When people hear me talk about how I use a combined expressive art
making and yoga method to increase Creative Flow, not surprisingly, they
question how it works. Images of spandex, paintbrushes and yoga mats
may dance across their mind—and that can be a distasteful visual, even
for me! So here’s the low-down on how art + yoga can improve Creative Flow…for
everyone. Note: no prior yoga experience, stretchy clothes, or artistic skills are required.
Why Expressive Art Making + Yoga Works Universally
Expressive art making and yoga works universally to increase Flow because their benefits are biological. Expressive art making and yoga are both proven to reduce the experience of stress, specifically by lowering your body’s heart- and breath rate, and by decreasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, each discipline has demonstrated measurable improvements in people’s sense of well being and self acceptance. So why not put art making and yoga together into one amazing program?
Two common responses are : 1. “I’m not flexible”; and 2. “I can’t make art”. Here is the truth for those who doubt their ability to increase Flow (and overcome overwhelm) through a combined art and yoga program:
- Yoga is for everyone.
There are many ways to receive its benefits, well beyond the
stretch-and-sweat of going to a traditional studio yoga class. Yoga has 7
limbs–including areas of self study, self care, and wisdom
teachings–beyond the poses (poses are an additional limb, called asana, totaling
8 limbs). Asana can be practiced in a reclined position (on your back)
and even from a chair. Literally, if you can breathe, you can do yoga.
- Expressive art making techniques require no artistic skill or special art materials. Simplicity makes the process equally available to an executive, an elderly person, and even a child.
- The entire process is oriented to getting you out of your head and into your heart,
and then to express emotions and ideas from that place. Yoga can be utilized as a
physical and emotional relaxation technique, so that you can disconnect from the head and thus connect
with your deep inner wisdom. Then, the use of creativity and other journaling
techniques will give your deep inner wisdom a voice.
- When your mind is quieter and you feel more connected to your deep inner wisdom, you’re also more creative. Therefore, you experience more Flow!
Applications of the Art + Yoga Method
People use the art + yoga method to experience greater reassurance and ease. They also use it to find solutions and insights into many kinds of overwhelming emotional or strategic problems:
- Define better personal/professional relationship boundaries;
- Articulate a unique, authentic brand promise;
- Make decisions about a life path or life transition;
- Disempower a debilitating strong emotion such as fear or grief;
- Improve performance, or address performance anxiety.
I’ve shared this practice with a variety of groups that include disabled veterans, individuals with PTSD, individuals recovering from opioid addiction, athletic coaches, university leadership, artists, and business leaders from around the country. The venues where I teach range from community non-profits, to residential treatment, to luxurious resorts and business retreats.
No matter the what the source of your overwhelm may be, the process of
combined expressive art making and yoga remains the same. And so does
the outcome. People are left feeling calmer, clearer, and more connected
to themselves. That success is outstanding, and it’s also known as
increased Creative Flow!
This story was originally published at jodirosestudio.com.