Here are three ways your yoga practice can serve your creativity:1. Smooth Out the Jitters:
Many of us have been there. You’re ready, at your desk or the easel, cup of tea poured, relaxing music on the stereo, all your equipment laid out. And you just can’t start. You seize up! What if you mess it up? What if you waste all this nice paint? Maybe you’d better just go make a snack. Before you know it, the time set aside to do your art has passed, and nothing’s been done.
Studies have shown that asana practice reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Some sources say the reduction lasts for up to two hours after practice, making these two hours the perfect window to give your art a shot. Breaking through anxiety is especially key when starting a brand new project.2. The Voices in our Heads:
Okay! You’ve managed to keep your bum in the chair, your fingers on the paintbrush for a few hours – you’ve started a work of art! But then the voices begin. “Who would want to read this stupid thing?” your brain might say. Or, “This doesn’t even look like anything! The colours are all wrong!” Time to return to good old swadhyaha – the practice of self-study.
Regular practitioners of yoga and meditation have already laid the groundwork for identifying such judgements as thoughts rather than any sort of truth. While such thoughts can be persistent and distracting when doing vulnerable, personal work such as art, the act of labelling them and not engaging with them gets us that much closer to allowing these thoughts to simply float away.3. Being Bodies:
It is no secret that yoga helps us to learn the language of our bodies. Understanding and valuing the body’s wisdom can be of profound import in an art practice. Most art projects involve making myriad decisions that affect the outcome of the work. Learning to make these decisions more intuitively, with less stress, depends upon understanding the body’s subtle cues. Are you tensing up? Are you breathing freely? Does your belly feel open as you begin this next section?
Rather than seeing the physical act of writing or painting as merely a way to get your ideas from brain to the paper, you can begin to experience the work the body is doing as inextricable from these ideas – even generative of them. Regular yoga practice underscores the all-important mind-body connection, and helps us to apply it.
The list of connections between a yoga practice and creative practice could go on and on. The more you explore and cultivate these connections, the more profound they become, until, in the most blissfully creative times, it seems the two practices are simply two sides of the very same coin.
Julia Tausch practices yoga and writing in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a certified yin yoga instructor, as well as the author of the novel Another Book About Another Broken Heart. She is currently completing her second novel and blogging about the process.]]>
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