Today we’d like to introduce you to Miranda Ratner.
Miranda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in an oasis in the hills of Silverlake. My parents are world travelers, artists, activists, and lovers of life. Growing up, my home overflowed with art and artifacts from all over the world. As a little girl, I traveled the world with my family, experiencing cultural and artistic wonder; my parents made sure to season their children well. The values of my upbringing have only grown and evolved into my unique signature. I’m inspired by everything I’ve seen, from breathtaking landscapes to vibrant folk art to vibrant people. Becoming a working artist and Yoga Instructor has revealed to me how much my upbringing has influenced my life choices and professional path. I’ve been practicing Hatha Yoga since the age of three and exploring artistic expression even longer. Since graduating Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and California College of Art and obtaining two certifications in Hatha Yoga Instructing, I’ve discovered how my personal path has been forming and growing ever since I can remember. Artistic expression and Yoga practice resonates with me, and my relationship to them both deepens every day. Apart from my own art practice, I have been teaching art for more than a decade, from assisting my mother in her Parent-Child art classes to leading After-School Elementary Art programs to volunteer teaching at Summer Camps in California, New Hampshire, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
As an art and Yoga teacher, my professional mission is to combine the two practices as a means towards discovering personal truth. I love teaching both children and adults; as someone who has made art and done Yoga my whole life I believe these practices have a purpose for all ages. Both practices give me insight into what my personal truth is, and what I stand for. Apart from being very personal, creating art is a tradition of honoring life and giving thanks. I’ve discovered how much Yoga and art go hand in hand as tools for expressing devotion and gratitude for everything life has to offer. The visual result of the melding of art and Yoga in my artwork is vibrant, abstract, kaleidoscopic, and celebratory. The Sanskrit phrase Sat Chit Ananda means “The Truth of Consciousness is Bliss.” That’s what I’m aiming to achieve in my artwork and my teaching: inspiring joy. In respecting our beautiful earth, I use found and recycled materials as much as I can in my work. A major principle in Yogic philosophy is to live with care and respect for our surroundings, and a sustainable and resourceful art practice is one of the ways I give thanks for this life. Through making art and teaching what I love, I express my profound gratitude and joy, in hopes of inspiring the same positive feelings in others.
Has it been a smooth road?
Occasionally people roll their eyes when I tell them I’m a Yoga teacher and artist– two fields that are overpopulated and underpaid. In college, I was required to take a class as a painting major that discouraged us from becoming working painters. However, my parents encouraged me to go after my dreams and to do what gives me confidence and determination. Being an independent contractor and freelancer is a challenge. For Yoga teaching, I work an hour at a time, and it’s difficult to make a day’s pay without driving all over the city. What keeps me motivated is my love of my craft and the dedication to help share peace of mind and body with my students. Paramahansa Yogananda, the Yogi who brought Hatha Yoga to the West, spread Yoga with the intention of enhancing the quality of lives of millions, in turn improving the quality of life on earth. The challenges in my fields, Yoga and art, are known to be countless, but my passion and fortitude are what keep me going. My love for my work will ultimately allow me to thrive.
Please tell us more about your art.
I teach Art and Hatha Yoga in both group and private settings. In my Yoga classes, I create a full-body healing experience accessible to all. I work with all types of bodies of all ages, and many of my students have physical limitations which I’ve learned much from by adapting accordingly. I teach various Hatha Yoga styles: Vinyasa Flow, Anusara Yoga, Yoga Stretch, and Restorative Yoga. In my Stretch and Restorative Yoga classes, I aim to get my students to give their full attention to their bodies, resulting in rejuvenation and equalization. I have years of exploring these practices, studying mind-body connectivity, and feeling how my own body responds to the things I’ve learned, and all I’ve gained as a Yoga Student and practitioner informs my teaching. I wouldn’t know what I know now if it weren’t for all of the teachers I’ve had; I stand on the shoulders of artists and healers. I have a lifetime of learning, adapting, and growing ahead of me because I’m always hungry for more. My practice and way of understanding and connecting to my own body works well for me, and I hope to share my knowledge and make others feel just as good.
In terms of my art teaching, I teach a method that I’ve been forming my whole life, a creative process that deeply resonates with me. My journey as an artist and art student have led me to a way of making art that is raw and uninhibited. I’ve stripped what I’ve learned down to a creative process that is as free as a six years old making art; it is therapeutic and healing. I create on impulse, using a visual language based on color and shapes. I’ve never been so satisfied as I am today by the visual results of my work. I work from one moment to the next without expectation, without attachment to results; this has been an ecstatic way of making art for me. I believe everyone has a right to creative expression, and I want to help people shed the fear of “not being able to draw.” I believe art saves lives; it allows us to drop into a meditative, transcendental space, and I want to share that space with everyone.
Another artistic practice I integrate into my teaching is the ability to see trash as possible art material. Sustainability and up-cycling is an important part of my practice, and I believe implementing this mindset into art practice is both creatively stimulating and serves the cause of caring for our planet and preserving life on earth. Imagine if we started teaching school-age children how to view resources as valuable and non-disposable; I believe it would alter the way future generations live on this planet.
During the current global health crisis, I’ve been teaching online Yoga classes twice a day five days a week. Before the quarantine, I taught mostly Vinyasa Flow Yoga in gyms and studios, and since then I’ve been teaching gentle all accessible Yoga Stretch and Restorative Yoga online from my home. What prompted this change was the desire to give my family and loved ones a full-body healing experience. Prior to this, I was only teaching one restorative Yoga class a week, I had only scratched the surface of the abundance restorative Yoga has to offer. Teaching Restorative Yoga online to my family and a growing clientele has allowed me to go deeper into my understanding and connection to my body and Yoga as a whole.
I’m developing a practice that dives deep into full-body healing, from focusing the mind on the body and allowing it to relax and soften, and return to its most natural state–free of stress and tension. Throughout our lives tension builds in our bodies through mental and physical stress and traumas, and it is important to address and dissolve that stress in the body. Employing the power of the mind and the body, we have the capacity to heal ourselves and return to our bliss. Sat Chit Ananda–the truth of consciousness is bliss.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA is my home. I was born and raised in this town, I’m an Angeleno through and through. I have an appreciation for this city that is informed by 25 years of experience. There’s a vibe, a warmth, a positive life-force to this place, a way the sun shines, a way the birds chirp, a motivation and chill about the people; it’s a place like no other place. We have everything here, beaches, museums, all types of restaurants, entertainment, outdoor activities; and a myriad of opportunities. This town is rich with culture and arts. That being said, I’m sick of the traffic and the dry air, and because I’ve been here my whole life with the exception of moving away for college, I one day plan on escaping to somewhere greener, wetter, and more immersed in nature. For now, I’m here to see what kind of magic this city and I can make together.
- $20 for Online Yoga Hour
- $75 Private Yoga Hour Online or In Person
- Website: mirandaratner.com
- Instagram: @mirandaratner