Find Balance with Ikebana Flower Arranging

Find Balance with Ikebana Flower Arranging

Classbento Team

To the untrained eye, ikebana may seem like just a few flowers in a bowl. The translation of the name doesn’t shed much light, with ike meaning “arrange” or “alive” and bana meaning “flower (1).” Ikebana is also sometimes referred to in relation to kado or “the way of the flower (2).” But this etymology doesn’t get us any closer to understanding what ikebana is, why it is so popular, or where it came from.

ikebana flower arrangment

So to paint the picture, let’s consider the following scene:

 

Image that the year is 1403 and you are in Kyoto, Japan. You are approaching a Zen Buddhist temple, which is perched on the edge of a tranquil lake. Everywhere you look, you see twisting pines and thick green foliage. Pink and white cherry blossoms seem to be falling delicately from the sky. This is a sacred place, and as such it is quiet and calm.

 

The square building in front of you is three stories tall, each level separated by an ornate, sweeping roof and wrap-around walkway. The siding is yellowish-gold color which sets the temple in stark contrast with the soft greenery surrounding it. As you walk closer, you notice there is a doorway on the side of the temple facing the water, and you enter with bated breath.

 

Inside, simplicity governs the space. Natural light filters through panes of thin-paper windows and the wood flooring is bright and open. The room is free of all furniture, except for an altar at the center, directly in front of you.

 

The mantle is arranged on three tiers: at the top is an ornate carving of the Buddha in black stone. The two lower levels house four different floral arrangements, each seeming to defy gravity with their sprawling stems and drooping flowers.

 

You are surprised by the array of colors: deep violet tulips are placed with bright red buds and wide pink water lilies. Interspersed with the flowers are precariously arranged leafless sticks and pine tree branches, which reach up and lean gracefully over to the side or curl around the outside of the arrangement as if holding everything in.

 

Each ikebana is its own world of balance, playfulness, and tranquility. You could look at each one for hours, focusing on each individual blade of grass, stem, stick, or flower petal, and never tire of its design. Incredibly, each ikebana also adds to the balance of the altar as a whole. The effect is a kind of visual relaxation that is at once satisfying and mystifying.

 

You realize, as you continue to appreciate the earthly beauty in front of you, that you are unconsciously practicing a fundamental Zen Buddhist tradition: the practice of mindfulness, of allowing the mind to exist in the present moment, and to bask in the calmness and serenity of the body (3).

Put simply, ikebana is not just a few flowers in a bowl. It is an art form. A spiritual journey. An integral piece of Japanese tradition.

 

Even to the untrained eye, this is something sacred and special.

 

And now, it is open to individuals all over the world. Classes range from beginner’s design to advanced floral arrangement. Classbento’s Setsuko Yanagisawa leads an exciting introductory course which covers the basics of ikebana like layering flowers and building up an arrangement from the base.  You will even learn the different types of Japanese flora and fauna in order to make a beautiful and authentic work of art.

 

As with any creative pursuit, ikebana also offers a range of mental health benefits as well. The most, obvious benefit, probably is the meditative element of Japanese flower arrangement.

 

The benefits of meditation are well-documented (4), and have been shown to have a positive impact on people dealing with anxiety, depression and even physical pain. Ikebana can invite you to meditate by focusing your awareness on the technical and creative task at hand. You’ll find yourself so immersed in the beauty of your work, that you may not even realize that you’re meditating until you leave the session relaxed and serene.

 

Another advantage of practicing ikebana: self-expression. According to the Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission (6), self-expression is a key factor in improving mental health and wellbeing. Luckily, ikebana is fundamentally a practice of self-expression, in which each arrangement speaks to the emotions and visual aesthetic of the individual creator. Furthermore, it can lead to a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, and because there are more than 3,000 schools of ikebana today(5), you will never run out of ways to express your creativity.

