Mind, Soul

Why creativity matters and how to increase it ย 

This post is inspired by the wonderful book  “Big Magic” by Betty Dodson, who really opened my eyes about creativity. It is a life changing and witty book which I highly recommend to everyone, especially those who see themselves as not creative (as I did).
Many people think that they are not creative persons. Just because we don’t feel drawn to or posses a natural talent in the ‘real’ arts like writing or drawing, we label ourselves as uncreative. I have, of course, also thought about myself like that. For most of my life I told myself that I’m only an intellectual person. I liked history and science and somehow that meant that I could not be a creative person. Now that’s some stupid nonsense. But many of us fall into this trap.

The truth is that creativity is our human nature. Even when life was just a fight for survival, our ancestors somehow managed to find time for drawing pictures of animals into caves. 

We can’t be not creative. It’s simply not possible.

Everything we do is somehow creative. Gardening is creative. Dancing is creative. Baking is creative and so is literally everything that has some kind of ‘creation’. This creation doesn’t have to be special or even good, it can be utter crap as long as it comes from your heart.  

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world” ~ Brenรฉ Brown

As humans we have the innate need to share and express ourselves. That is why I believe that we don’t only like to be creative, we have to be creative if we want to stay healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Creativity is a gift that comes from I-don’t-know-where and it needs to be expressed. It comes from our hearts and our longing for wonder and excitement. It makes us feel joyful and brings us to the present moment, which creates a lot of positive energy.
Feeding our souls with this kind of energy is exactly what we need to be happy. So if you really want a fulfilled life, you better let your heart run the show and start creating. 
But what should I create !?

Just create anything. It really doesn’t matter what. You don’t even need to be passionate about it. Most of us have multiple passions or none, so don’t worry too much about it. Just do what sparks your interest. That is enough. Some examples are:

  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Knitting
  • Painting
  • Story writing 
  • Blogging
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Making music
  • Decorating your house 
  • Collecting Post-Stamps
  • Making Videos 
  • Taking Pictures

The list goes on and on and on and on. There is something for you out there. Just try anything that you might like.

๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ

โญ๏ธ If you still feel uncreative and or/ unsure about what you want to do here are some tips to increase your creativity and follow your heart:
First of all you need to forget all those fears that are holding you back! They are nonsense and I’ll tell you why: 

  • I’m worried im not good enough/ not satisfied with the result.

Who cares, it’s not about that! It’s simply about doing something that you love for the sake of it! It’s just a game and the purpose is enjoyment, nothing else. If you create something beautiful in the process that’s great, but if you don’t that’s also great because the benefit comes from doing something and not from the result.

  • I don’t have talents/ no inspiration.

Bullshit ! I’m sorry (no I’m not) for saying it so bluntly but it’s true. I strongly believe that everyone has something to share. Even if you like building sculptures out of old milk bottles. It’s all good, as long as it’s fun. Just do anything that you are interested in. Even if it’s only a teeny tiny bit. Just see if there’s something you like and go for it. And if that’s not the right thing, drop it and try something else. Try everything. This whole world is abundant and you can choose to do everything you want. The world really is your playground.

  • I’m afraid of what other people think of me/my work.

Two things: Everything is completely subjective. Some people praise something that other people find absolutely shitty and vice versa. So someone is always going to critizise you. Even if you don’t do anything, so you might as well just follow your heart.

And second: Nobody thinks about you anyway! It’s a harsh truth, but it’s true. People are way to busy thinking about themselves. It may sound mean but in reality it’s wonderful! It means that you are completely free to do whatever you want with out needing to worry about the opinions of other people.

Still, I understand it’s not easy to get rid of this habit. So if you need more help and want to know how to stop caring what other people think about you, read this post.

  • I’m worried that I will fail

Don’t worry. You will fail, many times. And the only which will get wounded is your ego, which is really no big deal. It just feels uncomfortable, but if you put it into perspective is not a thing to fear. You gain way more than you lose, even if you fail. At least you gain experience and knowledge but most importantly you feed your soul when you exercise your creativity. So forgive yourself and move on. The next thing is already waiting for you.

If you have the courage to face your fears and start the creative process congratulations! It’s going to be a lot of fun. 

โญ๏ธ Here are some more tips to help you along the way: 

  • Discipline matters

To get good at something it is important to practice it and devote time to it. If you love a craft, show your craft that you love it by doing just that. Again and again. And it will love you back.

  •  Forget about perfection

You can’t attain it anyway. Perfection is impossible, because everything is subjective and perfectionistic standards are unattainable. The only thing that perfectionism will do is leave you feel insecure and unworthy which is dangerous for your creativity. So drop it and express everything you want with out feeling the need to make it perfect. 

  • Try out different ways of creativity

Even if your the worst at it, just do something else than you would normally do. Simply because it’s fun. It can be anything, from gardening to inventing stories, to singing a song, anything that sparks your interest. It will definitely increase your creativity and you will have fun in the process. 

  • Take care of yourself

You’re way more likely to be inspired and creative if you feel confident and beautiful. So practice self love and put on that dress which makes you feel invinsible. It will make all the difference, trust me. If you want more tips on how to love yourself and care for yourself more, head over to this post.

