Unfurling the creator within… a series on yoga and creativity – part 2

Sep 17, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, Yoga  //  No Comments

I routinely explore my creative side through knitting, cooking, photography, and my class sequencing.

“One can be creative all the time. Creativity is usually associated with all the things that we do in any time of the day. Most of the things and almost all events can involve creativity. From cooking to dressing up involves creativity. Being creative tends to be shown when opportunities come or when the situation calls for it most especially when it is a project requirement or activities that need a touch of creative sense.”

I started my exploration of creativity by exploring the definition of creativity, what it means to be creative, and the attributes of the creative mind. I found a variety of studies and academic synthesis papers on the topic, but started by checking out the dictionary. As I explored, it was a lot of information to take in.

What are creativity, the creative, and the attributes of the creative mind and body?

Dictionary.com defines creativity as “(1) the state or quality of being creative; (2) the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.; and (3) the process by which one utilizes creative ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.”  Creativity has also been defined in studies about creative accomplishments as “an accomplishment that is ‘both novel and useful’.” An operational definition of creativity is “to produce or bring into existence something new by a course of action or behavior.”  Other researchers have defined creativity as “the capacity to general novel, socially valued products and ideas, or as the ability to produce work that is both novel and appropriate.”

These definitions are very broad, but all very similar. These definitions allow for the expansion of the thought of creativity beyond an artistic endeavor, which is often what one thinks about when hearing creative. The definitions allow for considering creativity to be the “thinking outside the box” moments in an office environment, leisure activities, like cooking or decorating, or academic activities, such as making presentations. They suggest that creativity is all around us; a part of our daily lives and being able to tap into it could enhance an individual’s life on a variety of levels.

One study noted that there are ten dimensions of a creative personality. These are:

1)    Great deal of physical energy,

2)    Being smart yet naïve,

3)    Combination of playfulness and discipline,

4)    Alternate between imagination and fantasy and a rooted sense of reality,

5)    Harbor introvertness and extrovertness,

6)    Remarkably humble and proud,

7)    Ability to escape the rigid gender role stereotyping,

8)    Traditionalist,

9)    Very passionate about their work yet they can extremely be objective about their work, and

10) Exposure to suffering and pain with a great deal of enjoyment.

These ten dimensions provide a good summary of the characteristics of the creative. Similar to the definition of creativity, these dimensions are broad and can encompass many types of individuals. Another study noted that creative people often have some or all of these traits: “broad interests, independent judgment, autonomy, self-confidence, intuition, ability to resolve paradoxes or accommodate opposite trains of thought in one’s self-concept, a strong sense of the self as creative, high tolerance of ambiguity, and willingness to grow.”

The question then becomes, if this is what creativity is, what are the attributes of a creative body and mind. Stopping for a moment to pay attention to what happens when an idea takes shape you might notice that in the exact moment that the idea is forming your mind feels relaxed and spacious. The creative impulse likely strikes when there is breathing room in the mind. This is the key point in defining what a creative mind is. A creative mind is often relaxed and spacious.

Although a relaxed and spacious mind is often the breeding ground for creative impulses, creativity may also strike when a person is in a variety of emotional states, ranging from lighter, happier moods to states of depression and sadness. In a state of sadness or depression, one might create artwork or literature that is darker, reflecting the emotions at the time the piece was developed.

An individual might seek to manifest an atmosphere that facilitates moving in and out of some of a variety of emotional states to achieve different outcomes. The practice of yoga can often bring an individual into those emotional spaces, often bringing up a variety of emotions and life experiences. And that is often noted to bring about the relaxed and spacious feeling.

Looking beyond the creative mind, creative people often are open to new experiences. As many participants in a non-statistical survey I conducted noted, being creative has opened them up to taking risks or taking on new challenges and exploring. Exploring this side of the Self has made them more confident and willing to give things a try. Whether someone considers himself or herself to be a “creative person” isn’t what determines if he or she is creative; it is whether he or she has ingenuity to think beyond the current situation, the confidence to take risks/chances, the willingness to be different, and the perseverance to try again that defines a creative person.

Next time

I’ll explore the similarities of the creative mind and the body after yoga, the benefits of being creative and the benefits of yoga.

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Resources

Magno, Carlo. Explaining the Creative Mind, The International Journal of Research and Review, Vol. 3, pp. 10-19 (September 2009).

Solomon, Miriam. Standpoint and Creativity, Symposium on Standpoint Theory, pp. 226-237 (2010).

Allmara, Angela R. and Ferraro, F. Richard. Creativity in Individuals At-Risk or Not At-Risk for Eating Disorders, Psychology Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2., pp. 51-54 (2010).

Horan, Roy. The Neuropsychological Connection Between Creativity and Meditation, Creativity Research Journal, 21(2-3), pp. 199-222 (2009).

Kenny, Robert M. The Whole is Greater: Reflective Practice, Human Development and Fields of Consciousness and Collaborative Creativity, Worl Futures, 64, pp. 590-630 (2008).

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About Lisa

Auntie to two adorable little boys and a beautiful little girl. Sister. Friend. Yogini. Yoga teacher. Accountant. Knitter. Amateur photographer. Very amateur golfer.

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