 

If you’re interested in incorporating your newfound skills in Japanese flower arrangements into your home, here’s some more great news for you. Ikebana can greatly improve your everyday mood by changing the ambiance of your living space. At its core, ikebana is about simplicity, balance, and an appreciation for the imperfect beauty of the natural world. These elements create a calm and relaxing atmosphere, which will naturally lower stress and rejuvenate you.

 

In addition to tranquility, the emphasis on appreciation offers its own set of advantages for those looking to take care of their mental wellbeing. According to prominent voices in the field of gratitude like Hugh van Cuylenburg (7), research clearly indicates that showing gratitude, for something as small as a glass of water to something as meaningful as a loving family, can greatly increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Ikebana teaches this practice of gratitude powerfully by asking its students to appreciate and be thankful for everything from the beautiful glazed vase to the fragile stems to the striking blooms of color and fragrance.

 

Overall, ikebana is not simply the act of arranging flowers. It goes far beyond its vague etymology into the realm of art, spirituality, and mental wellbeing. By signing up for a beginner’s class in ikebana, you are embarking on a meaningful and beautiful cultural journey.

 

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

(1)  ftd.com

(2)  livingnow.com.au

(3)  zen-buddhism.net

(4)  mindaustralia.org.au

(5)  ikebanabyjunko.com

(6)  mentalhealth.wa.gov.au

(7)  smh.com.au




Floristry workshops

Ikebana Flower Arranging Class

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Glebe

1 to 15

label $80

4.9 (116)

1k

Flower Arranging Workshop - Wildflowers

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Redfern

1 to 8

label $150

5.0 (18)

1k

Basket / Bouquet Flower Arranging Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Glebe

1 to 25

label $125

4.8 (18)

1k

Private Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Roseville

8 to 40

label $55 - $70

12k

5.0 (2)

Ikebana Floral Art Class

date_range Contact for details

location_on Ulladulla

4 to 6

label $75

Australian Flowers Arranging Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Manly

3 to 12

label $100 - $110

5.0 (1)

Flower Crown Workshop on the Beach

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Manly

3 to 30

label $70 - $75

4.8 (4)

Flower Gift Bouquet Workshop

date_range Thu 12 Dec at 7pm

location_on Roseville

1 to 15

label $140

12k

5.0 (1)

Succulent Petite Posy Arrangement Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Edgecliff

6 to 50

label $59

Succulent + Flower Bouquet Arrangement

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Edgecliff

1 to 15

label $129

Christmas Table Flower Centrepiece Making Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

3 to 30

label $85 - $95

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop (Mobile)

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

3 to 30

label $85 - $95

Romantic Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Kirribilli

1 to 20

label $90 - $125

4.7 (11)

Ikenobo Ikebana Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Chatswood

3 to 6

label $75

Wedding Flower Bouquet Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Kirribilli

1 to 10

label $138

4.8 (5)

Ikebana Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Brisbane

4 to 10

label $75

2k

Ikebana Flower Arranging Class for Beginners

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Holland Park West

2 to 6

label $60 - $75

4.0 (1)

Flower Crown Making Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Brisbane

4 to 10

label $60

2k

Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Brisbane

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Ikebana Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Albert Park

4 to 10

label $75

2k

Flower Crown Making Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Albert Park

4 to 10

label $60

2k

Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Albert Park

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

8 to 30

label $60 - $70

5.0 (1)

Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

10 to 50

label $35 - $50

Beginner's Bouquet Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

10 to 30

label $95 - $100

Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

6 to 30

label $49 - $59

2k

Flower Crown Making Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Perth

4 to 10

label $60

2k

Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Perth

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Floristry Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Perth

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Flower Centrepiece Class

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Kirribilli

1 to 8

label $155

5.0 (1)

Private Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

1 to 30

label $65 - $380

Private Flower Bouquet Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

1 to 15

label $165 - $660

Flower Bouquet Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Mornington

1 to 15

label $245

Romance of the Rose Flower Arranging Workshop

date_range 28 Sep, 26 Oct

location_on Paddington

1 to 30

label $365 - $385

4k

Ikebana Floristry Class for Beginners

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

10 to 90

label $35 - $45

5.0 (3)

