Updated: Jul 26
When I ask a group of keen Yoga enthusiasts: mums, dads, those with busy lives, if anyone in the room is creative, a resounding "hell no" is the usual response.
Very few people see themselves as creative beings, despite many having created a human being themself. All of us, until a certain age, happily painted or drew until our hearts content. Until someone decided to label and judge what we were doing as good or bad, which is when we decided that we were no longer creative.
We think it's in our end product, but in fact it's a divide in the dialogue between the two sides of the brain. How do I know this? I have been a facilitator of the creative process for over 30 years. I have witnessed the decline not only in the confidence of this creative process at the University level as lecturer, but also a diminishing of its understanding of the need to let go, go with the flow, and not be attached to the outcome.
I never intended to be yoga teacher. It wasn't until I noticed the decline in happiness with my job, that I could see a parallel between the creative process and the Yoga journey. Those who struggled on the mat, would share a similarity with those who struggled in the creative process. What I discovered through my research is that the divide of our being belongs to the balance between the two hemispheres of the brain. (Iain McGilchrist)
What I observed by using certain exercises was a shift in those design students crippled with anxiety by the thought of getting it wrong. What I witnessed was a shift towards going with the flow, opening up to possibility, and making decisions without the anxiety of having to get it right the first time. I saw the ability to see the creative journey as a process of diving deep into not knowing where we're going, but trusting we will know when we get there.
So, what's being creative got to do with Yoga? This. In my experience, the process is exactly the same: achieving a posture is not the goal, but merely the journey of letting go and surrendering to the life-force energy moving through us.
I now use a number of creative exercise on our 6 day retreat during the 200hours Teacher Training to help everyone understand how quickly we can shift our thinking from negative to positive. Blind contour is one exercise I utilise which shifts the activity of the left brain ;anxious, uncomfortable with the unknown, and focused on the end product, to right hemispheric balance; able to make connections , see the broader picture, more present and focused.
(If you notice the descriptions of right hemispheric balance all parallel those of a more meditative mindset.)
The horrified faces of those on our retreat, when given the task to draw their partner, however the switch is instantaneous as this little drawing exercise switches off that *judgemental* anxious part of the brain making everyone howl with laughter… this is, going with the flow , this is connection, which can then be applied on the mat, so we *enjoy* the process, savour every moment of going within. Seeing our body as working together in harmony, not just a tight hamstrings or resistant hip flexors, but a symphony of movement working together with the breath to open up any resistance.
We also created a beautiful nature mandala collected on a silent nature walk. Connecting with nature allows us to connect with this creative life force within, to realise we are all *part* of a greater *whole* not separate and disconnected like we can often slip into believing.
The journey becomes the goal & we find victory in Yoga on the battlefield of life .
Do you think of your-self as being a CREATOR?
Evolve Yoga Teacher Training 200hrs begins February 2024 with a week long intensive @trigonos_nantlle Wales.