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Thoughts from Vintage Yoga...

Creativity & Pleasure

This week we look at two more aspects of Svadhisthana chakra, pleasure and creativity. I think they go together; pleasure invites creativity and creativity brings pleasure.

Think about your life in general. The times when you experienced pleasure are probably times in your life when you also experienced inspiration and creativity (or perhaps vice versa). And if you were wise enough to indulge yourself, creativity probably brought you even more pleasure. It’s a beautiful circle!

For much of my life I proclaimed that I was not very creative. The problem was my “definition” of creativity was too narrow. When I thought of creativity, I would think of great artists or musicians, a narrative I picked up somewhere along the way. That thinking set the bar too high for me.

I remember that I liked to draw and color when I was a kid. As a school librarian, my favorite part of the job was “creating” eye catching bulletin boards that caused people to stop, look and admire. I used to joke that my dream job was to be a window decorator at Macy’s in NYC! Sometimes I even imagined myself living in that amazing city.

What stopped me was that narrow definition of creativity. I never considered myself creative because most of the time I would “borrow” ideas from books, magazines or the internet. Often, I would get inspired by something I saw and then take someone else’s idea and expand on it, not realizing that this was a form of creativity. But, many times, I simply copied someone else's idea. Because I rarely had any original ideas of my own, I did not consider myself creative.

Now my definition has expanded. I can see that the possibilities of creativity are truly endless. One of the most creative vocations I can think of is that of a parent. As a parent, you are constantly having to come up with ways to feed, love, teach, entertain, and even discipline your children. That takes a lot of creativity. Think about when you get that “right.” How much pleasure do you get from that?

Creativity is expressed when you decorate your home or offer a solution to a problem at work. Planning a birthday party or other social event requires creativity. Reading allows your imagination to take you places you might never get to go to or experience things you may not otherwise experience. Nearly any hobby you can imagine allows for some level of creativity and is an excellent way to express your creativity.

The importance of creativity is that it activates pleasure centers in the brain. Scientists once thought that creativity was primarily a function of the right side of the brain, while logic and reasoning were functions of the left side of the brain. We now know that creativity activates areas in the prefrontal cortex as well, which is the part of the brain associated with pleasure. It’s also the part of the brain where memory is stored, so think of creativity as a way to nourish your capacity to remember things.

Pleasure is important for happiness. I find myself wondering how our culture might benefit from adding more pleasure to their lives. I don’t mean the pleasure of downing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or binge watching the newest series on Netflix. That usually ends in feelings of guilt and regret.

I’m talking about doing the things that once gave you pleasure as a child or young adult. Dancing, playing baseball, swinging on the monkey bars? What about crocheting, tinkering with an old car in the garage, gardening, or making love (that’s a big one for activating the sacra chakra!)? Each of these activities offers the opportunity for pleasure and creativity.

Summing up the sacral chakra in this final week of Svadhisthana chakra, let us not forget about movement and change which are also aspects of this chakra.  Perhaps it is movement that inspires creativity which gives you pleasure and leads to an important change in your life. They’re all connected in a most interesting way and maintaining a healthy balance in the sacral chakra just might improve the flow of your life!

This week I will be sharing a special yoga sequence with postures designed to support the Svadhisthana or sacral chakra, so be sure to look for that.

With Love & Gratitude,

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