Ryan Blume Exclusive Q&A
Artist & Yogi extraordinaire behind top-selling design, Chakra Energy, explains why he chooses to practice on Sankalpa Yoga products, and why you should switch too, NOW!
Sankalpa Yoga: Tell us about your experience practicing asana and/or meditation on your mat.
Ryan Blume: The material of the mat is great. The surface is really soft and inviting to your body. My Chakra Energy design works as a centering point for your eyes in downward facing dog and other centering poses. I love sitting on the heart centered (green) chakra on my mat for meditation. It sets the intention from the get go. But if I'm looking to balance other energies I can choose which chakra accordingly.
Sankalpa Yoga: What does your design mean to you?
Ryan Blume: My design represents the energy body and the chakra meridians that are along the spine. The centered green heart chakra is a constant reminder to me to be heart centered. The is the meeting point between the lower grounding chakras and the upper expanding chakras. The design invites people to look into there energy body and begin to question the existence of chakra energy meridians.
Sankalpa Yoga: How was your experience practicing on an artist designed yoga mat?
Ryan Blume: It has been really great. It's fun to lay out a mat that no one has ever seen before and when people ask, it opens up a connecting conversation about the meaning of the design, who designed it and why. I love the bringing together of yoga teachers and artists to create a unique visual representation of their collective vision.
Sankalpa Yoga: Why would you recommend a Sankalpa Yoga Community mat over other brands?
Ryan Blume: I would, first and for most because proceeds go to help fund yoga teachers and artists most of who continue to struggle to make a living teaching or creating art. What other yoga mat brand can say that? Also, Sometimes I feel like our asana practice can be over emphasized or too goal orientated, and I find the imagery on Sankalpa Yoga Community mats remind us of the fuller embodiment of yoga, encompassing of all 8 limbs.
Yogi & Artist: Ryan Blume | Chicago, IL
About Chakra Energy: "You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as the universe. You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean"~Alan Watts.
My chakra energy design is representative of this Alan Watts quote. I believe at our core we are a unique pattern of energy and along our central axis there are energy meridians represented as different colored chakras. When we practice yoga we open up any blockages in these chakras and allow for optimal flow of energy. When our energy is flowing freely, we can live our life to our fullest potential.
Ryan's Sankalpa: My sankalpa is to always keep a "beginner's mind". No matter how much I think I know or how long I practice a discipline, I vow to keep an open mind to the infinite possibilities and perspectives of the universe.
Favorite Pose: savasana (corpse pose) because the rest feels needed and deserved after a long hard practice.
Ryan's Artist Bio: Through my illustrations I’ve been able to combine two of my major passions in life: yoga and art. I’ve applied the style that I have been developing over the past seven or so years to create yogic inspired artwork. My particular style, which is organic in nature, speaks to the anatomy of the human figure and also the prana that surrounds us. I believe that we are interconnected with our surroundings and we co-manifest each other. So, you will see in my illustrations that these same organic shapes make up the figure/subject as well as the surrounding space. This emphasis on subject and environment cohesion speaks to how our movements/actions have an effect on our environment and vice versa. With this unity, I hope to invoke a sense interconnectedness and awareness to how intimately we are united with our surroundings.
Ryan's Yogi Bio: After undergoing both physical and mental traumas, Ryan needed something new in his life to provide flexibility of mind and body. Weightlifting and sports were not providing what he needed but rather furthered the pain in his body and rigid identification with ego. While in college at the university of Iowa, Ryan began his exploration into eastern philosophy and the Yoga practice. He happened upon the book "Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki and felt a strong connection to the Buddhist philosophies taught in the book. While pursuing his interest in Buddhist teaching he was compelled to take his first yoga class having read about it in the text. That sixty minute hot yoga class rocked his world both physically and mentally, and as he lay sobbing in savasana he knew that this was the challenging practice he needed. As he continued the yoga practice, it became more and more evident that the benefits he was receiving were healing the pain in his body and making him a more open compassionate person. The realization of how yoga was illuminating his life leads him to want to share the practice with others. Having received his Yoga teacher training certification from Yogaview Chicago, he continues to spread the Yoga practice through both his yoga teaching and artwork. Ryan emphasizes on staying present with your breath and using it as a tool to tune into the body. He also accentuates connecting the breathe to the movement of the body and the importance of knowing what movements to connect with the inhale and exhale. In both his teaching and artwork he illustrates how yoga provides awareness on how our movements and actions affect the environment and ourselves. Ryan believes that this blossoming of awareness that yoga creates within the individual will ultimately provide the much-needed harmony of humanity and our home, the planet earth.