Yoga & Creativity

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I always wanted to be an artist, or even just someone creative. I’ve enjoyed drawing my whole life & am pretty ok at it but I never thought that made me an artist. I wanted to be a person who’s full of cool ideas and actually goes out and makes them happen. Sometimes I have the ideas & sometimes I don’t, which is ok. The problem was that even when I had a great idea for a painting, drawing or project I often would only think about it until another idea came into my head & I never actually ended up doing anything with the first idea. That was really a shame because I often had enough time but never the drive to follow through with an idea.

Since making yoga a daily part of my life my creativity has skyrocketed! There is never really a time when I’m at a loss of ideas or a time when I’m not actually working on something. Which is incredible because as of right now I have all of the time in the world!

I am living in Zürich with my Fiancée. The wedding is in May which means until then I am not able to work. I have all day everyday to do anything I want but this isn’t the first time I’ve been in Switzerland with everyday free as a bird.

I know when you read this you’re thinking “Oh if only I had so much free time I would do this and that, and I could travel here and see this”. It truly does sound like a dreamy lifestyle but I’m telling you after a few weeks of no work & all play you’ll be dying to get back to the office, especially if you’re someone like me who has ideas but not enough drive or knowhow (aka creativity) to follow through with them.

I had many problems in the past with all of my free time in Zürich. I would sleep late, wander around the city then come home and cook dinner and wait for my boyfriend to come home from work like a little golden retriever puppy, demanding love and attention. This was so extremely unsatisfying & mind numbing but I honestly felt like I couldn’t do anything else. I didn’t speak the language here and I didn’t have the drive to do much besides sleep late & cook. I felt pretty much completely useless.

Fast forward to today. A few years wiser & with a 200 hour Yoga teacher training under my belt. Ever single day I have something to do. I’m meeting people & talking about ideas. I’m painting & going to the local Museum to draw. I’m planning my wedding & having a damn good time doing it! (My sister-in-law is making my dress so I was able to design it myself which was amazing). I’m writing which is something I’ve never done before. I’m giving my neighbour yoga lessons in exchange for lunch & after just a few lessons I am absolutely thrilled to notice a difference in the openness of her body. Plus she keeps telling me she feels great! On top of all of this I have my own personal Asana, Pranayama & Meditation practice. Everyday of my life since my YTT at Marina Yoga has been full of love & a real want to do something great and show the world what I can do, which I’ve honestly never had before.

I feel so much more confident and I think that is one of the reasons why my creative levels have risen. I’m no longer terrified about what other people are going to say or think about me because I know that what they say and think doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am doing things that make me happy and my daily yoga practice has really helped me embrace the things that make me happy.

So if getting into shape, calming your mind, unwinding, de-stressing, and just generally doing something great for your body isn’t enough of a reason to practice yoga than practice to spark your creativity! Practice yoga to find what makes you happy and practice yoga so you can find the confidence to actually go out & DO what makes you happy! Practice yoga to find out who you are.

 

Namaste, Katy

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Energetic Pranyama

I’m sitting on the train and lacking all energy. Why is it always the night before a big day that you can’t sleep? I just can’t seem to slow my mind down and shut off while in bed when I know that I have 8 million things to do and places to go in the morning. So what should I do now that it is already morning and I am terribly tired?

Well chocolate is helping me gain back some energy levels but that may not be the best solution (although the most delicious!). So in between nibbles of chocolate I’m practicing a combination of two very energizing Pranyama breathing exercises. Ujjayi and Surya Bhedana.

Ujjayi is also known as breath of fire, ocean breath or Darth Vader breath because it sounds like all of those things! By constricting the back of our throats and directing the breath there while inhaling and exhaling through the nose, we can warm up our breath before it even enters the body, so that it enters the lungs already full of energy. We use a full yogic breath while practicing ujjayi and most other pranyama breathing exercises (see previous post for full yogic breath). This warm, hissing breath is used before energetic and fast paced yoga classes. The actual sound of the breath allows us to stay focused on our breathing, helping our minds not to wander. By simply using this technique as I sit here I can feel an immediate awakening and warming effect. Pretty incredible I thought.

Surya Bhedana is also very powerful as it awakens our Yang side. Everyone’s heard of Yin and Yang but do we know what it means? Well Yin and Yang are the 2 sides of everything that have polar opposite energy. Let’s make a chart…

Yin                           Yang

Left                          Right

Inner                       Outer

Feminine               Masculine

Moon                       Sun

Passive                    Aggressive

So you see the difference. By practicing right nostril breathing we awaken the more active side of all of us, the Yang. We simply take out right hand in Mrigi mudra (placing our index and middle fingers at the base of our thumb) closing our left nostril with our ring finger and we inhale through the right nostril. After a full yogic inhale we close our right nostril with our thumb and exhale through the left. Repeat by inhaling again through the right nostril and continue on this way for 5 to 10 full rounds. It is the inhale through the right nostril that activates the Yang and starts to give our bodies this active energy.

Give these two breathing methods a try the next time you’re feeling low on energy and let me know what subtle energy differences you feel!

My day is looking up and I hope yours is too,

Namaste, Katy.