Yoga is fun and rewarding. The benefits the exercise has on well-being and health is highly-documented, but there are few lesser known perks as well. More flexibility (not just in your body, but in how you live your life), a centered mind, and even boosted creativity. That last one is our topic for today: how yoga can make your creativity flourish.

Part of the reason many practice yoga is to center their minds. To many practitioners, yoga is often considered a form of meditation, and this is a common and attainable goal. However, as inner emotions are brought into balance and the mind is cleared, it makes it so creativity isn’t “bottled up.” When the brain isn’t under stress or constant pressure, it promotes innovative thoughts and overall focus. The breathing exercises associated with yoga also help in this regard.

Furthermore, yoga enhances the body’s chakra system, or specific centers of energy and life force. When the chakra system is opened and in line, the body responds by being more productive and healthier overall. With the body and mind at ease, the creative thoughts that occur naturally aren’t blocked out by other distractions or tasks to complete. It’s the same basic principle as to why creative thoughts strike as you’re about to go to sleep- your body and mind are at peace, so creativity can reign supreme.

Some also believe that yoga brings us more in-line with our “authentic selves.” In daily life, we put on personas for work and friends and even our home lives. While these personas may have reflections of our true selves, they are not who we are on the inside. Yoga allows us to reconnect with our true identities, and in turn our natural creativity. When one doesn’t have to pretend to be someone they’re not, they can spend that energy imagining anything else in the world.

On the scientific side of things, yoga is proven to change the structure of the brain. Meditation increases frontal cortex activity, which has been linked to focus, calm, and concentration. With enough practice, it can even largen that area of the brain. Breathing practices associated with yoga can also increase alpha brain waves with bolster creativity. In a 2012 study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, MRI scans proved that long-term meditators show higher levels of gyrification (the folding of the cerebral cortex linked with faster information processing and brain effectiveness). Even short-term meditators had early signs of gyrification.

Perhaps the greatest benefit is to those burnt out creatively. Working too long or hard at one project can leave a person even more stressed that when they started. Through yoga, we can reattune ourselves to the emotions that inspired us in the first place. We can unwind from the physical stresses work can put on us. This is especially true if the creative practice involves repetitive motions or physical activity. Even if it’s a mostly stationary job, moving your body even a bit can release some tension built up.

If you’re thinking of using yoga to bring creativity back into your life, rest easy. While there are classes you could take and special clothes and equipment available, all you really need is yourself and a nice, clean place to meditate. Plenty of guides and video tutorials exist online if you’d like to try some of the more complex moves, or you could simply stretch. What is important is finding the right balance of activity and relaxation that works for you. Once you find your own personal balance with yoga, you can find that same balance inside yourself- and maybe, just maybe, it’ll bleed into your work as well.

Follow our World of Inspiration and release the creator in you!