Did you ever think to yourself: “I wish I could write, paint, act, sing, dance, garden, bake, create some specialty cuisine, etc.?” Well, the possibilities of what you can do are endless. That’s because they are there within you, but perhaps just hidden.
Yoga and Creativity
There are often many distractions or excuses for not activating your creative chakras. Yet there is no real reason for not being creative since everyone has the ability if the desire is there. However, one can often feel stuck, as if something is in the way of you “getting there”, or even just getting started.
Yoga can be a good friend to help you open up these closets of creativity. There isn’t one specific yoga exercise, or in Sanskrit “asana”, to guide you. However, attaining mindfulness and focus through meditation is a large part of yoga, and it can allow creativity to flow more freely.
Hatha Yoga is the yoga I have practiced and taught for many years. In doing so, it has opened up opportunities for me in several areas. One is painting, which I never attempted in my youth. In my adult life I started taking painting classes and fell in love with it.
Once I became more involved with art, I started to explore various forms of painting media. I went from oils, to water colors, to acrylics, and then to Asian brush painting. I was so delighted to see all of the creations coming from me. Who knew?!
I have continued at it and I am proud to say that I have now sold some of my paintings, and often donate my work for charity fundraisers.
Before getting involved with yoga, it never occurred to me that I could do this, that I could have so many creative expressions. I truly believe yoga helped me in my creative path. And I did it all while bringing up six children.
I later started to broaden my creative outlets with poetry writing, chocolate making, and acting classes. I was even an extra on a few films, one featuring some major league A-list actors.
So I think you can dance
Ballroom dancing was another thing I never attempted until well into adulthood, actually not until my children were in their teens and twenties. I now have several dance competitions under my belt and have even received a few awards. I continue to take dance, acting and art lessons to further hone my skills.
These achievements did not happen all at once. Because yoga had been my friend all along, it continued to gradually open different artistic pathways for me.
This is because yoga and meditation help to free the mind from daily distractions. It can help us to focus and see things more clearly. It’s as if we are opening up blinds to let the sun in.
Whenever I am not practicing regularly, there is a noticeable difference. I become more distracted with life in in general and in turn I am less artistically productive. When I return to my regular practice, my head is clearer and more receptive.
Where to stART?
As I mentioned, there isn’t one specific yoga exercise that will magically open up your creative channels. If you have had no yoga training, you might want to seek a beginners’ yoga class, one that is gentle and where the movements are not hurried, but are performed steadily and seriously. The slower the asanas, the more beneficial.
It’s even better if your yoga practice incorporates mindfulness meditation. In fact you may find that the meditation portion of your practice is where your mind really starts to open up to creative thoughts and ideas. Mindful meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, allowing for the creative process to move more freely.
If you find there is chatter going on in your mind as you try to focus, just let it go like a fleeing bird. Don’t worry if you’re unable to do this immediately. It just takes a little practice. Eventually being able to deflect the unwanted distractions will become automatic.
You may also want to try some deep breathing exercises. Your practice should always be quiet, in a comfortable and warm room, ventilated, of course and with phone ringers off. Nonrestrictive clothing is a must, and room temperature water by your side is a good idea. You can have some soothing, relaxing instrumental music playing at a low volume if you wish.
Never practice yoga, meditation or breathing exercises on a full stomach. It takes about 90 minutes to digest. Eat lightly before your practice so your mind and body can be more focused on your practice.
Follow your heART
When you feel your mind opening up, you will want to concentrate on what your ideal creative endeavors would be. Visualize them. See them on your mind’s canvas. See yourself doing what you want to do. Do not allow any negative thoughts to interrupt your focus. Only encouraging thoughts are allowed.
This can also open up the possibility of changes in other areas of your life, even those that have more practical applications. There are books and meditations dedicated to creative visualization to help guide you to create positive changes in your life…to create the life you want.
You can stART now
If you’re already feeling even a little bit inspired, you don’t have to wait for the perfect class, book or recording to get your mind on the right path. You can actually start right now by planting a seed for your creative ideas.
Begin by inhaling slowly, and exhaling slowly. Close your eyes and imagine yourself actually involved in the creative endeavors you’d like to be involved with, making the art you’d like to make, doing the work you’d like to do. Visualize it on the screen in your mind.
Inhale and see yourself at your creative work. See the colors, see the pen moving or the keyboard typing out your poetry or stories. See yourself painting that lovely piece of art or pencil work. See yourself in a beautiful garden that you, yourself have created, or even a vase of flowers you put together yourself.
Or, see yourself with dance shoes on your feet, or with a dance partner. The music surrounds you, and you are dancing. Wherever it is you’d like to see yourself creatively, focus your mind on it. Keep your eyes closed as not to allow anything to interrupt your train of thought. Slowly inhale as you visualize, and slowly exhale.
You can also do this with your regular Yoga practice. All Hatha Yoga asanas are beneficial to your mind, body and spirit. They are a positive influence on anything you wish to focus on.
Remember not to rush. Be patient, you will find it rewarding. If you skip some days or are unable to practice for some reason, do not worry as you have already planted the seed for a new you. Nourish your ideas when you are able to and your body, mind and spirit will help them to grow.