If you look hard enough you will find inspiration in the least likely places. This month we got a chance to talk about just that with Chris Counce, a local yogi, who shares with us how he stumbled upon a delightfully fun and artistic meditation that has turned into a business. Just looking through his work will instantly bring a smile to your face.

How did you get started painting birds doing yoga?

It started as an activity with my 5 year old daughter Finley.  I just wanted to try creating instead of consuming other people’s creations.  So I went to the art store and bought some nice pencils and some cheap paper. We started drawing movie characters, etc.. Here I should mention that I am a yogi and I am obsessed with alignment.  So one day I tried doing an oriole in anjenaasana (high lunge) and that was bird number one.  If you scroll way back on my Instagram @birdsdoingyoga you can see that little guy. They are made with pencil, watercolor and iridescent ink. I have never taken art and I have absolutely no idea if I am doing any of it right.

great-blue-heron-in-pidgeonIs this your full time gig?

It is not my main source of income but it is really fun and has an amazing calming effect on me.  I get completely silent and start trying different angles with a pencil or brush until I feel like I have something to build on.  If I had a deadline or a revenue number I was trying to hit I think my angles would suffer. So right now art and yoga are just two great things I can reach for that feel really right.

What’s been the reaction to Birds Doing Yoga? 

The reaction has been overwhelming.   I get messages from people all over the world.  I read every comment, tag, exited remark and try to thank every single person for his or her feedback.  I wonder how people process each one.  Do they try to figure out the bird and pose?  Do they hit the hashtag to see if my drawing looks at all like the real thing?

What’s the most rewarding part about making Birds Doing Yoga?

The most rewarding thing is I get to say to my daughter, “Let’s do this together.” If we never discovered this we would always be doing something one of us was not thrilled with.

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Me playing dolls . . . her watching hockey . . . you get the idea.  I feel like this was meant to happen.  On a personal level I now feel like every couple days I need to create something new.  I can identify with artists and their need to consistently express themselves in new ways.  That’s a pretty cool feeling.

mandarin-in-fallen-triangleWhat do you do when you’re not painting birds in downward dog?  

Paint birds in Warrior 2 . . . just kidding. I run around with my wife Michelle and daughter Finley enjoying the best city on earth Denver, Colorado.  I also create farm and cycling art and practice yoga as often as possible.  It is on my mat that I get inspiration from my teachers and my practice.

How long have you lived in Denver?

I moved here in 1999 after growing up in St. Louis.

Favorite things to do around town?  

Nothing groundbreaking here. We totally live like Denver people 24/7.  Music, farmers markets, hike, bikes, go to kids games, head downtown, Red Rocks, to the mountains, etc.

Chris wraps up his experience nicely when he says, “If I can make someone happy or change the arc of their day by sharing my interpretation of a bird twisted in a yoga pose I am completely inspired.”  We can’t help but feel the same way about our neighbor.

To learn more about Chris’ work visit www.birdsdoingyoga.com or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/birdsdoingyoga/