Ask the Teacher: How does yoga feed creativity?

Imaginative activity has always been a part of my life, but I experienced a seismic shift once I was more dedicated to rituals of yoga and meditation. The result? A more calm, open and curious approach; a vibrant channel of ideas; and a greater confidence to move beyond simply thinking and actually doing.

Drawing from the creative well mirrors my yoga practice in that both require consistency. It’s vital to show up and put forth effort in order to extract the full essence. A writing mentor of mine says he may not be as talented as other authors, but has ample amounts of “ass in the chair” time, and that’s why he’s successful.

A dedication to being present allows me to build upon potential, take chances, and shake loose notions of fear, failure, judgment, and a smothering preoccupation with perfection. My life, my practice, my art—they’re all entwined, fluid, and evolving passages. The destination may not always be clear, but the movement is always forward.

So we asked our teachers:

How do you think yoga expands the potential of creative pursuits?

Alexander Hiffernan
Soul Case Movement, Council Bluffs

Busy minds can create, but busy minds tend to run in repetitive thought patterns compromising creative potential. Asanas, on a scientific level, present practitioners of all levels the opportunity to move in patterns outside their normalcy of living — creating new neural pathways within the mind-body (You don’t have to know any science for it to work, I promise!)

Being able to turn yourself into a pretzel or “flow” hard doesn’t make you more creative. It’s more so about the willingness to sense both the mind and body through any style of movement that has the potential to make you more creative. Simply put, the practice of asanas and meditation can heighten your sense of being by shifting you out of repetitive thought patterns and habitual movements, thus expanding your awareness and giving rise to opportunity for innovative creative pursuits.

Lily Allen-Duenas
Iowa City

It’s through yoga that one is quiet enough to hear the soft murmuring of intuition. Through softening the body, we in turn soften our minds to a place of natural stillness that engenders intimate listening of what calls out from inside our own spirit. Yoga has given me many gifts, chief among them the internal quietude that affords me the grace to greet my creativity with openness, which I express through poetry and painting.

My creative life is wedded to, and magnified by, my yoga practice. Through yoga, I am able to open myself to what is soundless, speechless, noiseless. Yoga gives space to silence, which in turn, awakens creativity.

Linsey Birusingh
Yoga Thrill Adventures, Des Moines

I get a huge creativity boost from yoga! Yoga asks you to trust your intuition, find deeper self-awareness, and foster a childlike willingness to try things out, even if you can’t predict the outcome. It’s that boldness, self-confidence, and trust that creative people need to be successful in their pursuits. 

In my classes, I’ll often ask students to take creative liberties, even breaking for “adult recess” so they can explore postures that speak to them, and see where it takes them in their practice. I also like to give a lot of modifications and pose varieties so students may pick what feels right to their bodies that day. My hope is that creative freedom and expression inside the studio walls will translate into a more powerful creative presence in life!

This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Summer 2017 issue.


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