Art and yoga are staples in the life of Megan Weirich. They ground the artist, they’re mainstays, they are foundational.
Weirich, the events manager and a gallery associate at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery, has long been an artist and has been practicing yoga for more than a half dozen years. She currently leads weekly Vinyasa yoga sessions throughout the month of February as part of the gallery’s Wellness Month activities.
When asked about how the two forms are intertwined she can articulate with ease, their similarities and how they’re complementary to one another. Both art and yoga are for Weirich “mindful practices”.
“You make the conscious choice to do art or yoga, but it’s informed by our subconscious,” said Weirich, who has taught yoga throughout the East Bay. “there is healing that can happen by activating the subconscious mind that may lay dormant throughout the day.”
Weirich, whose paintings and drawings are self-described as a “stream of consciousness”, has dedicated much of her artistic talent to exploring her natural surroundings. Much of her work conveys environmental messages that describe the interconnectedness between the environment and human beings.
A painting depicting the unification of mind, body and spirit as it relates to earth elements and yoga postures. Painted by Megan.
She began exploring art as a high school student and realized it was something she needed to pursue further. After taking a number of community college classes, Weirich eventually attended the University of California, at Berkeley and graduated from the Practice of Art program.
It was during her time as a student that she began to practice yoga. In Vinyasa yoga, which Weirich practices, students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next.
After being immersed in a physical yoga practice, and accomplishing her training with Yoga to the People in Berkeley, a deeper interest in the practice began to take shape. She began to learn more about the psycho spiritual healing potential yoga has and started to study the energy centers, also known as chakras.
“I learned more about how yoga can heal rather than be just about striking a pose,” she said, adding, “And I was getting more and more into the meditative part of the practice. Everyone has chakras. Sometimes we may have a deficiency or an excess in one,” Weirich said. “Through this, I was starting to heal myself by my awareness of these energy centers.”
It wasn’t long before the practice began to influence Weirich’s art. She began to meditate on colors and shapes and the awareness of the body parts and emotions associated with these energy centers.
Muladhara, also know as the root chakra. Energetically this chakra characterizes concepts of home, structure, foundations, ruled by the color red. This painting utilizes recycled materials; bike tires, hubcaps, and cardboard.
“I started integrating them into my weekly yoga classes and then became interested in integrating this into my art.” She began to make art about these energy centers to see if it would make an impact visually.
The artist is acutely aware of the potential yoga has to impact one’s life and influence personal growth.
“It has shown me parts of life I may have never uncovered. It’s like a continual encouragement of growth. There is always something to learn and you have potential to be your own teacher and continue to become more self aware. “You can gain awareness and make changes with in yourself.” Megan’s general hope is that these small increases in awareness will eventually trickle out to something bigger.
It’s this level of mindfulness and sense of spirituality in yoga that Weirich also finds as an artist. As she explains, it is in these meditative moments where ones creative process and work is guided.
Megan explains that her art making process is meditative and out of body explaining that “you observe your thoughts in a different way than you’d process your thoughts during the day,” she said.
“When you take time to sit with your thoughts to create and cultivate self awareness it is nurturing some part of your well-being. The physical act of connecting hand and tool to paper enables a connection to your thoughts that can be meditative,” she added. “With drawing for example, it is more of a stream of consciousness for me, and I connect to an emotion and a feeling and I have that guide me in creating a form.”
When reflecting on Abrams Claghorn Gallery and the role it can play in its community, Weirich hopes it can ultimately build a tighter community of residents. The gallery is hosting a broad range of workshops on topics such as yoga, and nutrition, and body positive art. There will also be talks given on how to align Art and Spirit, Ayurveda, Vibrational Healing, and Healing Images.
“Making art is an enriching way for you to spend time with your community. It can be healing,” said Weirich. “We are doing something together and it is good for building up our community and forging positive relationships. We want the gallery to be a place not just for exhibitions and shopping, but also for education, a community resource and place for inspiration. We are traditionally speaking, a retail shop at the gallery. We offer locally-made gifts,” she said, reflecting on Valentine’s Day.
With respect to the national observance, Weirich added, “We decided we didn’t want to be typical and emphasize Valentine’s Day as a day all about giving gifts, because it’s also about self-care. I believe if we can take care of ourselves then we can take care of each other more, and our community.”
Megan leads Vinyasa flow yoga sessions every Wednesday throughout the month of February at 8:30 a.m. –
Interview and writing by Stacy Lavilla. Stacy is a Bay Area-based freelance writer.