As a writer, I’m in a constant state of battle with my creative forces. There are some days where things flow perfectly, and my fingers seem to just dance on the keyboard by their own volition. And then there are the other days – the ones where I stare at the blank computer screen for hours, cursing my fair-weather Muse and struggling to write even a mere sentence.
On those days, the best thing I can do for my work is to get up from my desk, shut down the computer, and attend a yoga class. There is just something about taking 90 minutes to stretch my body, increase my heart rate, and challenge myself in non-cerebral or creative ways. At the end of class, during meditation, I often find my thoughts effortlessly flowing into that elusive first sentence. I return home, reboot the computer, and calmly get to work.
Turns out I’m not the only one who finds yoga conducive to creativity. Jeff Davis, author of The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Practices and Principles as Muse for Authentic Writing (Penguin hardcover 2004; Penguin paperback 2005), has studied the effect yoga has on the creative process. "Yoga won’t make writing easy," he explains,” because, well, writing is difficult. But Yoga is helping thousands of writers to facilitate and design their own creative process – rather than to be at the whim of random flashes of ‘inspiration,’ moods, or energy peaks."
Yoga not only frees the creative spirit, but it can actually provoke it, as well. A recent Australian art exhibit called Eight Paths, One Journey was inspired by the impact yoga had on people with emotional and mental issues. The collection of 49 photos centers around the “delicate intensity and physical test of yoga asana and the peace the practice brings to practitioners despite their tumultuous existence within the Western world”, as it is described in an article for The West Australian. The article goes in to contend, “Both yoga and art have the power to change people’s lives, communicating in a universal language that crosses cultures; stimulating and enhancing the mental and emotional faculties and offering a path to insight and peace.
There is immense physical beauty inherent in yoga; watching people move through the asanas can be poetic and visually stunning. But it seems that it is not only the grace of the yoga practice that is so attractive to artists, but also the beautiful impact it can have on the soul.
Looking for a pose that can help stimulate those creative juices? Try Badda Konasana, or Butterfly Pose. Emotions are held in the pelvis, and creativity is directly linked to emotion. By opening the pelvis, we open up our emotional and creative source. Find instructions on how to do this pose here.