Like Yoga, tapping into your creative potential requires energy and willpower, stillness and deep listening. That’s why this sequence alternates between active poses and quiet, introspective ones: The active poses open you up to get your creative juices flowing; the restorative ones will give you space to listen to your inner muse.
While the postures can be like keys to unlock creativity, it’s how you practice that makes all the difference. Go slow, connect with your breath, and really feel the different sensations each pose evokes. This heightens your senses, and you may find that after practicing, you see colors more vividly, music moves you more deeply, and you are better able to hear the inspiration already flowing within your heart.
Creativity is deeply intelligent and can take many forms. Wherever you need a hit of creative inspiration—work, music, dance, writing, cooking, gardening, painting, and beyond—my hope is that this sequence allows your own deep intelligence to emerge and move through you. After all, we are all artists and creators of our own lives. Once this practice has connected you to your greatest self, may it also give you the energy and clarity you need to share your gifts with the world.
Yoga for creativity: A home practice to awaken your inner muse
1. Indudalasana (Krishna’s Pose, variation)
Stand at the top of your mat in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Extend your arms overhead, and lengthen your sides. Bend your right knee slightly as you step your left foot behind your right. Then, bend your entire torso to the right. Catch your left wrist with your right hand, creating a beautiful crescent-moon shape with your body. After 5 breaths, repeat on the other side. You’ll see this pose throughout classical Indian art; it’s known for its attractive lines, and it may inspire your own creativity as a result.
See also 12 Yoga Poses to Spark Creativity
2. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Take a seat with your knees and feet together, and gently sit on your heels. Allow your hands to rest in your lap, and close your eyes. Take this moment in your practice to look inward. Connecting with your creativity requires stillness and observation. Sit still for as long as you like, observing your breath, the sensations of your body, and the quality of your mind.
3. Thunderbolt Pose, variation
From this seated position, lift your hips, bring your knees wide, and curl your toes under. Sit back down on your heels, and interlace your hands behind your back—drawing your hands down and away from your body as you push your chest forward. Allow your head to move back and your throat to soften. This heart opener helps to unlock your throat chakra and your subtle and physical bodies—deepening self-expression. Take 5–10 strong breaths here, feeling your entire body swell with creative potential.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Come to Tabletop with your wrists under your shoulders, knees below hips. Spread your fingers wide, and root down through your palms. Lift your knees, and rotate your inner thighs backward. Shake out your legs by alternately bending your knees. Firm your thighs backward; press your heels down to gradually straighten your legs. Keep your shoulders wide to allow freedom in your neck. Feel your head below your heart. Holding Down Dog is like escaping to a private sanctuary—it’s very conducive to introspection. Turn your gaze toward your navel, and take 5–8 deep breaths.
5. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
From Down Dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Gently lower your back knee to the floor, and climb your hands onto your right thigh. Allow your pelvis to shift forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip flexor. As you press your hands down into your thigh, lift your chest, widen your collarbones, and gaze straight ahead. This pose will begin opening up the flow of energy in your hips and legs. Stay here for 5–8 deep breaths, then move to the next pose.
Note: We are going to stay on the same side for the next 7 poses.
6. Low Lunge, variation
Reach back with your left arm, and catch the inside of your left foot. To increase the stretch in your left quadriceps, gently draw your foot closer to your body. Keep your left foot in line with your hip to prevent any twisting in your knee. Isometrically hug your back knee toward your front foot for stability. Lift your chest, and then extend your right arm forward, connecting your pointer finger and thumb in Jnana Mudra (Wisdom Mudra). Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
7. Revolved High Lunge
Place your hands on either side of your front foot, and extend your back leg, curling your toes under and lifting your back thigh toward the ceiling. Once you are in a High Lunge, transfer some weight to your left hand to begin the twist: Turn from your lower belly first, then from your middle ribs. Finally, lift your right arm toward the sky, and look up. Feel your torso extend from the top of your head to your toes, and feel your rib cage revolve around your spine. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
8. Revolved Low Lunge, variation
Release the twist, and lower your back knee to the ground. Take both hands to the earth, and with your right hand, catch your left foot from the outside. Turn your belly toward the sky, and find a small upper-back bend, allowing your head to move backward while keeping your throat soft. Stay here for 5 breaths, feeling the thigh stretch, the twist, and the backbend open up your body in a deep and graceful way.
