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10 Yoga Poses To Spike Your Creative Juices

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.

Featured photo credit: Dr. Elaine via drelaine.com

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Saminu Abass

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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