And always remember: The outcome does not matter. It never did. The only important thing is that you enjoy the process. Period.  
Like Betty Dodson, the author of “Eat Pray Love” puts it: “What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant? What do you love even more than you love your own ego?”.
Go ahead and do that. And your life will be a zillion times more magical, fun and fulfilling.

Creativity is sacred and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise-you can make anything.

So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?

The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.” ~Betty Dodson

What is your favorite way to express creativity?

Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

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yoga

Why you should start a yoga self practice and how to do it

Against the common belief, we don’t have to take yoga classes to practice yoga. While it’s  helpful to take classes guided by a teacher in the beginning, it is actually far more effective to also practice on your own. 

When you have already learned some yoga poses and techniques, you can easily practice them at home too (Just be careful to not hurt yourself in the process okay?). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to yoga classes at all anymore, no, Yoga classes are a wonderful way to learn and to connect and definitely worth visiting, but in my opinion self practice just gets yoga to a completely different level.
There are many advantages to self practice and these are the most important ones:

  • You can do it everywhere

As you don’t need a teacher for your self practice you can easily do it at home, outside in the garden or in your office chair. You don’t even need a lot of space. Just the space of your mat is enough (even though you have to be aware of the surrounding objects so that you don’t hurt yourself, of course). Alternatively, you can also be creative and do little flows on your bed or using the wall as a prop. Try out different things and you’ll have a lot of fun. 

  • It’s good for the busy ones amongst us 

As you don’t need to drive to a studio or visit a teacher, you safe a lot of time. In addition to that you can vary the length of your practice to just what you feel like or have the time for. Some days I will do practice for hours, staying in stretches for what feels like a thousand breaths, other times I just do some 10 minutes of sun salutations and stretches. It all depends on how I feel.

  • Your practice is directly suited for you

In a class you have to go along with the instructions of a teacher, in your practice you just listen to yourself. That means you can work on exactly those areas that you would like to work on, stay in the asanas as long as you like and go with your own pace. All of this is immensely beneficial for your wellbeing and can be a lot of fun because you can do whatever you like. Furthermore you really learn to listen to your body and to respect how you feel.

  • It saves money

Let’s admit it yoga can be expensive. While it’s recommended to start out with a teacher so that you protect yourself from injuries, it’s definitely less expensive to just do it on your own.

  • It’s just fun!

As I already said, you can do whatever you want. Want to make it more of a dance-party-style flow with your favorite music on? Do it! Want to stay in that hip-opener for an hour? Okay! (Just be careful please.) You can really do everything because your self practice belongs to you and only you.

In the begging it may feel awkward to stand on your mat completely without the guidance of your teacher, so here are some tips to help you through that first confusion:

     1. Start with warming up your joints

Do some joint movements, roll out your neck, do some cat and cow movements, just free up every joint that you are going to use during the practice.
    2. Warm-up your body with a flow

Do some sun salutations or similar flows to get your body moving and increase the heart rate. It is really important to be properly warmed up before attempting more difficult poses as you risk injury if you just hop into them. 
    3. Include stretching as well as.       strengthening poses

Yoga is all about creating balance so you have to work your body in all areas. Naturally we tend to do more of what’s easier for us but to really get all the benefit it is important challenge ourselves and balance our body. That’s of course easier said than done and I also fall into that trap a lot (That’s why after 3 years of Yoga I can easily drop into a split without being warmed up but still can’t do a proper chaduranga. It’s just human.).

 

   4.Be creative

You don’t have to go along the beaten path. You can just make up your own rhythm and style. It is up to you. I for example love to do really fluid, kind of dance inspired flows that just feel good.


    5. Challenge yourself (but be careful)

In self practice it’s all about evolving your Yoga practice. So of course we need to challenge ourselves. Maybe you should set yourself a goal for that special pose you want to learn? Or maybe you want to try a completely ne one? You can do it! Just make sure that you don’t overdue it, too much ambition can easily result in injury. 
  

  6. Always end with shavasana

Always, always,always finish off your practice with shavasana. Even though just like on the floor may seem unproductive, it’s really the most important asana. In this pose you calm your body down and give it a chance to really absorb the benefit of all the wonderful things you just did. So relax and take this time to be grateful for having shown up for your practice today 


Bonus feature: Include some breathing exercises and meditation at the beggining or end of your practice.
Even if you don’t meditate, just try it out. It will enhance the benefit of your practice, will leave you calmer and more centered.

โ—๏ธAnd most importantly: Stay aware during your practice and focus on your breath to move according to it.            

This is the most essential part of your yoga practice. Awareness of the breath will make  you feel relaxed, refreshed and with more mental clarity. In this way you get the most out of your practice and earn all the wonderful benefits yoga offers.

If you stay consistent with your practice I promise you will see great changes in your body and mind. It’s an easy, fun and cheap way to grow and evolve your practice. So why don’t you just try it out now?

Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

Body, Soul

How to find out which style of Yoga fits to you

Right now there are a  zillion different styles of Yoga, most of them with funny names and undefinable meanings. Because of the sheer number of them it’s easy to get confused about which style would fit to you.

