This article is aimed to give you some tips and tools on how to inspire your own practice as well as helping you to find creativity to create your own flow (a sequence of postures put together in a flow). If you are fairly new to yoga, attending classes with different teachers is highly recommended in the beginning. When you feel ready to practice on your own, you can start playing around with postures and sewing it together into a flow.
Find time to flow
In addition to your own practice – Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha – whatever it is, set aside time to practice creating flows.
Be flexible in the beginning. For people with a tight schedule, having a designated time or day once or twice a week is the best option. For some, like myself, creativity comes in waves. Some days I feel creative, other days I have no creativity at all.
If you have a period were you feel stuck, stop trying to force yourself to be creative – that won’t work. The best you can do is to seek inspiration elsewhere – go to classes with inspiring teachers, attend workshops. Even allow yourself to find inspiration in other styles of movement, like martial arts, tai chi, acrobatics, dance etc.
Keep in mind what yoga is
Keep in mind what constitutes a yoga practice, and what doesn’t. Remember the aim is not always to go further or do better, but to be attentive to your body and the moving ocean of your mind. For me, it has become more and more about coming to that sweet spot where I am fully immersed in my breath and body, and my mind is free from clutter.
And when you forget, remember Patanjali’s definition of yoga: “Yogas chitta vritti nirodha”, which means yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.
Make your practice a spiritual practice
If you’re a goal oriented person, then try to think of your practice less as directed towards a goal, but more like a spiritual practice – which yoga ultimately is. Your flow should build up to a handful of peak poses were you are so challenged or immersed in your body that what remains is your awareness of your breath and being totally present.
Have you ever felt so at the edge in a pose that the only thought you have is your breath and how much you crave to get out of that pose? That pose is what I like to call your pose of transcendence. Find other poses were you find that same state of being on the edge. Learn to breathe in that pose, to hover on that edge between what is possible and what is not. It is as much about your mental constitution as your physical possibilities.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a very advanced pose, as long as it challenges your willingness to be in that pose. Sometimes it can be the pose you dread the most, or it can be a pose your body already is inclined towards, but you haven’t yet figured out the technicalities or breathing.
How to inspire your practice
- Put on music you like, but be mindful of the effect rhythm and pace has on your mind and movements
- Remove yourself from distractions. Put your phone away, keep space free from clutter, light candles and/or incense
- Go to a yoga class with a new teacher
- Keep a yoga specific journal to write in, draw, plan out sequences etc. Take it with you everywhere
- Hang up a picture of a pose you would like to master, and create a flow to build up to that pose
- Try to incorporate one or two pranayama exercises at the end of your practice, and notice the effects it has on your awareness and ability to concentrate
- Make space in your calendar to do nothing – ten minutes, an hour, a day. Stillness inspires creativity
- Stay hungry to always learn. Seek out workshops, classes and yoga festivals you want to attend