By Naomi Keyte
I am always interested when I hear my friends or peers talking about ‘having a creative outlet’, as if it is something that is somehow slightly out of reach, separate to their direct experience of the world; it is something to work on, or work towards perhaps.
The idea that some people are creative, while others are not, does not sit well with me. I believe that as human beings we are innately creative. Creativity is a part of how we survive, adapt, problem solve, and communicate. To consciously respond to any situation is to be creative. Therefore simply LIVING is to be creative.
The way we choose to dress, how we arrange our physical spaces, how we prepare and present food, how we hold and move our bodies, how we dance, the language we choose to use, the choices we make and the way we touch. All these things are creative. They are creative not because they are beautiful or flamboyant, but because when we do them we are conscious. We are awake and responding to a moment in time. Even if we eat the same breakfast for a month or a year, the act could be creative because it is done with intention, purpose or playfulness each time.
I used to believe I was a ‘bad’ yoga practitioner because I’m not someone who is inclined to work with repetition; I don’t much care about perfecting one sequence of postures. I thought this spoke to my inability to be disciplined, my inability to push myself beyond discomfort. I felt anxious that I wasn’t good enough to be teaching because I wasn’t following all the rules – I don’t practice every day, I don’t practice in the morning, I don’t meditate often, I eat all kinds of food, I don’t look fit enough, the list goes on…
The way I see it now is I use my yoga practice in a creative way to support myself in my life. Sometimes I rest, sometimes I walk, or I go out to see music. Sometimes I practice for five minutes, other times I delve into a much longer practice. Sometimes I am gentle with myself and other times I physically challenge myself. What I always try to do is RESPOND. Respond to my body, to my environment, to what I need in any given moment. And how do I know what I need? I let go of expectations and listen. I feel. I am conscious of what is, rather than what was or what might be.
Creativity in Yoga
Our bodies, and the way we move, are completely unique to each of us. Our genes, cells, muscles, bones and lived experiences are like no one else’s. Thus, we often look quite different to anyone else in the yoga postures and it’s important to be aware of this when we practice yoga at a studio or in a group. When we remember that our practice is truly our own, it becomes clear that we actually don’t need anyone to tell us how we should look. We certainly don’t need someone to tell us how to feel, both in a yoga posture or in any circumstance! A yoga teacher is a guide, a facilitator to help us find a way to move. Teachers hold space for us to do the exploratory work. As a teacher myself, I encourage each student to listen to their own body and to trust its intelligence.
We can only live our own experience, and when we are awake and aware we are able to respond. When we respond it is unique and it is creative.
Naomi Keyte is a musician and a yoga facilitator from Adelaide, Australia. She believes that yoga is a practice of deep self-care and connection, an opportunity to simply be. For Naomi, both music and yoga are dynamic forms of meditation; an opportunity to move into a state.