RESTORATIVE-YIN YOGA involves supported body/mind relaxation. This is gentle, gentle yoga that promotes deep relaxation for stress reduction while also stretching and rehabilitating connective tissue.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Creative Journey & Yoga

Copyright Lance Kinseth, Penetrating Light / Tetsuko, 2011

WE MIGHT IMAGINE the Earth as having been created eons ago and over-old.  But in geo-time, the world has barely appeared.  Earth has barely begun with the whole of cosmos still in ongoing creation. Despite all of our intellectualization, we continue to be an expression of the Earth and more, and in the process of becoming the beyond of ourselves.

BODY-MIND PRACTICE, if authentic, is inside the cutting edge of ongoing creation rather than something created long-ago and over-old.  In this era, yoga is new, as are all body-mind practices.  We are not going back and replicating an ancient, unchanging yoga.  Still, in all of these changes and this ongoing creation, there is a sense something enduring and eternal.  The ancient path offers a clean way forward—a set of deep guiding principles more than a set of techniques.  We sit down on the mat, and we fall into the cascade of the moment as it falls into the future.  Were we to rigidly follow the ancient path, we would likely be practicing only superficial techniques, not unlike trying to stop a river.  We would have the mental “form,” but not have acquired the “heart-mind” essence that surrenders and opens and listens.  In any body-mind practice, the master-task is one of following a few simple principles.  Then, there is the opportunity for a “no end to technique.”  

Body-mind practices offer creative experiences. In yoga, each pose can speak to us—“child,” “tree,” “dog,” “bridge,” “supine goddess.”  Each pose is an invitation to open, to expand, and to create/transform. 

Language and imagery change with deep relaxation.  With poses that calm and quiet, the everyday chatter stops and words and images become more heart felt, and mind becomes more xin [ “heart mind,” integrative and heart-felt rather than dissecting].  It’s a little madness, in that it is a different state from everyday life, but a good madness—a softening of roles and expectations.

When the chatter slows, there is the deep eloquence of memory, and the many pathways that you might have taken—still there for the taking, and the power of childhood—a living state, not a stage of life.   There is the genetic remembrance of Earth and still a hunger for the elemental--for fire before the hands and for wind and its breath in wild grass.  There is the primal core of life—the initiations of trauma and sorrows that teach us, and key life rituals of transition of birth/birthing, loving relatedness, and death.  All of this, and more, wait within us as an ember, in that unbreakable place that is both at heart’s center and in the universe.  Our creation comes from our unending capacity to imagine, in a cosmos that is still in creation.  And when we rest and quiet and calm, our imagination can flower from being imaginary or fantasy to become imaginal or deeply mythic and intuitive and real.

Everyone is innately creative.  Human essence might be our never-ending stream of imagination.  We become aware of the continuous nature of imagination perhaps best in meditation, where it seems to continually “interfere” with quieting of the mind.  This process of imagination continues even in sleep where it comes into conscious awareness when we dream.  Our imagination may be dominated by attention to what we did or what we believe we need to do, but there are innumerable doors other than routine waiting to be opened.  We need to acknowledge this ever-present quality, and then, engage in processes that evoke non-routine imagery. 

Creativity training is dominated by training strategies that aspire to enhance business success.  The focus of these programs is upon organizational objectives such as design thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, experimentation, decision-making, and innovation.  While some the elements are common to most efforts to foster creativity, yoga-as-creativity-training might focus on personal objectives such as life-changing transformation and identifying hidden strengths.  And the practice of yoga offers somewhat different training emphases, such as physiological relaxation or de-stressing, quietness to turn off the chatter or noise and listen to intuition, a shift in brain chemistry and integration of right-left hemispheres, more effusive themes such as inspiration/surrender/wholeness, affirmations, and/or imagery of light, inversion, a quiet place where one can reflect as well as listen to the quality of one’s voice.  The dominant creative methodologies target thinking differently, such as “thinking outside the box.”  Yoga’s calmness and quiet methods aspire to step outside thought.  The focus is much more on using the mind to mollify the body, to see what then appears.


Body-mind practices can be designed to offer provocations for artistic creation and invention and general intuitive inspiration or the nurturance of a deeper sense of clarity and freshness in our imagination rather than an artistic end product.  Creative products [writing, drawing and painting, musical voice/song, movement, specific problem-solving—scientific, work objectives and goals and vision] can certainly be concrete outcomes of along a pathway of a creative life.

A sample brief body-mind practice focused upon stimulating creativity:

Creative Journey: A Good Madness & Yoga

            BRING: Journal, laptop or notebook, sketchbook, other
                           2+ Blankets, shawl, eye-pillow or bandana
                          Personal meaningful/”sacred” objects: stones, feathers, jewelry, etc.

                          3+ hours minimum [Can also be a longer retreat]

Intro: Cutting through chatter, intuition, presence, and favorites: what are not being expressed, crystallizing personal directives/philosophy, and style

Practice: Asana & Creativity—selected and intuitive, with creative expression
Light lunch [veg wraps & tea/juice & treat]
Practice: Perhaps Shaman Drum & Nature
Practice: Asana & Creativity—selected and intuitive, with creative expression

                        Provocations throughout sessions by facilitator(s): music,
recorded voice, guided imagery, fragrance

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