How Yoga Makes You Creative

Let me start by introducing myself. I’m a woman who believes “reliability and functionality”

define a good handbag, I studied science in university, my favourite iPhone app is my
Reminder’s checklist, and my friends nicknamed me “The Grid” for my exceptional ability
to think in straight lines. Over the years, I certainly have not placed myself on the top of the
creative totem pole. In fact, I used to get low grade anxiety whenever someone invited me to a
crafting event. (The echo of my subconscious reminding me, “I’m not creative–that’s reserved
for that other group of people–the artsy, color-outside-the-lines people”). But recently my
yoga practice revealed a new possibility to me, and a whole new perspective of what defines
creativity and where I stand in this definition came into colour (a little Canadian content for “u”).

It happened gradually, like the peeling away the layers of an onion; however, recently a big
chunk fell off. I was in Cobbler pose–a common pose where you join the soles of your feet and
let your knees fall out to the sides. This pose has been in my practice for years, but also one
I have never felt satisfied with since my left hip has slowly become less and less flexible (my
suspicion is arthritis). I can’t count how many times I’d done Cobbler and pressed down on my
knee as if to try to force my left hip to open like the right side–the thought was, if I spend a little
more energy and focus on it, it will loosen, it will improve–but it hasn’t. Then one miraculous
morning, I accepted it. I sat upright, joined the soles of my feet, and let my knees fall as they
would–beautifully asymmetrical and seasoned with age. For the first time, I felt at peace with it,
as if to say,” This is who I am right now and there is no need to change or fix anything.” What
I realized at that moment was I was finally getting out of my own way. Letting go of the old, or
fixed ideas about who I used to be or how my hip should be, and opening to the space of who I
am right now.

So how does this relate to creativity you might ask… Well, it was very near after this day I saw
the same awareness show up in another aspect of my life. You see, I’d always written the odd
poem in my journal and this recent acceptance of “this is who I am right now” gave me a green
light to write more poems. I used to think they were just something I did when I needed to vent
on paper (more a process of processing, if you will) and my belief that they weren’t any good
because I’m not good at writing and I’m not a creative person prevented me from truly engaging
in this interest. I realized I’ve been holding this part of myself back out of fixed beliefs and old
ideas of self, much like the ideas that made me believe that my left hip and right hip should
perform the same. My poems, my writings (interestingly about yoga), are a genuine passion for
me, and right now, this is what’s in me that’s calling to be expressed. It’s time for me to let them
exist just as they are, imperfections and all.

More to this revelation of mine. Even though my breakthrough acceptance appears like a
sudden epiphany, in reality, to get to this place of resolve–to be able to say my writings and
poems have value and deserve to be expressed–took inner work. It took a gradual building
of trust and confidence in myself. And my yoga practice was instrumental in this process
(and when I say “practice”, a word to the wise, if the yoga class you’re thinking of promotes a
beach-body and rock-hard abs, this is not the type of yoga practice I’m referring to).

It required what I like to call, introspective yoga, such as Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, to cultivate this
psychological growth. What I needed was a safe, slow, and quiet space where the volume of my
inner knowing could be turned up. What was revealed to me was a confidence in my inner voice
and the value of expressing it. Essentially, I was building trust in following my heart’s desire,
and, for the purpose of this blog post, giving me the foundation from which I’d take the next step
of sharing my poems. (For those of you who are interested you can read one here).

So here’s the truth I’ve come to realize–creativity evolves out of the recognition of what you do
in your life that brings you joy. You need to identify the topics and activities that naturally get
you curious and excited (you know, the ones you’d spend all your free time doing just for the fun
of it) because this is the place from which creation is born. And no matter the end product, it’s
truly special because it’s a product of genuine passion combined with the uniqueness of you. If
you’re anything like me, sometimes these inner yearnings get dampened by the “shoulds and
should-nots” we carry in our heads, and what’s needed is a platform like yoga to open the space
for the wise body and inner voice to be present. Perhaps it’s time to get out of your own way
and ask yourself, “What’s in me that’s not being expressed?”