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10 Yoga Poses To Spike Your Creative Juices

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10 Yoga Poses To Spike Your Creative Juices

From the Vinyasa Flow to Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga to Hatha Yoga, there are many styles of yoga practices to channel the energies of the body and harmonize your senses. Yoga is a means to happy and healthy living. Yoga poses from simple asana poses, like Pranayama (the Lotus Pose), to complicated ones, like Sarvangasana and Trikonasana, there are many difference styles of yoga that can all give you internal and external health benefits.

Yoga is just about as effective for mental health problems as it is for physical disorders and diseases. Every disease or condition under the sun has a cure with the help of regular yoga practices, including hypertension, back pain, depression, anxiety, and even cancer. Yoga can increase hemoglobin levels that improve blood flow and the oxygenation of the body.

Through practice, you can decrease your resting heart rate and raise stamina levels. Yoga nurtures your body, heals your mind, and nourishes your soul. Given the mind-body connection, it is not surprising that yoga offers multiple benefits for its practitioners.

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Bharadvajasana

Ideal for stretching the hips, shoulders, and spine, Bharadvajasana is one of the twisting poses that comes with mental benefits while delivering physical impact to the body.

Mental Benefits:

  • Focuses on balancing the mind.
  • Spinal mobility brings mental comfort.
  • Twisting helps release tension in the back, shoulders, and chest, dispelling anxiety.
  • Balanced emotions lead to richer imagination and more scope for creative thinking.

Other Advantages

  • Increases blood flow to the digestive organs.
  • Massages the abdominal organs.
  • Lowers stress and enhances digestion
  • Strengthens the lower back, making it excellent for women in their second trimester of pregnancy
  • Serves to alleviate pain and stiffness felt in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Vajrasana

Varjrasana is one of the more calming poses and leads to feelings of relaxation. This asana is also called the Rock Pose because it stabilizes the body and cultivates an inner sense of patience. The pose requires sitting on the heels of the feet, which permits the body to keep its spine straight. Other names for Vajrasana include Diamond Pose, Thunderbolt Pose, Pelvic Pose, Kneeling Pose, and the Adamantine Pose.

Mental Benefits:

  • Calms the mind.
  • Relaxes the senses.
  • Opens the mind for innovative thinking.

Other Advantages:

  • Helps in digestion and prevents hips from becoming heavy.
  • Relieves constipation and fights gastric troubles.
  • Improves blood circulation in the body.
  • Helps with weight loss.
  • Cures urinary incontinence.
  • Combats acid reflux.
  • Tones and shapes the muscles of the body, such as the hips, thighs, and calf muscles.

Dhanurasana

Derived from the Sanskrit word Dhanur which means “bow” and asana which means “seat”, the Bow Pose captures the benefits of Cobra and Locust poses. It has benefits of two yoga asanas combined into one.

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Mental Benefits:

  • Helps to energize the body.
  • Enables the mind to become activated
  • Lowers stress.
  • Shakes off lethargy, breathing in creativity and new ideas.

Other Advantages:

  • Improves the functioning of internal organs such as the liver, small and large intestine and pancreas.
  • Strengthens the ankles, chest, thighs, groin, spinal column, and abdominal organs.
  • Relieves asthmatic symptoms.
  • Stimulates the reproductive organs.
  • Overcomes lethargy, working directly on the solar plexus in the naval region, energizing the chakras.
  • Tones the body and cleanses the blood.

Sarvangasana

Sarva means “entire,” Ang means “body,” and asana means “posture.” This is known as the Queen or Mother of all asanas because it energizes every part of the human body and stimulates it. Sarvangasana is a complicated pose to perform, but its benefits are just as diverse and intricate.

Mental Benefits:

  • Stretches the nervous system and activates the chakras of the body opening the imagination by energizing the mind.
  • Calms the brain and the nervous system, relieving stress and tension.
  • Opens the mind to positive influences.

Other Advantages:

  • Stimulates the thyroid gland as well as the pituitary and adrenal glands.
  • Does away with constipation, headache, indigestion, and stomach pain.
  • Stabilizes the blood pressure and improves the heart rate.
  • Ear, nose and throat disorders can be combated through this asana.
  • Treats insomnia and provides vigor and strength to the body.

Tadasana

Tada means “mountain” or “palm tree.” Consequently, this is known as the Mountain or Palm Tree Pose. Tadasana is one of the subtle poses that stimulates and adds fire the creative imagination.

Mental Benefits:

  • This asana expels dullness and lethargy.
  • Staves off depression.
  • Harmonizes the body and the mind.
  • Increases energy and enthusiasm.

Other Advantages:

  • Improves posture.
  • Strengthens thighs, ankles and knees.
  • Steadies the respiratory system and improves awareness.
  • Removes sciatica and develops strength and flexibility in the spine
  • Staves off menstruation problems.
  • Combats issues from flat feet.

Surya Namaskar

This is the beginning of any yoga routine. It is a salute to the Sun God. This asana is made for connecting to God and the Divine early in the morning. This is a series of asanas a part of the Hatha Yoga.

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Mental Benefits:

  • Freedom from stress.
  • Greater clarity and imagination.
  • Alertness and mental strength.

Other Advantages:

  • Aligns the body.
  • Stimulates the different organs and internally massages them.
  • Build the core and shoulder strength.

Balaasana

This is the Child’s pose. Simple and elegant, it calms and soothes the mind. This pose also loosens constricted limbs.

Mental Benefits:

  • Encourages child-like creativity and imagination.
  • Opens the mind to new thoughts and ideas.

Other Advantages:

  • Helps develop strong thighs, ankles, and hips.
  • Helps to overcome stress and enhances blood circulation.
  • Reduces back pain.

Bridge Pose

This is one of the most challenging, yet uplifting poses.

Mental Benefits:

  • Alleviates stress and depression.
  • Stabilizes emotions and fires up creativity.

Other Advantages:

  • Stimulates the inner organs, such as the lungs and thyroid
  • Opens up the chest and strengthens the legs

Shavaasana

This is also known as the Corpse Pose. Shavaasana ends all yoga routines. It improves meditation and enhances positive visual imagery.

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Mental Benefits:

  • Boosts mental health.
  • Eases the body and relaxes the limbs.
  • Allows free flow of ideas and prevents a creative block.

Other Advantages:

  • Curbs indigestion, constipation, diabetes, and asthma.
  • Improves concentration and mental health while relaxing the body.
  • Stimulates the blood flow

Warrior Pose

Warrior Pose has three variations and each of them have mental and physical benefits.

Warrior I

Mental Benefits:

  • Boosts body awareness, strengthens body-mind awareness.
  • Improves perceptual skills.
  • Great for opening the heart and developing courage.

Other Advantages:

  • Strengthens the limbs and glutes, building core power.
  • Opens the chest and facilitates internal rotation of the leg.

Warrior II & III

Mental Benefits:

  • Dissolves excess tension and provides stability and integrity.
  • Emotional balance and stability are promoted.

Other Advantages:

  • Exercises every muscle in the body.
  • Massages the internal organs of the body.

Yoga is a path to the light, but it is also a means of harnessing the creative power of imagination. The mind undergoes changes that impact the senses and harmonize and balance the soul, which in turn allows you to manifest creative capabilities.

These yoga asanas can help you make a movement towards the divine fire of all imagination possible. It also makes a way to open the door to good mental and physical health. Use yoga to let go of stress and heal the mind from within. Your body and creative mind will thank you for it.

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Featured photo credit: Dr. Elaine via drelaine.com

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Saminu Abass

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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