People make the decision to climb on their yoga mat for a variety of reasons. It’s common knowledge that a regular yoga practice improves flexibility, burns calories, and helps you build strong muscles throughout the upper and lower body and core.
However, what some new practitioners might not know before they begin, or even after their first few sessions, is that yoga is also outstanding for the mind. In fact regular yoga sessions can improve your mood and even help boost creativity!
Let’s take a look at seven ways that common yoga poses like downward facing dog, warrior pose, and tree pose can open up your mind to improve your approach to creative thinking.
Yoga Builds Awareness
Whether your creative medium of choice is poetry, music, painting, or sculpture - you need to be “in tune” with the world around you in order to create at the highest level possible. Approaching a new piece of writing or a blank canvas with a cluttered and distracted mind is a surefire way to the dreaded writer’s or artist’s block.
A regular yoga practice gives you the ability to focus on the task at hand, without being distracted by the “noise” going on around you, which opens your mind up to focus on the creative process.
Yoga in the Morning Prepares Your Mind for Creative Thinking
Many times we go to bed with our minds flooded with the challenges we faced during the day and the tasks that we’ll face in the day ahead. This causes less than restful sleep and we wake up with a mind that is cluttered with those same difficulties we’ll have to face once we begin our day.
Morning yoga practice, with deep focus on form and breathing, helps melt away the stressful thoughts that constant multi-tasking brings. This open state of mind is much more conducive to clear, creative thoughts and problem solving. Morning yoga readies both your body and mind to successfully tackle whatever the day will bring, allowing you to face each challenge with focus and determination.
Yoga Improves Sleep
Speaking of sleep - not getting enough restful sleep can have a tremendously negative impact on just about every aspect of your life - including your creativity. Sleep deprivation impacts the mood and your cognitive function, making it very difficult to deftly handle challenging tasks like music composition or creative arts.
As we discussed above, yoga helps clear and quiet the mind. Being able to lay down in bed at night without a million thoughts coursing through your mind makes falling asleep and staying asleep much easier. Getting adequate sleep also drives an increase in activity in the right side of the brain, the portion that is responsible for creative thinking.
Yoga Encourages Mindfulness All Day
Unlike other popular forms of exercise that end the minute you leave the gym, the things you practice in yoga extend across all areas of your life. Even several hours after your morning practice, you’ll maintain the ability to approach each task with purpose. This way you can devote the time and energy you need to create incredible art during the time that you have set aside for creativity.
Being able to get into (and stay in) “artist” mode is essential for successfully finishing your current piece or project so that you are satisfied with the results.
Yoga is an Excellent Workout
Don’t be fooled by some of the simple looking poses and postures, practicing yoga is a very challenging physical activity. Yoga takes balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance which makes it one of the most complete forms of workout that you can participate in for overall health.
Several studies have shown the powerful benefits that regular exercise can have on the creative mind. So simply by rolling out your mat and diving into your first sequence of postures, you’ll already be giving your creativity a boost.
Yoga Boosts Confidence
Regular yoga practice helps trim excess weight, builds strong muscles, melts stress, and helps contribute to pain free movement. With focused training, yoga will help improve your appearance and your mood, which naturally builds confidence.
While not every artist has a desire to perform on a big stage, having the ability to share what you’ve created with family and close friends can help you grow exponentially as an artist. Having the confidence to share your work and to see the joy it elicits and the impact it has on others is great motivation to continue honing your craft and to keep creating.
Yoga Teaches Patience
Having to tackle multiple tasks at once at work and at home can cause you to rush through objectives in order to meet deadlines or in the simple hope of having fewer things on your plate. This approach may work with menial tasks, but it is certainly not good for producing meaningful art.
While yoga is a very beginner friendly style of workout, there are many poses and postures that carry a fairly large “learning” curve. In order to reap the largest long term benefits of yoga, you need to practice these postures again and again, building the necessary strength, balance, and flexibility to execute them fully. This requires dedication and patience - two critical aspects of the creative process. You won’t always be able to finish a song or poem in one sitting, there are sticking points that come in every creative endeavor, and patience helps you overcome them.
Having a creative talent is an absolute blessing, being able to express yourself through art or music is one of the most incredible gifts that you can share with the world. Creating art in one form or another is also an outstanding outlet for dealing with the stress of a difficult day and taking time to appreciate the gifts that you have to offer.
Unfortunately, there are times where the creative process is blocked or where thoughts become muddled and the act of being creative seems more like an insurmountable challenge. Creative expression requires an open mind, a healthy and functioning body, and the ability to focus without distraction or losing perspective.
These are traits that are all built naturally from regular yoga practice. If you are struggling to put pen to paper or paint to canvas, or you just want to create an opportunity to approach activities with a more open and creative mind, you should strongly consider adding yoga to your wellness toolbox.