Yoga is great for becoming happier and more self-aware, but the benefits don’t stop there. If you make the effort, yoga is also a great way to increase your own creativity. Artists often cite movement as a way to work through a creative rough spot. A lot of writers and artists will go for a long walk or swim laps when they feel creatively stuck. The movement of yoga serves the same purpose. You take your focus of the project you’ve been concentrating on and new ideas and connections rise to the surface as you move.
As a beginning yoga student, I thought it sounded crazy when teachers explained that deep hip-opening poses are a way to access stored emotions, but I found that the more I practiced, the more I was able to think about things I’d purposely forgotten or tried not to think about. In the safe space of practice, it’s easier to see connections and ideas that we keep hidden away. Yoga will work on your mind that same way it works on your body—physical expansiveness will take you to a place of mental expansiveness. In your yoga practice, you see more of yourself and, eventually, more of the world. Creative work is a way to capture the new perspectives you experience through yoga.
Here are some steps you can take to increase your creativity with yoga:
Bringing your attention to your breath helps you center and commit to your yoga practice. If you’re distracted or stressed (about your creative process or anything at all), this is an important step.
The physical movement you do will help you see with new eyes. I call this “getting stirred up.” Everything you need to have to be creative is already inside you. It’s just a matter of gaining access to the ideas that you might not otherwise notice.
Try not to rush on to the next thing after your yoga practice. Give yourself a little time and space to see what’s on your mind. Sometimes it’s hard, but avoiding conversation (or the TV or radio) after yoga is a great way to notice what came up in your practice.
Now you get to make something! It doesn’t matter what the something is, or if it ends up hanging in a museum. You could write a poem or story, make a collage, a painting, or a meal. How do you want to express yourself? Because of your yoga practice, you have a great opportunity to articulate your individual perspective.