Learning from the Unconscious Image

You’ve heard of yoga, and you’ve heard of doodling, but you probably haven’t considered these two activities in partnership – let alone in a partnership aimed at improving your day-to-day life. This week, Jodi Rose Gonzales ( hosted two workshops at Ephraim’s Spa at Sacred Grounds to introduce participants to the combined power of yoga and art journaling (or, doodling, as Gonzales often refers to it). 

Gonzales – a credentialed art therapist, yoga instructor, artist and the author of Drawn to Yoga and The Doodle’s Code – compares art journaling to a “navigational device.” 

“Art images come from a part of the brain that is intuitive and symbolic,” she said. “A stick figure or common doodle can hold keys to ideas that have not yet fully developed in the conscious mind. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to explore the deeper meaning in the image. In art therapy, we call this ‘processing’ the image.” 

Jodi Rose Gonzales. Submitted.

The idea is that, once you’ve stopped consciously analyzing your thoughts as they appear, you’re able to tap into a deeper, more unconscious space in your brain that your ego would otherwise second-guess or shoot down entirely. In letting the mind wander while still loosely recording its process through doodling, you allow images and thoughts to surface without the impediment of immediate self-judgment. Through this process, you equip yourself with important tools to silence overly critical “head noise” in your day-to-day life. 

But where does the yoga part come in? Essentially, yoga acts as the perfect mind-body preparation for art journaling. Once your mind and body are calm, productive image-making comes more easily. 

“Yoga is so much more than an exercise,” Gonzales said. “It’s a discipline designed specifically to calm the body and quiet the mind in support of self-discovery. When images are generated from the quiet mind-body state, it’s like adding rocket fuel to the entire art-journal process.” 

Even though yoga and art journaling sound like practices that require a specific skill set, Gonzales emphasized the accessibility of both practices. 

“People find the process to be hugely rewarding, especially when they see results from acting on the advice of their images,” she said. “It sounds really ‘out there,’ I know, but the process is effective even for people who think they’re not artistic or who can’t draw.” 


Do your personal or professional goals seem far away, unclear or overwhelming? Boost problem-solving, goal-setting and reconnecting with your vision at Gonzales’ next workshop, Bridge to a Better Life. This fun self-discovery workshop will be held July 23, 1-3:30 pm, at the Tree of Life Yoga Studio at the Spa at Sacred Grounds in Ephraim. Space is limited, so call 920.854.4733 by July 22 to register. The $45 registration fee includes all materials. The workshop includes gentle yoga, doodle drawings and writing. Neither artistic skill nor previous yoga experience is needed to benefit from this workshop.

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