Yoga Outside the Lines: Make Art While You Make Asana

Curious for more? Experience Yoga Outside the Lines at Wanderlust Stratton, June 21–24. 


We’ve all heard of our inner child. It’s a term used to describe our youthful, perfectly careless selves—the versions of our psyche that encourage us to run barefoot, marvel at the stars, and delight in spontaneity. Our inner children represent a judgment-free version of ourselves. And yes, while bills and taxes and eating enough vegetables are totally important for living a full life, it’s arguably equally important to give that child a voice too.

Introducing Yoga Outside the Lines, a unique combination of yoga and art therapy where your mat becomes a literal canvas. Practitioners begin class with pieces of charcoal beneath their palms and then launch into an exploratory, soul-nourishing flow. The entire experience is one that simultaneously grounds and uplifts, remind us to let go of judgment and welcome courage and creativity.

We spoke to Debbie Siegel, founder of YoGoGirls.com and Yoga Outside the Lines to learn more about this innovative form of therapeutic expression.

How did you develop Yoga Outside the Lines? 

My authentic style of teaching yoga draws from a core belief in the powers of imagination. I infuse creativity into all the yoga classes and workshops I teach. Yoga Outside the Lines came to me after a friend and I witnessed a performance artist in New Orleans whose original inspiration was crafting sand angels at the beach. I got excited to see what others might create combining the mind-freeing aspects of flowing through a vinyasa with the mediums of charcoal and canvas.

How do you personally combine yoga and art therapy? What are the benefits?

I teach mindfulness to young kids through musical puppet shows. This experience, along with being a mom, keeps reminding me of the refreshing spontaneous, light-heartedness of children. Through “Mindful Marionettes” I get the honor of being in the presence of children while gifting them with the powerful tools of yoga and mindfulness. I drop my adult side and bring my inner child out during these shows. I’ve noted similarities when practicing yoga. It helps me find the same carefree approach to life that comes so easily to children. I’m not worried about the future or fretting over the past. I’m present.

Why is it important to nurture the inner child aspect of our psyche?

As a little girl, I knew I was an artist and would spend hours painting, drawing, and dreaming. Somewhere along the way, that belief got buried deep inside of me. I was able to revive this more artistic side, the inner child, of myself through my involvement with YoGoGirls, Mary Engelbreit Studios, and other creative projects. Those experience reminded me that I was still a dreamer. Creativity literally has the power to rekindle our inner child. 

Now as I approach 50, I am well aware of the effects of “growing up.” We are programmed and encouraged from a pretty early age to start acting like an adult. The adult mindset, however, is often cluttered with stress, responsibilities, worry, goals, and more. We age and set aside the carefree nature of our youth—that young human who was full of wonder and curiosity, who was playful, open to adventures and spontaneity. We set aside that person who took time to enjoy the simplest things in life, who was present in moments of creativity.

Yoga Outside the Lines changes that. In this program, you get to embrace the childhood pastime of freely drawing without worry about getting messy or how your final piece compares. You rekindle the passion and spirit of your childhood by simply creating art with your body. You drop your adult side for 90 minutes and reclaim some magic moments, ultimately discovering your authenticity by bringing out your inner child. You find the same carefree approach to life that comes so easily to children—not worrying about the future or fretting over the past. You are present. 

Debby Siegel, MSA, RYT. Debby inspires joy while crushing fear, leading yogis around the world through mindful practices with creativity woven into every class. Her yoga students discover their edges while engaging all 43 of their smileasana muscles. Self-dubbed the Yoga Evangelist, Debby connects yogis to their truest selves through yoga and yoga businesses to their people through mindful branding practices. Visit her on Instagram.

Amanda Kohr is the editor at Wanderlust. You can find her exploring new highways, drinking diner coffee, and on Instagram