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3 yoga students in variations of similar poses

All Creatives Are Created Equal

Jun 26th, 2024 oddfam Blog, Community, Education

Because capitalism, we tend to limit what we think of as "creative" to specific fields, like writing, visual arts, and music production. To be human is to create – to puzzle together our complex existences and transform them into authentic expression, whether somber and contemplative, ecstatic and joyful, or everything in between. In yoga, we often think of sequences with a little extra flair to be creative. We yogis also employ the focus, awareness, and wisdom found in balancing the mind, body, and spirit to unleash latent creativity, refresh our relationship with an ongoing creative endeavor, or even spark entirely new ideas!

In short, creativity is not for an elite few, rather, CREATIVITY IS FOR ALL! Whether you're feeling creatively stuck or don't think of yourself as particularly creative at all, yoga is a powerful framework for understanding lived experience and transforming it into something useful, like art or even a spreadsheet. So, harness the power of the practice and the summer sun to journey with us to a new understanding of creativity. Everything you create is creative, and these classes, workshops, and community gatherings are a great place to go for a spark of inspiration:

  • Three of our most popular workshops are now monthly, but we've switched up the times and locations to bring more yoga to more people! Let's once again go inward, upside down, and all around with monthly Sound Baths, Inversions, and Roll It Out Massage Ball Sessions (*Roll It Out is cancelled this month due to the 4th of July holiday). When you commit to regular, recurring workshops like these, your yoga practice will go in yet another direction – upward!
  • In a very special workshop, guest teacher Nish will help us uncover the truth about Tantra – and guide us toward our highest fulfillment, including – you guessed it – our creative potential! Expect a deep dive into ancient texts for a firsthand account that blows the lid off all the misconceptions around the word "Tantra" to uncover yoga's authentic roots. Nish's workshops always sell out, so save your spot for Beyond The Myths: Finding Truth in Today's Tantra. For the literary and philosophy nerds out there, you can peruse the partner blog Nish penned just for this special occasion, Unveiling the Divine Within.
  • Connect with the community and get a little creative with this month's Community Hike and Awesome Hours. Each will have opportunities to express how you feel through whatever medium most inspires you – and you know how much we love feelings. For example, when we hit the summit of this month's hike with Regina, we'll take in the natural beauty of Amir's Garden and write, doodle, or noodle on how this place makes us feel. RSVP for July's Community Hike HERE and check at each studio for posted Awesome Hour dates and times.
  • The most capital-C Creative happenings this month are happening right on the regular class schedule! We told the teachers to get creative, and they delivered what the community ordered in a special series of themed classes. Whether you're just being Miley or you're a certified Dancing Queen, you'll find opportunities to be inspired by the arts, media, and culture – okay, it's mostly music – every week this month! Check the schedule to sign up for the themed classes below and stay tuned to end-of-class announcement when teachers might be dropping details about more surprise themed classes!
    • LCD Soundsystem FLOW: 7/10 | 4:15PM | Echo Park | Led By Victoria
    • Miley SWEAT: 7/14 | 9:45AM | Echo Park | Led By Lani
    • ABBA SWEAT: 7/22 | 9:45AM | East Hollywood | Led By Cindy
    • Heartbreaker (Tom Petty) FLOW: 7/31 | 12:15PM | East Hollywood | Led By Elisa

 

We've curated uplifting, yet soothing tunes with inventive imagery to inspire your Yoga Nidra practice and unlock creativity. Although primarily used to promote relaxation, healthy sleep hygiene, and spiritual growth, a deeply meditative state will help unlock latent creativity through the receptivity we possess when relaxed and focused.

Listen to 'All You Nidra is Love' on Spotify >>

...and keep scrolling for basic instructions to get started with Yoga Nidra.

 

 

 

Lizard pose, on its own, is powerfully creative, focusing our attention in different directions to experience something new. It's also a common pose found in more creative sequences, especially as the starting point for other even more creative variations; there are at least 22 out there that we know of, like flying, twisted, and and bound Lizard. But let's start with the OG reptile, Utthan Pristhasana. Beyond releasing stored creativity energy, this pose also:

  • improves flexibility, balance, and stress reducation
  • opens hips, chest, and shoulders
  • strengthens leg muscles
  • promotes healthy circulation and digestion

Here's a quick guide to getting into Utthan Pristhasana:

  1. From plank, with palms spread wide, shoulders over the wrists, and legs extended behind you with knees and ankles at hips' width, you'll bring the right foot forward to rest outside the right hand at a 45° angle, keeping your right knee bent at a 90° angle and your right ankle and knee stacked.
  2. Inhale and bring your elbows to the floor with forearms flat on the mat, palms spread, and head neutral.
  3. Exhale and press into your left heel, so your legs and hips are actively engaged and not sagging toward the floor.
  4. Stay for 5 full breath cycles, place your right foot back to meet the left in plank, and repeat on the other side.

 

The most popular method of Yoga Nidra was developed by Swami Satyananada and begins in Savasana with optional props for comfort, like a blanket and bolster. Next, a body scan is a simple technique moving your attention from the toes to the crown of the head until you're in a state of relaxed alertness. After the scan, repeat a short, positive statement of resolve (Sankalpa) three times, revisiting the same phrase for each session. Next, rotate your consciousness between body parts and archetypal imagery, simply envisioning each in your mind's eye when you or the instructor indicates, continuing to be aware of the breath and whatever feelings come up. Allow the feelings to exist, then let them go, solidifying your resolve by repeating your Sankalpa three more times.

 

 


Kriyah Yoga is what yoga looks like IRL. We often think of the three components described in this sutra with a handy alliterative phrase: reflect, refine, release. In today's modern world, the idea of austerity and discipline can be daunting. Do I have time to study yoga with a sense of strict responsibility and even asceticism? Of course not! We don't live in remote temples in the Himalayas, so do what works for you! As they say, if the routine doesn't fit your life, change the routine, not your life.

Once you've become the kind of student only you can be, you'll endeavor to study or refine what you've learned through the Sutras and other ancient texts, like the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Not much of a reader? Our teachers provide philosophical context in every class, so you can learn a little about the tradition every time you join us on the mat! This component is also supported with regular self analysis, like journaling, ritual, or reading anything at all – except maybe TikTok posts. Finally, releasing to a higher power can be understood as that moment when the results don't matter to you. That whole "it's about the journey not the destination" mantra you may have seen on one-too-many $50 t-shirts. It's on all those shirts because it's a simple way to understand the wisdom of the higher self and purpose. For yogis, the meaning of life is in the learning and enjoying, not in the product, but yoga will probably help you get some cool creative products out of your brain, too!

 

Last but not least, let's get you thinking now about the journal prompt you'll receive during our Community Hike. It's just as important to reflect on how you feel wherever you are and not just in a beautiful garden in Griffith Park:

Write, doodle, or express in any medium necessary your feelings at this very moment, in this very place. That's it. Remember, it's about the journey ;)

 

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