By Marilyn Galan
Creativity is like the breaking waves at the ocean’s surf. The surfer waits for the right wave and when it materializes, the surfer latches on, riding its crest until the destination. When the big wave of creativity comes in with a rush of ideas, yoga can give you the skill to surf. Grab these yoga-inspired ideas like a surfer’s gear and get ready for your next big creative wave.
Dawn marks a new day’s creation. Morning is a great time to start the day with a quiet hour of yoga and meditation. An effective morning yoga routine can end with a yoga breathing technique called the Sudarshan Kriya, taught by The Art of Living Foundation. Practicing Sudarshan Kriya has shown to reduce stress and calm anxiety over time, helping the mind relax naturally into creativity. After morning yoga practice, the day ahead is like a fresh canvas to paint on. At the end of your yoga session, take a journal with you and write down any creative ideas that come up.
Yoga and creativity can meld together for an inspiring environment at work and home. To make your space for yoga ready, gather some recorded guided meditations, a favorite chair to sit on, a yoga mat, and some pillows. Now, to add creativity, place some art supplies or musical instruments near your yoga space. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes a day to write, draw or play music in your own “creative yoga corner”.
To catch the biggest waves, a surfer has to learn how to dive into deep waters. When you are ready for more than surfing on the waves, dive into your creativity. Take the challenge to learn more about an interesting sport, or an old love of art. Join a workshop. Couple this with a meditation practice, and you can find yourself picking up new skills and possibly uncovering hidden talents you didn’t know you had. Here’s a tip: Sit for meditation just before your creative class, then start your creative work for best results.
Sometimes in the afternoon, I find my creative well starts running dry. That means it’s time for a nature walk. There’s a walking path nearby that meanders into fields of dense brush – great for taking in deep breaths of air and creative ideas. When I get there, I find a favorite place to sit and watch nature. What flowers are growing there? What birds’ songs do I hear? At least ten to 15 minutes of observing nature revives up my mind with a fresh new creative start.
A surf rider’s day isn’t complete without a few memorable moments on the waves. In between each new wave is the silent, quiet wait. The surfer has a chance to gather energy and notice the surrounding scenery. In the middle of the day, a meditation works like the ebbing ocean wave. Your chattering mind gently drops back into its quiet source. When your mind feels overwhelmed and no creative thoughts are materializing, a 10-20 minute meditation can calm the mind so new ideas can naturally surface. Before lunch, or at the end of the day, meditation can help you feel rejuvenated and ready for your next creative task.
The surfer grabs the ultimate wave. A tunnel of water spirals forward, almost threatening to circle around him. No problem – the surfer has found the flow and sails right through to the other side. A good flow of ideas is effortless like breathing. Here is one yoga breath exercise to help you find your flow. Sit quietly with eyes closed. Slowly, take a deep breath in. Breathe out slowly. As you breathe, notice the flow of your breath. Does it seem to shake, or is it slow and steady? Do you find that you stop in between to take a bigger gulp of air to complete the breath? Continue breathing slowly and deeply for ten breaths.
Now, take out your journal. On the page, write down a central theme and circle it. For the next few minutes, keep writing down any thoughts that come to you relating to your central theme. Circle each new word and draw a connecting line to the main word. When your mind comes to a natural stop, you have completed the exercise.
Practicing yoga, we gradually build more awareness about our own creativity. We can move toward doing more of what we love. Yoga and meditation help focus the mind. With a more focused, calm mind, we can move more directly toward what we really want, toward the deep yearning of the soul, kind of like the tunnel opening at the end of the ultimate wave.
(Marilyn is a yoga enthusiast who loves to incorporate her inspiration about yoga postures and spirituality into her writing and art.)