Making space: Yoga for creative flow

Sarah Driscoll models camel pose — Photo by Zak Neumann

We’re all creative. It’s in our DNA. Our ancestors had to be creative to survive the ever-changing obstacles of this world. The seamstress, the potter, the farmer, the blacksmith, the storyteller — people in all areas of life used creativity to solve problems and move forward.

You may not paint, draw or make music, but you still need to nurture your creativity. In our modern, busy lives, we’re pressed for time due to countless errands, interruptions and jobs. We’re overstimulated by our handheld devices. It’s important to carve out space to follow our hearts. To be happy, we must express ourselves in a multitude of ways. To be balanced, we must feel fulfilled.

How do we commit to leading a more creative life right now? It starts with the way we look at things. Get curious, observe without judgment and see beauty in the present moment. As a yogi, does this approach sound familiar? Our yoga practice invokes everything we need to be creative. Yoga and meditation turn us inward, strengthen our focus and heighten our senses. They ignite our passions and allow us to connect with our deepest and truest self.

Take a long, still moment. Think about what inspires you. Nature? Love? Yoga practice? Your family, emotions or rearranging the furniture? Now think about where you are and what you’re doing when creative ideas strike. It could be any of those inspirational moments. It could be driving, gardening, washing the dishes, resting in savasana (Corpse Pose). These are meditative moments when your mind is free to drift. Do these things more often. Good ideas happen where there’s space. A creative block could simply mean it’s time to clear your mind.

Yoga impacts my creativity by teaching me to be an observer. I quiet down and focus on postures and form, noticing sensations, witnessing thoughts as they come. In turn, creativity appears in my practice and in the way I teach. I like to experiment with sequencing, music, and meditation. I take risks and have fun. I hope this inspires my students to always learn and try new things, to laugh and bond with one another.

Here are some yoga postures and activities to stoke your creative fire:

Sun Salutations: For focus, rhythm, and clarity

Chair Twist, Standing Splits, Sugar Cane: Conflict creates innovation

Tree, Eagle into Dancer, then om from your heart: Hold space for all possibilities

Flip Dog/Wild Thing, Half Moon, Headstand or Handstand: Helps change your perspective

Triangle, Shoulder Roll, Camel, and Kneeling Dog: Open yourself to receive, to expand

Pigeon into Dying Warrior: To listen and become the observer, and for emotional release

Breath of Fire and Ha Kriya: For energy and motivation

Sufi Grind, Cat/Cow, and vam sound: Solar plexus work — this is your power center

My yoga practice teaches me to be patient and kind with myself. The inspiration and time to create comes and goes. When it goes, I no longer beat myself up about it. It takes the time it needs.

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


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