If  you want to find out your perfect style you have to find out what exactly it is you want to gain from your Yoga practice first.Try getting clear about the following questions before you read the guide:

Do you want an intense workout or do you just want to relax?

Do you want to calm your mind and relief stress or is it more important for you to build strength and flexibility?
While most Yoga practices give you all of these benefits, some target the strength and flexibility aspect more, while others focus more on relaxtion, so it is important to know what you’re up to.

If you are clear about what you want and want to find out which Yoga style is best for you, read this explanatory guide on the most popular styles of Yoga. 

  • Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is “the original Yoga” and very ancient. It describes all the asanas (poses) out which the new styles teached in the west are made of. Although in this way most Yoga styles are Hatha Yoga styles, there are also specific Hatha Yoga classes.
In Hatha Yoga we perform different asanas, suited to the student. The poses are hold for some time while focusing on the breath, before we release and adopt another posture. Because there is no specific sequence to be followed, Hatha Yoga classes are never the same and can target completely different objectives. 

๐Ÿ‘ The main focus of Hatha is always to strengthen and stretch the body in order to achieve the best state of health possible while balancing mind and body. Therefore, Hatha Yoga is beneficial for everyone.  

You simply have to try out different classes because depending on the teacher, it can be too easy for some and too strenuous for others. That’s why I recommend trying out different teachers before you commit to one class.

  • Ashtanga

Ashtanga Yoga is a style that was popularized by Pattahbi Jois (search for his teachings on YouTube, they are amazing) in the 70s, but relies on an ancient system. It contains 7 complete Yoga sequences in which the asanas (poses) are linked by vinyasas, meaning that you flow from one pose into the other, which makes it more intense. Ashtanga Yoga is a difficult practice, containing many difficult asanas, but it is really nice to see how you evolve trough this practice because the sequence stays the same and you follow it strictly. This means that you practice the same flow every time which leads to fast progress. 

๐Ÿ‘ Ashtanga Yoga is perfect for you if you want an intense workout and like strict guidance. It’s good for the ambitious Yogis, who like to make progress and be able to see where they are on their Yoga journey. Because it’s so repetitious, it can also relief stress and calm your busy mind.

๐Ÿ‘Ž I would not recommend Ashtanga to those who just want to relax, as it is very physically demanding.

  • Power Yoga

Just as Hot Yoga is the “westernized” form of Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga is actually a less strict form of Ashtanga Yoga. Benefits and contraindications are the same, but the sequence and asanas are different and it is not that strict.

  • Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhry about 30 Years ago and is one of the most popular Yoga styles right now. During Bigram Yoga, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises) and 26 asanas are performed in a specific order. All of this happens in a room heated to 40 degree Celsius, which will have all parts of your body dripping with sweat. Literally, all parts. (Did you now that the inside of your ears could sweat?!)

These are the different Bikram Yoga poses :

๐Ÿ‘ Due to the heat Bikram Yoga increases your flexibility immensely and prevents stretch-related injuries. It is also very good for detoxing and losing weight, as you sweat everything out. Heat is also proven to have a calming and stress relieving effect, which makes Bikram Yoga a good choice if you want to rebalance yourself.

๐Ÿ‘Ž It is not recommended to try Bikram if you have any illness that will make you faint due to heat, or if you are just in general too sensitive to sustain physical movement in a hot environment.

  • Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is actually very similar to Bikram Yoga, they just don’t stick to the sequence developed by Bikram himself, so they had to invent a new name but the benefits stay the same.

  • Vinyasa 

Vinyasa Yoga  or Vinyasa Flow Yoga is all about movement. In Vinyasa, you link all postures fluidly together with the breath so that you achieve a flow during the whole practice. 

๐Ÿ‘ The flowing movement is amazing to restore balance between mind and body and really get you into a meditative space. Thereby, it is a great practice to relief stress and relax.

Furthermore, the constant movement makes Vinyasa Yoga a good workout which strengthens every part of the body, a good cardio workout and provides a good stretch.

Because Vinyasa Yoga can be practiced in so many ways it is suitable to everyone.

  • Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is also called restorative Yoga. In Yin we hold the different poses for a long time, mostly between 2-5 minutes. In this time we focus on “breathing into the stretch and letting go.
๐Ÿ‘ Because we hold the asanas for so long, Yin Yoga is an amazing practice to build flexibility. Furthermore, it is extremely calming and helps with all kinds of stress related problems. In addition to that the deep stretch can help to release stuck emotions, as they are stored in tight parts of the body, as for example in the hips. Therefore, it’s the best practice to go for if you want deep relaxation.

๐Ÿ‘Ž As you see Yin Yoga is very calm and thus not suitable for those who want an intense workout.

There are far more styles than those that I have listed here, but they all provide wonderful benefits for your whole being. I invite you to try out different classes and see which style you like most. You don’t even have to stick to one style, you can switch and change your practice as you like. In the end the most important thing is that you enjoy it and have fun! So start practicing and see what wonders Yoga can do for you!

What is you favorite style of Yoga? Do you like to visit classes or do you prefer to practice on your own? Let me know!
Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