9. Lizard Lunge
Release your back leg, and gently turn your chest toward the floor. Bring both hands to the inside of your right knee, then walk your hands to the left about 2 feet, and lower your forearms to the mat. This deep, low lunge can help release any stored creative energy that’s stuck in your hips. Stay in this Yin Yoga–style pose for up to 2 minutes.
10. Vasisthasana Side Plank Pose, variation
Start this pose lying on your side with your legs stacked. Bend your top (left) leg, and bring your foot in front of you. Next, move your bottom hand to the floor under your shoulder and straighten your arm, lifting your hips off the floor by pressing down into your right foot and hand. Then, extend your left arm over your head, palm facing down. Take 5 breaths in this invigorating Side Plank variation.
11. Reclining Buddha
Gently lower your hips to the floor, keeping your right leg extended and your left leg bent at the knee. Extend your left arm outward to rest on top of your left knee. Continue to press down through your right hand to find length in your spine and right side body. Connect your left pointer finger and thumb to form Jnana Mudra, which connects you to your higher Self, helps lift dull energy, and brightens overall mood. In ancient Buddhist art, this is the pose of enlightened Boddhisattvas. Rest here for a moment, feeling elegant and wise.
12. Down dog
Come back to Downward-Facing Dog. Find a steady, even breath here. Take a moment to feel creative energy move throughout your body. Notice the difference between your right and left sides. Does the right side of your body feel more open and spacious? Rest here. Then, turn your gaze toward your navel, taking 5–8 deep breaths. Next, begin Low Lunge with your left foot forward. Now, practice poses 5–11 on the other side. End in Down Dog.
13. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, variation)
From Down Dog, bring your right knee forward between your hands. Line up your right knee and hip, bringing your right foot in front of your left hip. Square your hips; face forward to come to upright Pigeon Pose. Bend your left knee; draw your foot to your body with your left arm. Try to catch your foot in the crease of your left elbow. Reach your right arm up and back to hook your hands. Isometrically hug your knees together for stability. Lightly lift your pelvic floor, pulling energy up through your torso toward the crown of your head. Stay here for 5 breaths.
14. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose, variation)
From Pigeon Pose, swing your back leg toward the front of your mat. Stack your right knee over your left with your feet slightly away from your hips. If this bothers your knees, elevate your hips by sitting on a blanket or bolster. Place your left hand on the floor—left of your hips. Extend your right arm up overhead toward your left side, turning your gaze to the ceiling. Stay here for up to 2 minutes, then repeat poses 13 and 14 on the other side. This deep stretch releases tension (which traps vital energy) in your hips and side body. When it’s released, energy starts flowing, and we naturally feel more expansive and creative.
15. Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
Extend both of your legs out and wide into a V shape. If you have a hard time bending forward, try sitting on the edge of a blanket, which will help tilt your pelvis. Walk your arms out in front of you until you feel a stretch along the insides of your legs. Pause, and breathe here until the sensation diminishes. Then, continue to walk your hands forward, perhaps lowering onto your forearms. Stay in your fullest expression of this pose for up to 2 minutes, allowing your nervous system to settle and your mind to quiet.
See also 8 Poses to Prep You for Hanumanasana
16. Padmasana Lotus Pose
Sit with a blanket or cushion under your sitting bones. Bring your left foot atop your right thigh (at the crease of your hip), and your right foot atop your left thigh (at hip). Allow your hips to settle, anchoring you to the earth. Lengthen your spine until your head feels balanced above your seat. Relax your shoulders, and place your hands on your thighs, palms facing up with pointer fingers and thumbs connected. Sit here for 3–5 minutes, feeling vital life-force energy moving within your body. Contemplate how you want to share this energy with the world. What form does your unique creative expression want to take today? Then, feel free to take a few moments to rest in Savasana.
About the Author
Amanda Giacomini is a yoga teacher and artist, also known by her street-art name @10000buddhas (she’s painted more than 10,000 Buddhas the world over). She tours, teaches, and paints murals alongside her husband, MC Yogi. When they are not traveling, they teach daily classes at Point Reyes Yoga, their home studio in northern California. Learn more at 10000buddhas.com.