Yoga for Creativity

Sometimes we all need a bit of help to get inspired and to reconnect with ourselves. And of course yoga can help!

Below are a few videos to help connect in with our centre and lower bellies, the areas of the body linked to our creativity and sense of self. These are lovely movements at any time, but especially useful if you’re feeling creatively blocked, uninspired, unmotivated or not quite at ease with who you are. You can do just one video, or all four, and take as long or as short as you like with any of them – all together they are just under 10 minutes, but feel free to take more time if you have it. I like these movements most just after I wake up (to bring movement into the spine), or if I’ve been working all day and need a little boost in the afternoon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what impact the videos have for you! Leave me a comment or find me on instagram: @laurenewilkie

 

Yoga vs Pilates

As someone who teaches both yoga and Pilates, I often get asked about the differences between the two. I’ve created a chart to help clear up some of the confusion! Let me know what you think in the comments or use #novemberPilates.

 

YOGA

 

PILATES
Thousands of years old

 

Less than 100 years old
Engages the pelvic floor and abdominals

 

Engages the pelvic floor and abdominals
Improves strength and flexibility

 

Improves strength and flexibility
Specific breathing pattern to assist with movement

 

Specific breathing pattern to assist with movement
Works big muscles groups

 

Focuses on smaller muscles
Includes a wide array of styles and activities and can be physical, mental or spiritual or a combination of all three – i.e. meditation, breathing exercises, chanting, singing, etc are all part of a yoga practice

 

Primarily a physical activity but does have a mental aspect through focus and use of breath
Many different styles and levels of intensity – huge variation from class to class, even within the same style of yoga

 

An amount of continuity and consistency from class to class
Practiced on a mat (can use props), bare feet

 

Practiced on a mat or reformer (can use props), bare feet or Pilates socks (with grip)
Moves from pose to pose and has an element of stillness – poses can either be held for a period of time or move fluidly from one to the next, like a dance

 

The same exercise or movement is repeated to strengthen or exhaust the muscles before moving to the next set of exercises
Shapes/poses can be made without engaging the correct muscles

 

Difficult to perform the movement correctly without engaging the correct muscles
Can be quite a strong practive and not always appropriate for those with injuries Can be an effective way to maintain strength and flexibility despite any injuries – can even help to rehabilitate when done correctly

A practice …

breathing-crop

 

This is one of my favourite meditations because of its simplicity, the fact that it can easily be done anywhere, and can be adapted to the amount of time available:

Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes.

Find your breath.

Notice the rise and fall of your chest and be aware of each inhale and exhale.

Stay like this for a few moments, noticing each inhale and exhale without changing or holding the breath, simply allowing it to go in and out of your lungs.

Notice the length of the breath – is it short, long, somewhere in between? Don’t change the breath as it is, simply observe and allow it to be what it is today.

Start to notice the quality of the air as it comes in, and notice the air as it goes out. What is the temperature of the breath? How does it feel as it passes through the nostrils, the throat and into the lungs? How does it feel in the other direction?

Stay with this practice, continuing to notice each inhale and exhale.

When thoughts arise, observe them, but keep bringing yourself back to the present moment of inhale and exhale, anchoring your mind to your breath.

Stay here for as long as you have, then gently open your eyes.

 

*Side note: notice the breath, but avoid adding judgements to your observation – short or long breath is not good or bad, it is simply a characteristic. If you start to attach judgement, notice the judgement and let it go (this is also part of the practice), with the option of saying to yourself “my breath is ___, and that is simply the way it is right now”.

 

How does this practice make you feel? Let me know in the comments or use #meditateoctober