oAre you creative? Regardless of what answer self-judgement suggests, if you have ever come up with an idea, solved a problem or crafted something – creativity is there.
Yet, just like with other natural abilities, we have to learn to reclaim and nurture our creativity to access and utilize it productively when we need it most.
A set of yogic practices can be incredibly helpful on this journey.
This journey to creativity has to begin with an intention. It will help teach you to persevere and succeed when you get confused and go through rough patches on the way. Why is creativity needed in your life? If you don’t make money off drawing, writing or crafting, if your hobbies are more of a physical nature, why bother?
In reality, creativity is one of the major catalysts of happiness. It is the force that leads us to try new things and changing the perspective on life circumstances. When you take a new route to work, change things up throw a wash of colour to your outfit, get exotic cuisine for lunch – these little things are subconsciously guided by creativity.
And it’s these little things that make up our lives.
To get the creative juices flowing through every step of the day, we need to get rid of certain barriers first.
How to Unblock Creativity by Removing Blockages
Why is it that we are creative machines in childhood, yet once we grow up the colours inside fade away and the world simply becomes less magical?
In reality, the world is just as magical, but our vision is blurred by the veil of imposed behavioural patterns, preconceived notions and destructive habits.
Thus, we need to let go of these to rediscover creativity and create the space in which it can thrive.
There are several ways to unblock our creativity and one of them is through asana practice.
3 Steps to Unblock Creativity with Asanas
We suggest to break down the process into 3 steps each involving different poses. For every step, you can find two asanas that can be easily modified for any practitioner from beginner to advanced. Feel free to go into your favourite alternative asana with a similar effect.
1. Relax & Feel Secure
It is not easy to get creative when our brain is stuck in fight or flight mode. Your first urge when you want to be distracted from panic, nervousness or tension is to reach for food, Netflix and chill for comfort. But this does not target the root of the problem.
The only way out is through – going into rest and digest mode.
This can be achieved by going into a traditional variation of Child’s pose (Balasana) or an alternative version of Corpse pose (Savasana) on your belly facing the earth. Pillow the forearms to support the head. With both of these asanas, there is an added bonus: third eye (Ajna) chakra activation.
You can release the forehead on the mat and before settling into the pose gently massage the spot between the eyebrows by rolling your head side to side.
2. Get Grounded & Release
When the mind is calm and we are relaxed, the physical and energy bodies can start the transformation. Twists and hip opening asanas are the most effective if we need to release and let go. Twisting from the core assists detoxification poses, while hips gather a lot of unconscious tension and negative emotions. This tension can be released by opening the joint. We are going to combine these two steps in variations of Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and Goddess pose (Utkata Konasana).
First, come into Sukhasana with a twist. Ground down through the sit bones, breathe deeply into the lower belly as you allow the hips to gradually open. For the twist, ground your right hand behind the back, bring the left hand on top of the right knee. Keep the spine long, deepen the twist on the exhalation.
Next up, Goddess pose with a twist. Keeping the traditional Goddess pose alignment in the legs, place your hands on the inside of the knees. Bring the upper body parallel with the floor, keep the spine long. On the inhale press the hands gently into the knees, elongate through the crown of the head, on the exhale twist the torso to the right.
Repeat both poses 4-5 times on each side, visualizing how the negativity leaves your mind and body. Then acknowledge the space you have just cleared up.
3. Open Up and Receive
Once we are free from the mental gunk, it’s time to open up and let the light into the freshly cleared inner space. This can be done with the help of heart-opening poses. This step is also important because we can only be creative in active interaction with our environment. By settling into a heart-opening asana we are inviting the light of the world in.
Step one can be Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and if you tend to create from the heart, aka get creative, you will truly perceive the magic of this asana.
Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) opens your heart even further and might trigger a certain degree of vulnerability that is a must for any creative endeavour. Being creative means revealing your vision, talent, idea to a world that, more often than not, tends to be judgmental.
You can just stay in the bridge pose for several breath cycles actively rounding the belly on the inhales. If it is in your arsenal, proceed to the Wheel pose (Chakrasana). Drive the inhalation and the energy flow from the heels to the hands on the inhale, from the hands back into the earth on the exhale.
This completes the first part of your yoga journey to creativity. You can combine the above-mentioned asanas into a single flow or include them into your favourite practice. Revisit it consistently on its own, or proceed with the part II of the creativity guide where we activate and channel.
By Olya Amburg