Five yoga poses to help unlock creativity
Let’s start off the week with some unlocking! If last week left you feeing tense and blocked, read on.
One of the things we’re doing in my Writing and Yoga workshops is focusing on the throat chakra, the center of your creativity. The issues of the second chakra include communication–listening, speaking, and finding your true voice. In my workshops, one of the goals is to find that voice and speak (or write) your truth.
You don’t have to be a great artist or writer or musician to live creatively. Communication is the creative expression of everything that resides within us. As Anodea Judith says in her book, “Living creatively does not apply merely to the arts, but to an attitude about what is possible” (Eastern Body, Western Mind 321).
Here are five simple yoga asanas that will help unlock your creativity. All of them can be done at your desk.
- Hand and finger stretches. Our hands get cramped from typing on keyboards or writing in journals, and these stretches help revitalize our hands. Hold your right hand in front of you, palm up, and flex your hand back. Use the fingers of your left hand to gently press the right fingers back towards your body. Spread your fingers wide. Take three to five breaths here, and try not to tense your right shoulder. Move your left fingers to your right thumb and gently press it back towards your body for another three to five breaths. Repeat this sequence with the left hand.
- Neck stretches. Most of us carry tension here, and it is important to be gentle with your neck. Slowly turn your head to look to the right, without straining. Take three deep breaths. Turn your head slowly to the left for three deep breaths. Repeat, keeping the shoulders relaxed down the back. For this next sequence, move slowly, taking three to five deep breaths in each position: Let your chin come down to your chest, then roll your right ear to your right shoulder, return your chin to chest, the roll left ear to left shoulder. Keep breathing, and move gently.
- Shoulder opener. Tension in the shoulders can affect your expression. Interlace your fingers behind your back. Try to get the palms together with arms straight, but don’t strain the joints. Lift your hands and arms away from your back and feel your shoulders and heart open. Take three to five deep breaths, allowing the heart to lift.
- Eagle arms. Bring your arms in front of you, and cross the right arm under the left. Sitting tall, bend the elbows so that the hands come together (either palms together or palm to back of hand). As you take three to five deep breaths, start to lift the elbows. Feel the stretch through the shoulders. Now bring the elbows down to your chest, and let your chin come to the chest as well. Hold for three to five breaths. Release gently and repeat on the other side: switch the cross of the arms, with the left arm under the right.
- Chanting Om. Okay, so maybe you can’t do this in the middle of the office, but chanting helps find the resonance of your voice. Sit comfortably and draw your spine tall. Your hands can rest at your knees. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in, and on the exhale chant om. Some yogis pronounce it as “ah-oh-em,” but I stick with plain “ohm.” Whatever works for you. Focus on not just the sound of your voice, but the vibrations. Notice the resonance, or the sound quality.