Yoga & Fine Jewelry Making: The Ultimate Expression Of Self Love, Äyna Style
A piece of jewelry is often a piece of art, but it only becomes valuable when emotions are added to it ~ Anonymous
Äyna Jewelry hosted its first Yoga & Fine Jewelry Making Weekend a few weeks ago, and we were both excited and curious to see how the experimental combination would turn out. While it’s not clear who the person behind that anonymous quote was, it’s beautiful to think that a voice from the past reached into the present moment and perfectly expressed what the intention behind the workshop was all about: Delve deep into the practice of yoga to release stagnant energy from the body, to allow inner creativity to flow freely and express itself through handmade silver jewelry.
We showed up to Loman Art Gallery (best venue ever!) early Saturday morning February 15th. Although every day should be Love Day, it was still fitting that we hosted our Self-Love weekend around the spirit of St. Valentine. As all of the activities centered around Love, the first thing we did to set the tone, was to prepare Green Tea to welcome the participants with...A colour that was mindfully chosen and woven through all the meals and drinks we served.
In the Yoga Tradition, there are 7 main chakras (wheels/vortexes of energy) that run up the centre column of the body. The heart, or Anahata, is the 4th chakra and lies in the center of the chest. It’s here where emotions regarding unconditional love, joy and happiness are stored - and it’s from here that they flow forth. It’s the source of profound truths that cannot be intellectualized, but rather felt through the heart. This is the emotion that we wanted to tap into and encourage participants to channel into their jewelry.
Write a Love Letter To Yourself & Unleash Your Inner Artisan
Our journey over the course of the weekend was to unlock and open our hearts to unconditional love for ourselves in whatever way was meaningful to us. We started it off by doing a heart opening vinyasa class and writing love letters to ourselves after breakfast: Yoga to open us up and the writing exercise to let the love flow out.
This was a beautiful act of self-love: So often we write letters and tell other people how much we love them, how we appreciate their attributes or character - but we rarely do this for ourselves. It was a lovely exercise and I was happy to see words upon words flowing out and finding release on paper.
After a delicious vegan lunch, we got started with ‘Slow Fashion Handmade Jewelry 101.' All the tools and materials were laid out on the table, and I began by giving a class on sustainable jewelry and how to make hand-textured wire earrings including handmade earring hooks. We went through the different stages from conceptualization and design, to implementation and creation - practicing on copper first before moving on to sterling silver.
Silver Jewelry Making For Beginners
It was important for the participants to get a feel for the tools and metal before beginning to work with the more precious metal, silver. Everyone had creative freedom to design their own earrings - which as a teacher was a gamble on my end. Especially considering that this was their first time working on such a project. The result was incredible! Everyone was able to create and make beautiful and unique handmade jewelry that really showcased their individual personalities..
By the end of the day everyone had a pair of both copper and sterling silver earrings - handcrafted with love. The entire process itself was quite spiritual as we directed the intentional energy of self love into each piece as we were creating them.
After the 3 hour class, we packed up everything to prepare for an evening yin yoga class. We held the class outside and despite all the noise echoing in the streets, everyone was able to relax and get into a meditative state during practice. We worked on heart and hip opening poses. In a Yin class, each pose can be held between 2-7 minutes. It’s a relatively passive practice that allows us to slow down and get into the deep connective tissue - a contrast to yang yoga classes like Vinyasa that focus more on dynamic movement and muscular effort.
After a short mediation, Day 1 was complete and everyone left Loman’s with relaxed bodies, full hearts, and peaceful minds.
Movement, Massage & Magik
Day 2 started off with some morning vinyasa and a green smoothie bowl to support the heart chakra. After breakfast, we had the chance to enjoy an hour long workshop on Gua Sha conducted by Magikgyal, my workshop partner: Magik is an energy worker, licensed massage therapist, accountability partner and so much more. Her in-depth knowledge on the body and energy enabled her to give our participants tools that they could take home with them to use on their own bodies for their self-care routines.
Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese technique that involves scraping your skin with a massaging tool to improve your circulation and release stagnant “Chi” or energy. It has numerous benefits including reducing migraines and chronic pain.
After the Gua Sha session, I gave everyone extra material to make more silver earrings. Confident with their abilities to go (relatively) solo by this stage, they were able to slip into a more meditative state and give each piece of jewelry their full concentration without having to listen to instruction at the same time.
This also opened up the space for them to have a private session with Magik for a shoulder and neck massage to release even more tension. She worked her magic on everyone and it was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon...Massages and jewelry making are quite the combination!
In the evening, we took the time to enjoy a restorative yoga practice by using bolsters and blocks for ultimate relaxation. After all the creativity, vinyasa classes and massages on the body - it was the perfect way to end a magical weekend. This workshop filled my heart space to the brim, and I’m sure everyone felt the same way.
It was so much more than a teacher-student interaction: A soul-full occasion for people to come together, learn about sustainable jewelry making, and contribute collective energy towards co-creating a truly memorable experience.
It was the first slow fashion inspired weekend of it’s kind in Dakar - But it certainly won’t be the last.