Sitali and Sitkari Pranayama
Sitali and Sitkari Pranayama and a Cooling Spray for when you get too hot inside or out!
12th May 2019
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Yoga and Creativity

Be more creative in practicing yoga!

Go With the Flow: practice yoga and creativity

We can frame and reframe how we use yoga as often as the needs in our life change. One day we are stiff in muscles, another day we are stiff in mind. We learn to pause and notice how we show up to class and give ourselves what we need that day. We use our creativity in the form of flexibility in our attitude to continually bend our yoga practice to our needs.

When yoga and creativity marry, a happy, couple ensues! One day we flow through yoga with zeal and a zest for life, the next yoga class we show up needing a grounding session to calm the chaos, so we purposely and peacefully flow through a practice threaded with a soothing or uplifting mantra.

You may already be considering all of this, and want to know more! Luckily, the research on yoga and creativity continues to expand.

Clearing the Way for Creative Expression

We come to our mats and focus on our breath. We focus on our asanas and breathe through them. We release thoughts and “dis-ease” of the body and mind. Expressing ourselves through pranayama breathing exercises, yogic asanas or postures can address and release intangible emotions, bothersome ruminations, feelings or tightness of breath that block our flow in life.

The same desired ease, or zone, can also be an infinite place of creativity. Maybe you want to flow through the formulating and writing of a business plan for a new venture. Or for you, “getting in the zone” means getting out for a warm-up run before some meditative moments or strengthening asanas.

We use the marriage of yoga and creativity to craft our own best-practice of yoga, with different amounts of yogic elements depending on where we wake up that day or where we aim our goals.

Mind Set up for Success

  1. I love shaking out cobwebs with inversions. Flipping my head upside down, as many times as possible each day, refreshes and balance me. How do you recharge and re-position yourself for creating, for planning, for formulating?
  2. If you think you are not creative, try reshuffling your deck of hard-wired beliefs. Study ancient Eastern beliefs. Bring playfulness and curiosity into your life. Consider and adapt your own interplay of yoga and creativity from day to day.
  3. Notice how you label things. “That’s weird.” Or maybe you imagine being judged by others. Have you ever tried out strange styles of laughing? Weird ways of walking? Probably not as an adult. We restrict and distance ourselves from the joys of childhood for various reasons – perhaps the fear of “not acting our age.”
  4. Releasing a shallow breathing pattern, as we regularly do in our yoga practice, also releases stifled creativity. Bringing in more prana or breath keeps us flowing with more life force to stimulate ideas and creations. Know that there are other seekers like you, and we are as supportive as you are.

Yoga and creativity both include endless possibilities for supportive thought patterning and wordage, scheduling your day, and any other way you can recharge and reignite your body and mind.

There have been a number of studies showing how yogic breathing practices increase the Alpha brain waves associated with lower levels of stress and greater levels of creativity. Alpha brain states are where brilliant ideas arise, and where athletes find their zone. Scatter your moments of deep breathing throughout your day and night!

Yes You Can!

Can we train our minds to easily hop into creative states? I believe we can.

  1. The first steps: believing you can, and making your home practice easy, with a permanently-placed mat or designated yoga area. Breathe deeply with eyes closed or five minutes. Flow through some asanas for fifteen minutes.
  2. Make a routine before bed for some soothing yoga Nidra poses and stretches to relieve the day’s tensions. Studies have shown that creativity is squashed when the creator is under stress or a deadline. Deprogramming yourself from our culture’s attitude of “I don’t have enough time” to “I have all the time I need” can help ideas flow.
  3. The regular practice of yoga’s physical and meditative aspects helps us to more readily access our creative minds. This mind-body routine boosts our ability to imagine, intuit and create.

How to Hop Back into the Zone? Some Tips:

  1. I find it effective to lock my yoga classes into my regular schedule. When I’m disciplined to put yoga classes on my calendar, the benefits then become a regular part of life. Releasing built-up energy helps me feel relaxed and at ease for making art, or writing, or swimming.
  2. Another tactic for keeping yoga’s benefits in my life is based on the buddy system – plan to drive or walk to class with a friend.
  3. And my best method is to keep a yoga mat rolled out in my home. Five or more minutes every so often, helps me get through slumps, fatigue, negativity, aches and pains and more. Yoga Nidra at night is a great wind-down to prepare for dreamland. And it helps me maintain a flow in life.

How can we train ourselves to flow easily, back and forth, into the zone of creating?

  1. Customize your zone, with music, or flowers, sunlight, or whatever energizes you.
  2. Start each creative session with silent, sitting pranayama or deep breathing time.
  3. Practice yoga asanas.
  4. Meditate. Research is showing that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain in significant ways.  Meditation and reflection have been shown to increase frontal cortex activity (linked to focus, calm and concentration) and even enlarge that front-and-center part of the brain.

Researchs about yoga and creativity:

There’s an abundance of research on how yoga helps with creativity, so try being specific with your keywords and online searches.

Azriel ReShel describes it simply on the Uplift Chanel

Cheers, to keeping an open mind!

Deirdre Anne Mckay
Deirdre Anne Mckay
Deirdre (Didi) McKay is one of the teachers at the Lucia Yoga retreat in Granada, Spain. She is an author, artist and yoga teacher and loves meeting new people and experiencing beautiful parts of the world. Didi loves teaching and sharing laughs and transcendent experiences, and guiding others along their journeys into more wellness in mind and body. She gets satisfaction from teaching as well as learning from her yoga students.

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