Native Flower Arranging Class

date_range 11 Oct, 19 Oct

location_on Bardon

1 to 20

label $98

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Flower Bouquet Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $125

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Flower Crown Making Workshop

date_range Sat 7 Mar at 9:30am

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $98

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Hens Flower Crown Making Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Bardon

8 to 25

label $89

4.9 (87+)

3k+

DIY Wedding Bouquet Floral Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $135

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Make a Floral Boutonniere and Corsage Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Bardon

8 to 30

label $125

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Flower Crown Making Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Canberra

4 to 10

label $60

2k

Everlasting Dried Flower Arrangement Workshop

date_range Contact for details

location_on Maleny

1 to 25

label $65

2k

Garden Posies Flower Arranging Class

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $98

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Flower Vase Arrangement Workshop

date_range Thu 5 Dec at 7pm

location_on Roseville

1 to 15

label $155

12k

Bridal Party Floristry Short Course

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Roseville

5 to 6

label $495

12k

Two Day Intensive Floristry Course

date_range Sat 5 Oct at 10am

location_on Roseville

1 to 6

label $775

12k

Creative Flower Arranging Team Building Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Roseville

8 to 100

label $50 - $75

12k

Floristry Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Canberra

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Canberra

4 to 10

label $90

2k

Floral Vintage Teacup Workshop

date_range Sat 5 Oct at 9:30am

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $49

6k

10k+

Make a Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Stafford

5 to 20

label $75

6k

10k+

Native Bouquet Workshop

date_range 26 Oct, 23 Nov

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $70

6k

10k+

Create and Sip Class - Floral Crowns

date_range Sat 5 Oct at 3pm

location_on Seventeen Mile Rocks

1 to 30

label $45

5.0 (3)

5.0 (17+)

Floral Table Centrepiece Workshop

date_range

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $145

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Make a Christmas Wreath Door Hanging Workshop

date_range

location_on Bardon

1 to 30

label $140

4.9 (87+)

3k+

Christmas Floral Table Arrangement Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Stafford

1 to 10

label $140

6k

10k+

Christmas Dried Wreath Workshop

date_range 30 Nov, 07 Dec

location_on Stafford

1 to 10

label $110

6k

10k+

Native Bush Bouquet Christmas Workshop

date_range Sat 7 Dec at 9:30am

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $110

6k

10k+

Christmas Hat Box Arrangement Workshop

date_range 23 Nov, 18 Dec

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $95

6k

10k+

Christmas Table Wreath Workshop

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $120

6k

10k+

Kids Christmas Posy Box Workshop (5+ Years)

date_range 17 Dec, 19 Dec

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $40

6k

10k+

Seasonal Bouquet Workshop

date_range Sat 19 Oct at 9:30am

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $80

6k

10k+

Pickle Jar Posy Workshop

date_range Sat 12 Oct at 9:30am

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $70

6k

10k+

Kids Flower Arrangement Workshop

date_range 25 Sep, 01 Oct

location_on Stafford

1 to 20

label $40

6k

10k+

Hens Party Flower Crown Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Stafford

10 to 35

label $70 - $75

6k

10k+

Porcelain Plate and Posie Making Workshop

date_range 26 Oct, 02 Nov

location_on Kirribilli

1 to 12

label $128

Christmas Wreath Making - Belrose

date_range Wed 4 Dec at 11am

location_on Belrose

1 to 20

label $25

Christmas Wreath Making - the Hills

date_range Thu 12 Dec at 11am

location_on Castle Hill

1 to 20

label $25

Mobile Australian Flower Arranging Class

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

6 to 12

label $100

5.0 (1)

Mobile DIY Christmas Wreath Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Comes to your venue

6 to 30

label $85

Introduction to Floristry Course

date_range Runs regularly

location_on Virginia

1

label $1,175

1k

1k+


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