experiential workshops.”
More from the interview:
What do these workshops entail?
The ‘Art of Mindfulness Workshops’ that I am hosting on KNMA social media, create a space to make it possible to have an authentic connection to ourselves, our inner selves, our hearts and minds. Art is the natural language of the inner life, our soul. In a way, it’s a gateway, it shapes and senses how we connect and interact with the outer world. Waldorf-inspired activities that are sensory-oriented help to aesthetically centre ourselves with ease. Using simple and powerful mindfulness techniques and through a different medium of visual art for each session, we gain insights into our minds. The sessions are scaffolded to build skills sequentially and create a sense of well-being, thereby creating a renewed sense of purpose for the future.The unique quality of these sessions is the understanding they bring in terms of intelligence, feelings, emotions, and by the experience of using your hands to create.
What is your take on the arts trying to survive in the pandemic?
The pandemic has hurled us into times that have seen an unprecedented rise in mental health issues – causing stress, anxiety, frustration and loneliness. Many of us are dealing with the ‘new normal’ with a diminished sense of ‘meaningful’ living. Since ancient times, the arts have been used in well-being and health. In pandemic times, when we struggle to connect with friends and family, cultivating a deeper connection with ourselves can be nurturing and healing. Creating our ‘masterpieces’ of art can help us focus on our creativity, notice the positive in our lives and be in a state of ease and flow so we can weather the ups and downs of this altered life. While the workshops can be healing, for clinical conditions I would suggest visiting your counsellor or mental health professional.
Why did you opt for Arts Based Therapy as a career?
After working in the corporate world for 15 years post MMS, the birth of my older daughter made me re-evaluate my life. I wanted to find a more purposeful way to give back to society. I began with Waldorf Teacher Training, then trained to be a counsellor and realised along the way, that I prefer using non-verbal modalities to heal and make a positive difference to my clients. An Arts Based Therapy (ABT) practitioner seemed to be a logical progression. I am now an ABT Educator, and run an NGO called HEAL Foundation that conducts Anantaraa ABT courses to train health-care professionals.
- April 16- Session 1 Developing Resilience and Balance
- April 23- Session 2 Community and Interdependence
- April 30- Session 3 Giving Rise to Compassion & Joy