“A calm mind is a creative mind” – famous creativity quote
Society tries to tell us that only talented people are creative.
Creativity is a state of mind that we can train and develop, just like all other states of mind.
The mind is an infinitely adaptable thing. The key is knowing how to train the mind.
With the right exercises, we can train the mind to accomplish anything. We can be more productive, happier, calmer… whatever energy we want to create in the mind, we can create it. Provided we know how.
To become a creative person (or a more creative person) we can use yoga.
I’m a meditation teacher. So naturally I often teach people how to use meditation to become super-creative.
I’m also a yogi and an author. And I know that as powerful as meditation is for creativity, yoga is equality powerful.
And there are tons of people in agreement.
In fact, recently numerous extremely-talented (and very famous) authors have been tweeting their best yoga-selfies. That’s because the Society of Authors has suddenly leapt on the yoga bandwagon.
Authors practice many consciousness-raising techniques. Just take a look at these mindful-writing exercises for example.
This week things got a little zanier than usual as the Society of authors set yoga challenge.
The Society of Authors is usually all about arguing over contracts and helping authors to raise money to get their books published (actually, I could use a little help with that myself…).
The Society of Authors has stepped out of their offices and into the yoga studios. They’ve been challenging authors and book fans to take a yoga-selfie that is inspired by their favorite book.
Joanne Harris [author of Chocolat] asked fans for selfies based on The Hobbit. Phillp Pullman [author of the His Dark Materials trilogy] chose Pride and Prejudice. Neil Gaiman [author of Coraline] chose The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
— Alice Baldock (@wanderlust_just) August 7, 2017
— Sarah Potter (@misssepotter) August 9, 2017
— Society of Authors (@Soc_of_Authors) August 9, 2017
— Society of Authors (@Soc_of_Authors) August 9, 2017
This was just for fun. But science shows that yoga is actually one of the best ways to improve creativity.
In The Science Of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards New York Times science editor William Broad says that increased creativity is one of the major benefits of yoga, and that he himself had experienced that benefit since he began practice yoga in 1973 (and his has the Pulitzer Prize to prove it).
To be creative means to be able to formulate feelings that lead to ideas that we are then able to translate into images, sounds, words, stories, or another medium.
This is what happens when you experience a “eureka” moment.
According to Mark Beeman of Northwestern University, there are two patterns that occur in the brain when we experience creative or problem solving moments. Specifically, the brain enters alpha state for a long period. It’s this period of alpha brain that leads to creativity.
These alpha brain states happen when the mind is relaxed but alert (precisely the mind state we are in when we meditate).
Alpha brain state is responsible for most of our genius moments. When a runner breaks the 100m record, a musician creates a stunning new composition, or an author writes that perfect scene, it’s a sound bet that they are in alpha brain state.
Numerous scientific studies show that when we practice yoga we enter alpha.
In 1973 studies were done on yogi Ram Sharma. Those studies showed that Sharma could enter alpha brainwaves in a matter of minutes. In other words, through training, Sharma was able to intentionally put his mind into its best state.
It is also believed (though it’s currently under debate) that the right brain is the side of the brain responsible for creativity? This side of the brain, several scientists state, is responsible for generating ideas and insights, the type of ideas and insights needed to moment of creative talent such as writing a scene in a novel.
At “Eureka” moments a part of the right side of the brain (the right anterior temporal lobe) lights up.
Could we boost our right brain and activate the right anterior temporal lobe using yoga?
In on scientific study, participants who had never tried yoga before practices basic yoga for three months. After that period the scientists studied their brainwaves. They found a significant increase in activity in the right anterior temporal lobe and heightened gamma waves (the highest frequency brainwaves, associated with heightened perception).
Then there’s the fact that practicing yoga leads to a spike in the neurotransmitter GABA.
Neuroscientists believe that creativity and ideas comes about through the generation of new neurons and new neural pathways. To do this, the brain needs GABA. So the spike in GABA created by yoga is massively beneficial for creativity.
Simply put: yoga seriously heightens creativity.
So how you use yoga for creativity?
7 Powerful Ways To Use Yoga For Creativity
New to yoga? Check out my guide to the 13 types of yoga. I’ll help you choose which one to do.
Or try these crazy alternative styles of yoga.
Now on to the asanas.
Different yoga asana can massively improve our creativity. The following are some of the best.
- Child’s Pose
Creativity comes when we are relaxed and at peace. It’s said that you can’t rush art. You’ve just got to surrender to the world and let nature guide you back to your point of creativity.
One of the best ways to do that is with Child’s Pose. In this simple pose we relax with the forehead on the floor, our spine long with space between the vertebrae. In this position we breathe and unwind. This restores our flow and let’s creativity return to us.
- Corpse Pose
Corpse pose is a simple (though hard to do perfectly) pose in which we are at rest on the ground, lying on our backs. Usually practiced at the end of a yoga session, corpse pose is a moment for meditation. It is surrender. It is being one with the universe. It is deep meditation—precisely the sort of meditation that boosts creativity.
- Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is a way of liberating the energy reservoirs in the hips. This beautiful pose is a potent way of releasing negative energy. The hips are also the seeds of inner creativity. When we relax the hips we open the second chakra, boosting sexual and creative energy.
- Eagle Pose
Closely related to pigeon pose, Eagle Pose also opens the hips to liberate the sexual and creative energy in the second chakra. It also releases shoulder and neck tension.
- Half Moon Pose
Half Moon Pose is a pose of harmony in which the whole body works together. This wonderful pose produces inner peace and balance. It is a powerful way of opening the mind.
- Pranayama and meditative breathing
Pranayama and meditative breathing are excellent for relaxation. When we are relaxed and calm the brain produces alpha brainwaves that are conducive to creativity. When using yoga for creativity, always focus on the breath so the mind is serene. This will work together with the physical posture to cause a surge in creative energy.
The headstand is one of yoga’s best poses for creativity. It stimulates the brain as blood flows to the head. The change of perspective leads to the creation of new thoughts and ideas. This is a wonderful yoga pose for artists to practice.
If you’re looking for a form of yoga that will have a big effect on your mind, take a look at my guide to Pratyahara yoga.
There is nothing quite like yoga for creativity.
The spirit, science, and asanas we’ve looked at in this article will seriously boost creativity and artistry.
I personally use these techniques at least three times a week. They are immensely beneficial for my creative writing.
Plus, the creative energy surging through the body after this feels fantastic
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