Yoga for an Open Mind - Yoga Journal

Express Your Self

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Inspiration strikes. Suddenly, you find yourself writing an essay, redesigning your garden, presenting a plan to your boss, conjuring up a new career. Seemingly from out of nowhere, a spark of creativity is ignited and you have a vision, plus the optimism and enthusiasm, and even a sense of urgency, to bring it into being. If you stop and pay attention as the idea takes shape, you'll notice that your mind in that moment feels relaxed and spacious.

Observe those moments over time and you'll recognize a pattern: The creative impulse seems to be activated as soon as there's a little breathing space in your mind. Sometimes it feels as if the idea, or the solution to some vexing problem, was waiting patiently all along, just out of reach, until your mind stopped churning in its breathless quest for an answer. It's astounding how quickly your creativity unleashes itself in the fertile ground of a peaceful mind.

"Creativity is actually the living, breathing essence of your Self," says Sianna Sherman, an Anusara Yoga instructor who teaches internationally. To tap into it, you simply need to make space for it.

Too often, Sherman says, the vast creative aspect of the Self gets hidden or pushed aside in the hustle and stress of everyday life. You can grow disconnected from it and even forget that this wellspring of imaginative possibilities and inspired solutions to your troubles resides right inside you.

Kundalini Yoga teacher Hari Kirin Khalsa, a painter who wrote Art & Yoga, says: "When you're under stress, you're contracted and fearful. Everything is black and white. You're not intuitive; you're instinctive. You can't think outside the box." But by practicing asana, Pranayama, meditation, or devotional chanting, she says, you can shift out of that stressful state and connect with your imaginative, spacious Self. "Yoga opens up the flow of creativity, the unfurling of the creator within."

Whether you're an artist, an engineer, or a parent heading to an important meeting when you learn your sick child needs to be picked up at school, you rely on creativity to meet everyday challenges. And you thrive on its ability to fill your life with beauty, purpose, and meaning. So even if you've never really thought of yourself as a "creative type," why not encourage your most imaginative Self to emerge?