By Olya Amburg
Imagine that in your head space there is a special room for creativity. If we want creative energy to function properly, this room should be tidy and well-designed. In my post, Yoga to Rekindle Creativity Part I: Remove the Blockages I shared how yoga can help to clean up the creative space in our head.
With this, the ‘creativity room’ in your mind will be empty and clean.
But before creativity can move in and generate some exciting new ideas, we have to decorate.
The majority of us know what interior design is, but what about the ‘mind design?’
Our thoughts, views, values, perspectives – all of these make up the design of our head space and can make or break any creative effort.
Yoga practice helps us to shape all of the above in a way that feeds the creativity rather than silences it.
1. Change the Perspective
We want the design of our brain to be colorful and diverse. This diversity comes with multiple perspectives we have on life. With yoga inversions, we become attitude challenging power houses. Turning our body upside down changes the way we view not only the physical world, but also the mental and energetic space.
We say inversion, and you might imagine a Headstand (Sirsasana) right away and feel disappointment arising:
“What if I am a beginner?”
In fact, inversions are available to beginner practitioners as much as to the yoga gurus.
Rabbit pose (Sasangasana) is a great option for beginning your inversion journey. It gives the same benefits of freshly oxygenated blood rushing towards your brain without the need of flying your legs toward the sky. In Sasangasana you can also gently massage the top of the head rocking side to side carefully to activate the crown chakra.
Dolphin pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) is another accessible pose where our head is below the heart. This asana, aside from being a great shoulder opener, allows us to cultivate a deeper connection with the self, compassion and playful joy that is so necessary for our inner child – a major contributor to our creative life.
And finally, you can try the headstand or Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), the king and the queen of inversions.
These poses increase concentration and enhance our 6 senses. By grounding down through hands and shoulders we feel more confident and alert.
2. Take it to the Edge
Now that we see and perceive in a new light, it’s time to shape the ideas. This stage is challenging for many, since now self-doubt and perfectionism are likely to step in.
Remember how you would come up with a great idea for a college essay weeks before the due date? Feeling inspired, you got to the laptop, almost savoring the triumph of being done in advance…only to hover the hands above the keyboard, trying once again to muster up the inspiration, until finally you left with a blank title page an hour later.
But as the deadline approaches a miracle happens: you manage to pull the essay together in an hour or so.
Certainly, such an effort will be moderately successful when it comes to your grade.
However, it is hard to deny that a controlled stress often helps to bring our genius ideas into the physical reality.
Balancing yoga poses are great at challenging us without sending the stress hormones into a rage.
If you are a beginner, a regular Warrior III pose (Virabhadrasana 3) is a good option. This asana fires up our core – the very space in the body where passion resides. Warrior III also teaches us how to stay calm amid the chaos our life turns into at times.
A more advanced option for the creativity ignition is the Crow pose (Bakasana). With this one everything is clear: you might plant your face into the floor. You might also fly above it. Overcoming fear means we are ready to take risks in the pursuit of the creative endeavours.
It’s ok to fall, it’s ok to make mistakes – this is another important lesson balancing poses teach us. Creativity likes mistakes, it thrives on experimentation and your willingness to begin again. So enjoy feeling wobbly, fall, get up and repeat the pose with a child-like attitude.
3. Find the Quiet to Channel
Now as the room for creativity is ready, it can move into our mind space and start working. There is a commonly made mistake at this stage: we go on with the daily life thinking now creativity can do the job. What we are forgetting is that more often than not creativity doesn’t scream, it whispers.
So we need to get quiet and listen. Here is where meditation comes into play.
Good news! No need to fold into a Lotus pose. In fact, there is no need to go into any pose for this matter. The goal is to be present and receptive. We do not recommend Savasana variations here because some practitioners are likely to go into a sleeping-like state. Which is great, just not for the task at hand. So begin awake and comfortably seated.
Give an open-monitoring meditation a try. This technique is really simple – follow these simple steps.
- Find yourself in the present moment, acknowledge your environment, close the eyes.
- Then become aware of your thoughts. Do your best to not judge or react to them. Just observe. Thought can manifest as a dialogue in your brain, pictures and colors in front of your closed eyes, visualisations. In this stream of thought you can finally find a message from your creativity.
- When it is hard to detach and find yourself in the place of an observer try to visualise your thoughts as colorful balloons flying into the sky or little fishes in clear water – anything that can show that your thoughts are not you, thus you are witnessing them.
In conclusion remember, that just like the asana practice on the mat, your journey to creativity is pretty much never ending. So clinging too tight to a newly generated idea would only lead to disappointment. Focus on staying open and present instead, to always get ready to hear yet another message whispered by your creativity.
What creativity-boosting techniques do you like? Share with us in the comments or on your social media page with hashtag #udaya!