The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.
Practicing Yoga Poses and Its Benefits to Your Writing
Practicing yoga can be benefit in all areas of your healthy lifestyle, mental and physical. In fact, for a writer, practicing yoga can be very beneficial at clearing and shaping your mind, just as it shapes and stretches your body. Yoga relieves tension, strengthens back muscles, improves your posture and it promotes blood flow to the brain, each of which can help creativity, especially the latter.
This article is intended to provide some of the possible benefits practicing yoga and mastering certain poses can be as you are on your creative writing journey.
A Little Background of Modern Yoga Practice
Many of the various types of the current forms of yoga emerged in the seventies when yoga was extremely popular with the counter culture movement of that era. Yoga eventually went the way of the flower child and its popularity waned. However, there were some individuals who continued to see the benefits of yoga and continued the practice. The rest of us have now caught up with those individuals.
Yoga has now become a favorite form of movement and exercise for both the young and the old as the benefits have emerged in the mainstream once again. The very act of stretching and breathing, along with the mind/body link, have been proven to help improve the physique and the psyche.
Yoga for Writers
Creativity is the nature of being a writer. They have creative minds and spirit. However, when the writer stumbles into the abyss where, occasionally, all creativity seems to have been zapped into nonexistence, practicing yoga can be of tremendous benefit.
Yoga contains a meditative component when you go beyond the poses, as you concentrate on the single breath tied to each movement. This meditative aspect creates a calmness that opens the mind and allows the creative process to flow. It can be especially helpful when a writer is experiencing writers block. When practicing Hatha Yoga, the breath/body link is a cleansing breath that can literally blows away the cobwebs and thought patterns that might be blocking or trapping the creativity and hampering your writing.
Yoga is especially relevant to creativity because of the spiritual aspects of the practice. When you consider that the practice of yoga originated from that need for the individual to somehow unite with the universe, how can we not proceed to harness that energy for creative thought? Yoga provides that pathway to the creative thought making helpful for anyone but particularly for writers..
The word yoga actually means union. Union of breath, body and spirit. It can be traced to the Vedic Culture which existed around 2800 B. C. Without delving too much into the different practices separately, it is important to know that there are six main paths of yoga and they can be practiced as separate disciplines or they can be practiced accessing various, single aspects of each.
Hatha yoga is the probably the most common practiced in the US. Hatha yoga is the path of physical control. When practiced with the intent of meditation it is purported to be an excellent tool for the mind and the body.
Tapping into the creative spirit, using controlled breathing as a part of the poses, there is a stillness and calmness that overtakes the mind, dampening conscious thought and clearing the way for free flowing thought or even the absence of thought. Writer's need a reprieve from constant thought.
While in this state, anxiety is found to be reduced and emotional tension dissolves. This can certainly be beneficial if the angst is caused by "writer's block." Mood swings are said to become less dramatic, clearing the way for creative thought and improved concentration.
Improved posture is a good reason for writers (or any other creative minds that are fairly stationary for long periods of the day) to practice yoga. Asana yoga is the mainstay of Hatha yoga and it actually means posture. Think about it: writers sit, hunched over computers or journals, neck bent and back contorted in a C. This is neither healthy nor attractive and certainly not comfortable in the long run. Practicing a few yoga poses can actually counteract the affects of sitting too long in one position as it elongates and stretches your muscles, gently toning you and pushing your musculature into healthy postures.
While it is great to have a yoga teacher, if you are unable to find one, you can practice yoga on your own. There are may tutorial on Youtube. However, since yoga is a form of exercise, it is important to check with your doctor before starting a yoga routine. In fact, there are poses that may be contraindicated in cases of some illnesses or conditions, such as high blood pressure or back problems. Consult your medical professional.
This video, found on Youtube, contains poses that are great for creativity.
Yoga Poses for the Creative Mind
There may be some poses that are more effective for creativity for various reasons, such as immediate blood flow to the brain or harnessing energy. As you view the video, take note of the mountain pose. It's relatively easy, requiring more balance than anything else, but it can create the feeling of being grounded and connected to earth. This promotes a calming affect as you slowly breath in and out through the nose while holding the pose.
