Why Should You Cultivate Your Creativity? And What Does Yoga Have To Do With It?
“Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about... say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.”
When I first started thinking about creativity, it was from a place of longing, a place of realizing that there was huge part of myself that I was neglecting.
I wanted to paint, to draw, to write and to play music. To express. And express vibrantly.
I could see myself standing up in front of a big easel with a large paint brush, moving wide swaths of magenta and turquoise on a canvas or having a guitar jam session with a friend.
But I had no clue how to access the inner wellspring from which all creativity comes from. My ability to express myself vibrantly via any medium had been hijacked by PTSD from childhood abandonment and neglect layered with a domestic violence experience. Much of my adult life has revolved around healing from those experiences so that I can live the rich, full and fun life I deserve.
This healing is what led me to yoga in the first place. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.2 tells us that “yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, or yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. All of the practices of yoga are designed to get us closer to that goal-the postures help us find ease in the body, the breathwork settles our mind and manages our energy, the yamas and the niyamas help us to avoid creating stress and conflict in our relationships with ourselves and society and the meditation practices—well, they are self-explanatory.
Karen Macklin, a San Francisco based yoga teacher and writer says it perfectly in the online version of Yoga International: “Creativity arises naturally in states of stillness and presence, which can be elusive when we are distracted by daily preoccupations and scattered thoughts. This is why yoga is such a gift for the artist. When we practice awareness in asana, pranayama, and meditation, we learn to see—and let go of—the distractions of the mind. It is from this place of clear seeing that inspiration springs forth” (https://yogainternational.com/article/view/awaken-your-inner-artist-yoga-creativity)
Whether you want that inspiration for the purposes that I do—making art for arts sake and having fun doing it or you really just want to have a more McGyver-ish, quick
thinking mind for more skillful navigation of day-to-day problem solving at home and at work—all the tools of yoga directly support the cultivation of those abilities.
If you want a life hack for developing your creativity, yoga nidra, or yogic sleep is a direct route to accessing the state of mind and connection with self that expressiveness emanates from. The practice of yoga nidra gets the logical mind out of the way (the part of the brain that will tell you every reason why you can’t be creative) and slows the brain waves down dramatically. Research studies have shown that slow brain waves facilitate insight and problem solving and that yoga nidra awakens the posterior visual system in the brain.
My wish is that we all experience the joy and flow of creativity in all of our roles in life—and that you take it to the mat to reap the many benefits of this ancient practice!
See you there!
As part of Opal's graduation project, she will be facilitating a special donation based Yoga Nidra and Creativity workshop on November 24th from 6:30-9:30pm. We invite you to join us for a wonderful meditative experience and to help her complete her studies for graduation.
If you are interested in learning more, here are some interesting articles, some are heavier, some are lighter in tone: