#5onFri: Five Yoga Poses to Boost Creativity

by Urszula Bunting
published in Writing

Life is better when the creative juices flow. No matter what we do for work or fun, creativity makes life easier, more exciting, and helps to achieve what we imagine. For artists, writers, and musicians, creativity is a must-have skill to survive and thrive. 

Many remarkable leaders, business people, scientists, and strategists ­(George Washington, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk, or Steve Jobs, to name a few) ­changed the world because of their vision and knowing how to tap into their creative minds.

We can’t purchase, borrow, or force creativity upon ourselves. Still, we can develop and stimulate it with various techniques and practices. These techniques are designed to relax our bodies, bring clarity to our minds, and connect us to our souls where creativity lives. My favorite is mindful movement, also known as yoga.

Yoga has been around for about 5,000 years. It originated in India, where monks, Vedic priests, and warriors practiced yoga for physical and mental strength and religious rituals. Yoga found its way to the West in the late 19th century and recently became a popular form of exercise, meditation in motion, and relaxation technique. It serves men and women, young and old, healthy and ill, rich and poor, and anyone looking for inspiration to improve various aspects of their lives.

Yoga has many applications. As a yoga teacher and a writer, I have discovered that yoga can help writers snap out of writer’s block and get back into the flow. The main elements in every yoga practice—postures (asanas), slow breathing, and noticing sensations in the body—bring us to the present moment, unclutter our minds, release tension from our bodies, and allow us to hear the subtle voice we need to write and create.

Among eighty-four poses, I find several that work best when I feel stuck looking at a blank page and am waiting for the words to appear on my computer screen. I invite you to try the poses below (individually or as a sequence) and practice them daily or when you need the energy and creativity to flow.

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

This pose is considered the fundamental yoga pose and the basic standing pose. We all do it daily, but we might not always know that we are standing in Mountain Pose. Paying attention to the details such as alignment, breath, and standing tall, make this pose powerful and effective for physical and mental strength.

Cues for this yoga pose: 

Stand up tall with feet at hip-distance apart, arms and shoulders down, chin retracted and the crown of the head reaching up. Feel the ground under your feet and notice your breath slowing down; expend your body on the inhalation and release tension on the exhalation. With each breath, lengthen your spine and become taller and more focused. Picture your favorite mountain—tall, powerful, peaceful, and inspiring—and become that mountain.

2. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

These two poses are usually practiced together. They create a flow while moving from one pose to the other with slow and rhythmic breathing. This flow is terrific for anyone who sits for a long time (hello writers!) and puts pressure on the spine and compromises their posture.

Cues for this yoga pose: 

Come to all fours and place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and lift the sitting bones, arch the spine, bring your chest forward, and lift your head; exhale, curl your tailbone, round your spine, and relax your head down. Move through this Cat and Cow sequence several times, then return to a straight, neutral spine. Take a few more breaths and feel the energy flow.

3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This pose, also known as Down Dog, is considered an inversion where the head is below the heart, and more blood and oxygen reach the brain. Improved circulation, lengthening, stretching the entire body, and being in an upside-down position can make a shift from being stuck to having the creative juices flow.

Cues for this yoga pose: 

Come onto all fours, then lift your knees and hips. Keep your hips high and your heels as close to the ground as possible. Press the front of your upper body towards the front of your legs, creating a sharp, inverted “V” shape. Let your head be heavy and your facial muscles relaxed. Breathe slowly. 

If your body is asking for you to move, stay in the inverted “V” shape and “walk your dog” by bending one knee at the time and reaching with the opposite heel of your foot toward the ground. Listen to your body and move with your breath.

4. Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Cobra pose stretches the chest muscles and allows the lungs and the heart to work better. When we breathe deeper and when our heart muscle has more space, we feel more energized, motivated, and inspired.

Cues for this yoga pose: 

Start by lying down on your belly, hands by your shoulders. Inhale, hug the elbows in, lengthen your spine by reaching the crown of your head forward, and peel your head, shoulders, chest, ribcage, and your belly off the floor. Exhale, slowly lower your ribcage, chest and head down to the ground. 

Repeat three to five times with at least one breath between the postures. On the last one, hold the pose for three long breaths before you come back down to the floor, then rest for several breaths.

5. Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

This restorative pose doesn’t require much strength or flexibility, standing up or stretching. Its focus is on resting, grounding, and rejuvenating. Some days we need just that, and that’s when Legs up the Wall can make a difference.

Cues for this yoga pose:

Sit on the floor sideways with one hip near a wall.  Swing your legs up the wall while you slowly bring your back down to the floor (use your hands and forearms to recline). It is a bit tricky to bring the legs to the wall if you are doing it the first time. If you decide that you don’t like this version, you can still do this pose with your knees bent and your lower legs on a chair or a bed. Have your back relaxed on the floor, arms along your body, and the back of your head resting comfortably on the floor or a folded blanket (or a small pillow).  

A good amount of time to spend in this pose is 5-15 minutes.

These yoga poses are easy but very effective. They can positively influence health, wellbeing, and creative success. They might even spark curiosity and open the door to a new lifestyle that can lead to the life we want and the creativity we desire. It all starts with a single pose, deep breath, and conscious experience of being in the present moment. Let’s do it! 

Urszula Bunting turned her struggles into the passion and calling in the search for answers to many of her life’s challenging questions. She became a Registered Yoga Teacher, National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and health and wellness writer. She is a self-published author of Finding Your Yoga; Essential Guide of a Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga and Ayurveda and a founder of UB Well, LLC. She has been featured in The Times-Call, the Longmont Leader, The NAJIT Observer, the Colorado Shoutout, and Yoga Journal. For more information, please visit Urszula’s website at www.ubwell4life.com.

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