Pay attention to the warrior pose. You will find that this pose not only strengthens the thigh muscles, but it also harnesses energy and directs that energy to the body and the mind tapping into the vast well of creativity.
Downward facing dog is also easy. The pose is energizing and refreshing, sending blood to the brain. It also strengthens the arms and increases flexibility.
The eagle pose focuses energy on the third eye which is the seat of creativity and focus. This is a good pose for someone sitting at the computer or desk for long stretches of time because the pose releases the tension in the shoulders and upper back. If there are problems with the knees, pose the arms only to avoid potential damage to the knees.
The child's pose is particularly restful and soothing, easing tensions and calming the mind. It is also good for the back and provides restful posture for the head, the face and the eyes, which are closed during this pose.
Yoga Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara)
There are many other poses that are beneficial to the creative mind. The real difficulty lies in discovering those particular poses to incorporate into your yoga practice.
If you are short of time, the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) shown at right are an excellent choice to start your day or provide relief from stress, tension and tired muscles during the middle of your day or after you have been sitting for a long period of time.
The practice of yoga is not a guarantee that your creativity will manifest effortlessly. Nothing os ever guaranteed and the correctness of you practice and the efficacy of your belief will play a part in opening up your creativity. That said, there are other tremendous benefits to yoga including a toned body and better posture. Not bad results for few minutes of time spent each day embracing a few beneficial poses and concentrating on a few mindful breaths.
As with anything, results may not be immediate and will certainly vary from person to person. Most of all, pairing of the practice of yoga with creativity and writing should be approached with an open mind and willing spirit.
Ultimately, the practice of yoga is what you make of it. For the open minded, it has been demonstrated that yoga, coupled with cleansing breaths, may clear troubling aspects hindering the creative flow. Writers, artists, photographers, in fact many others, may suffer from self esteem issue that are interfering with creativity. Yoga could free stored emotions and unlock the door to creativity, giving you permission to access the passion for making something new and wonderful exist where it was not before.
Reminder: As with any exercise, consult your physician before beginning yoga practice.
Copyright January 7, 2013
A mat bag is an easy way to carry and your mat. Mine unrolls constantly if not contained.
Sun Salutations practiced on the morning or at anytime. Excellent video from Youtube.
For more ideas to help improve creativity and brain power.
- Easy Ways You Can Improve Brain Power
Improve and protect the health of your brain with proper rest, exercise, reduced stress, proper eating and good social ties. Changes to daily routines, adding new activities also boost brain power .
© 2013 Cynthia B Turner
Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on March 11, 2014:
Hi, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I do find the poses help if I've been sitting "hunched over" a little to long and if I've reached crunch time in getting a project out. Yoga gets the kinks out, physically and mentally.
Kelly A Burnett from United States on March 09, 2014:
Wow! What a great tribute to a great exercise program. I never would have thought of this connection. Thank you!
Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 12, 2013:
I'm with you. All the jumping and fast movement is not necessarily my style. I'm sure it's good for some, just not me. IThank you so much for the vote up and taking the time to leave me a comment.
Enjoy your weekend!
Suzie from Carson City on January 12, 2013:
Cyndi.....LOL....Frank is funny....Well, I don't like yogurt, but I enjoy yoga, very much. What I like most about the practice of yoga is of course, the benefits to my mind and body....but also, it's a nice, calm and relaxing type of movement.
I realize that all forms of exercise is "good" for us.....I could simply never get into the jumping & kicking to a fast pace.....Thanks for this great, informational hub....UP++
Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 10, 2013:
Hi Frank. LOL. Yogurt. Well, that's another good topic, huh. I always appreciate you!!! Thanks so much for leaving a comment.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on January 10, 2013:
Cyndi yeah a very good hub.. I mistook the title when I saw it on my feed.. I thought it was benefits of yogurt for the creative mind..:( LOL but hey yoga is cool too...
Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 08, 2013:
Hello, yes both Tai Chi and yoga are wonderful.. I like Tai Chi for the balance and for kinesthetic memory. You really have to slow down and concentrate.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 08, 2013:
Very similar to Tai Chi, which I swear by. Great for the body and the mind.
Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 08, 2013:
Thank you so much for the vote up! Glad you approved of it.
Mahesh Mohan from India on January 08, 2013:
good hub......voted up........