Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
“The urge to create is inherent in all of us and is an essential component of the human spirit,” Linda Novick writes in The Painting Path: Embodying Spiritual Discovery through Yoga, Brush and Color. Novick, an artist and Kripalu Yoga teacher who leads painting-and-yoga retreats, uses yoga to help her students open to the roots of their creativity.
Tap into your creativity with Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate-Nostril Breathing), a purifying and balancing technique that leads to a state of deep, receptive calm. The practice can open you to a rush of creativity while quieting your inner critic, says Novick. She offers these instructions in her book and suggests having paper and colored oil pastels or crayons at hand before you begin.
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Gently bring your attention to the natural flow of your breath.
- Lift your right hand and fold your middle and index fingers down, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinkie open.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale, and then inhale through your left nostril. Release your right nostril and close your left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale, then inhale through your right nostril. Practice alternate breathing in this manner for several minutes, or until you feel relaxed.
- Slowly open your eyes and take up the oil pastels; draw freely, observing without judgment how it feels to cover the paper with color.