Yoga is known for helping with flexibility while also improving concentration, putting people into a more meditative state — and a new phenomenon known as Zentangle explores a form of yoga purely for the mind.
The basic premise behind Zentangle is a relaxing form of pattern-based artwork that fosters creativity. It’s done through simple steps that are easy for anyone to do, even the most inexperienced artists out there.
Zentangle enthusiast Sandy Steen Bartholomew has taken this concept and made it her own with Yoga for your Brain sets of cards. Each deck contains 40 cards, all having their own specific design to draw. While they function as steps to drawing cool designs, there is more to these cards than meets the eye.
Using the cards begins with repetition of a pattern in order to learn the new design, trying to match it to your own and shading it to a similar degree as the example shown on the card. These designs are usually patterns that are simpler than expected. Once you feel you have one pattern down, you move on to another.
While it may seem tedious, it’s more of a focused kind of doodling — a pleasant distraction. But, distraction or not, it’s clear after a session that the cards have gotten your mind going and looking to be creative.
After you feel you have a few patterns down, it’s time to use them in your own piece of art. The most basic form of this is creating a square to draw your creation, then using that square as a frame to draw a random scribble that divides the section up. From here you fill the various sections made by the scribble line with different patterns you’ve learned making these abstract pieces of art.
It’s satisfying turning doodles and scribbles into something artistic that looks surprisingly beautiful. This feeling only increases as you continue playing with the cards, incorporating more patterns and combining them into all kinds of different shapes. The cards even have examples of ways you can bring your patterns to fill out characters or landscapes you’ve created.
There are three decks available, each with their own level of difficulty. If you are really interested in getting into Zentangle, though, it is recommended to get all of them for a more satisfying experience.
If you’re a beginner when it comes to all thing art, the Kidz Edition is a great start. Since these offer simpler designs that don’t take long to get the hang of, the fun of the drawings can be found right from the start.
After some practice you can move on to the Original Edition, which provides less direction and offers a stack of increasingly complicated designs with interesting ways to implement them.
Once you feel you’ve mastered the starter decks there is the Totally Tangled Edition, which brings together all that you have already learned and complicates it considerably. These designs are where you’ll see some of the most elaborate creations that are easier to make than one would think.
Facing a mental block while working is one of the hardest things to get past and remain productive, but Yoga for your Brain offers a great remedy.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor