What has yoga got to do with creativity?
Being an ‘uncramped’ creative involves more than just doing more of you creative thing.
It is also to do with your wellbeing – your physical AND emotional health.
Sometimes that factor gets a bit lost in the goal to create more. I don’t want you to be so intent on creating that you lose sight of your health and wellbeing.
This past year I have had several health issues including breaking my shoulder joint. Not the best move for a massage therapist, writer and guitarist. Since it was impossible to move my arm, I couldn’t work for 3 months, writing was ok for short bursts, but the guitar was off limits for the longest of all. Which did not suit my inner rock goddess at all!
I was also in a great deal of pain and had to do excruciating physio twice weekly with the physio and 4 times daily myself. (I had to take strong painkillers just to go to the physio, so that they could do the necessary. I’m talking the type of pills that make you too spaced out to drive.) And you know, being in pain, constant pain, is exhausting. So even though I could write for a short bursts, most days I was too tired to think straight, after I’d done my physio exercises, walked the dog, not to mention washed and dressed myself which took twice as long as normal too.
This is one of the reasons I got out of the way of getting up early and writing. And although I was doing plenty of stretching for my shoulder, I wasn’t doing much for the rest of me. This came home to me a few months ago when I hurt my back, and I realized that I’d let the physical side of my self care slide. I needed to get back to my old habits of running and yoga. I’d also not been doing so much fiction writing. I was busy writing my non-fiction book, but my own personal creative writing had taken a back seat. So the two sides needed addressed. Funny enough I had started getting cramps in my legs, something I hadn’t had for years.
So, as I wrote about the other week, I started to get up again, to give myself space to write. I took part in NaNoWriMo, albeit on my own terms, and I signed up for a yoga class. Even before I got there, the idea that I was going encouraged me to do more stretching, I didn’t want to go to the class and be too stiff to take part.
Yoga is a fascinating activity. There are so many forms, and attitudes to it. Some people see it as a challenge, to be able to get into certain poses. Others are all about relaxing, the breathe and the inner focus. I like it because it stretches the body, and it is done at the individual’s pace. So, in theory, you should be less likely to injure yourself. Although I do see people in my massage clinic who have overstretched themselves trying to keep up with the person next to them.
For me, it relates nicely to creativity. We all go at our own pace, but we do need to challenge ourselves and aim a bit higher. So, in writing I want to complete a novel. In yoga I want to be able to the Salute to the sun with more flow and control. I want to feel my muscles stretching and gaining strength. Both these things take practise, they require discipline and space. The more we do either of them, the better we get, the easier it is to do them, the more results we see (and feel).
They are also things we can do alone, but equally, we can share with like minded people. They can take over our lives, they can fill us up in new ways and take us to places we didn’t know existed, physically and emotionally. We can meet new people, and more, previously unknown doors may open to us. They are a journey, and there is not necessarily an end, we keep learning our creative passion, as even the best yogi will say they are still learning their yoga practise.
And with both, we may just surprise ourselves with what we can achieve.