We’re all born with creative instincts and abilities. Perhaps there’s a part of you that’s dying to write a book, compose a song, paint a picture or become involved in other creative activities. Alternatively you may have a creative profession or hobby, but often experience the dreaded block where ideas seem to dry up just when you need them the most.
If either of these scenarios applies to you, the big question is: how can you access the creative resources that lie deep inside you, waiting to be used? I’ve personally found that the regular practice of meditation and yoga provides an ideal way to boost your creativity. Why are these ancient practices so beneficial for creative processes?
The beneficial impact of meditation and yoga on creativity stems largely from their ability to relax and de-clutter the mind. This releases us from the dominance of our conscious mind – the part of the brain that constantly tries to organise, analyse and stay in control during our busy lives – and allows it to slip into a more harmonious, integrated relationship with the subconscious mind. When this happens magic can take place. The conscious mind now has access to the fertile world of the subconscious mind – with all its intuitive, imaginative, creative resources.
In the realm of the subconscious we store a vast number of memories, pieces of information, and mental and emotional impressions that have been formed by our experiences and conditioning. This stored information and imagery is the raw material we use in any form of creativity: whether it involves artistic, musical or literary activities, or the creation of a business, a home, a garden or anything we envision that takes form in the world.
The subconscious mind has the ability to process and combine many pieces of information and imagery simultaneously – producing insights that can often be in the form of creative ideas. It’s our intuitive faculties that allow this processing to take place and pass the results to our conscious mind.
While all forms of relaxation (including sleep) generally provide access to the subconscious mind and its creative resources, meditation is ideal for this purpose as it allows the conscious mind to become clear and alert, yet receptive to intuitive insights from the subconscious mind.
Through many years of personal experience, I’ve also found that yoga can play an important role in accessing the creative resources of the subconscious mind. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly according to yogic tradition, asanas provide the ideal way to prepare the mind, body and spirit for meditation – creating the relaxation required for long periods of sitting in the meditative state. I find that even 10-15 minutes of asana practice before meditating improves the quality of my meditation and consequently my mind’s receptivity to creative ideas that are trying to reach my awareness.
As well as playing this supportive role, I’ve also found that yoga has its own way of encouraging access to creative ideas from the subconscious mind. This seems to stem largely from yoga’s ability to unite mind, body and spirit, while releasing physical, mental and emotional tensions that block creative flow. I often find that if I’m stuck for ideas during writing sessions, taking a 10-minute yoga break can work wonders. If there’s time for meditation as well, even better!
As a writer with a regular daily yoga and meditation practice, I can happily report that creative insights can either come to me during a session, or at any stage in the following hours. I’ve also found that the arrival of a creative flash during asana or meditation practice is often linked with periods of intensive research prior to the session itself. I hope you find this information helpful!