Browsing articles in "creativity"

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).

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Sep 14, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

my yoga knee socks/leg warmers

Christine’s were this pretty pink

A couple weeks ago, I posted about yoga knee socks/leg warmers that I was making my friend Christine. After finishing hers and absolutely loving them, I decided that I needed a pair and made them for myself. I made mine in a gray/purple and I absolutely love them.

I used a diamond lace pattern that I found on ravelry.com and created my own pattern to get the right fit on the knee socks/leg warmers. Last Christmas, I made my first pair of yoga socks and I can say that I feel like I’ve evolved more than a bit with these. I worked increases up the back, above the ankle, that enabled me to wrap the lace all around the calf and get a nice fit.

 

see the lace pattern wrapping around the calf… a few more repeats and I would have a pair of thigh highs… hmmm…

About four more repeats of the lace pattern would have given me a pair of thigh highs. (it is entirely possible I may have a pair of diamond (or some other lace) thigh highs come the winter, since I love these so much.) I have recognized that I need to sew some elastic thread into the ribbing at the knee, since it stretches out quickly and in the next ones that I make, I’ll be doing more decreases around the top.

close up of the lace pattern

I wore these last weekend over some black leggings and I’m hoping to have them ready to wear this Saturday during some yoga training that I’m attending.

I have several pairs of these on my gift list, and with some more tweaks to the design, they will make great gifts. I have a few other projects in my cue to wrap up before I get to make another pair of these though. There are some arm warmers, a scarf, and at least one hat that I’m targeting finishing before I get back to these though.

I’ve been enjoying learning new knitting techniques and working on these and the other projects in my cue. Updates on those will come in the next few weeks. Knitting is one of the ways I like to express my creativity. It’s my creative playtime. And I can’t wait to have more time to work on those in process projects this weekend.

How do you express your creativity? When was the last time you had creative playtime?

Unfurling the creator within… a series on yoga and creativity – part 1

Aug 29, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, Yoga  //  No Comments

the final handouts

“Yoga opens up the flow of creativity, the unfurling of the creator within.” (yogajournal.com)

Over the last twelve months, I’ve been pursuing my 500-hour yoga teaching certification. The capstone to the training is writing and presenting our yoga thesis. Over the last few months, I worked to research my topic, write my paper, develop my workshop, and pull together my handouts.

I chose to explore the connection between yoga and creativity because in my own life, I have seen an incredible connection between yoga and creativity. Yoga has helped me to find the space to be in the present, to take risks, to relax and let go, and most importantly, to find clarity. My creative pursuits, specifically knitting and photography, also keep me in the present, help me to relax and let go, and bring clarity to my mind. I felt that it was inevitable for me to find out more about the connection between yoga and creativity, as I have found it to be profound. Yoga has created the conditions in my body to foster and enhance creativity. Pursuing my creative interests has helped lengthen the duration of the benefits my yoga practice brings me (being in the present moment, relaxing and letting go, and clearing my mind). It’s a never-ending circle.

the assembly line for creating my workshop handouts

This new series will explore the connection between yoga and creativity, providing insights from my research and paper. I’ll also explore ways that yoga can help us tap into our creativity by releasing energy blockages within the body and provide resources to help you explore the topic further. I hope you’ll join me on this exploration of the connection between yoga and creativity.

As the exploration begins, a few questions to ponder…

Has yoga inspired your creativity? How?

What benefits do you feel like you get from allowing your creative side to flourish?

What are your favorite ways to express your creative side on and off the mat?

Next time… creativity defined, what it means to be creative, and the attributes of a creative mind.

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Aug 27, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, self-care  //  No Comments

my ravellenics project – triangle shawl

This month has been incredibly busy, but I haven’t been at a loss for knitting projects. I’ve spent a lot of time knitting. The month kicked off with a knitting get together during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 summer Olympic games, where I started the colorful triangle shawl to the left. My friend Eve invited members of her local knitting group to watch the opening ceremonies and kick-off the ravellenic games – knitters and crocheters starting projects that would be finished by the completion of the closing ceremonies.

Knitting during the opening ceremony of the 2012 summer Olympic games

 

 

 

I had such a great time hanging out, knitting with these ladies. Many of which had begun an intricate lace shawl – the Rock Island. It’s a gorgeous triangle shawl, but a little too complex for me at this point. So I made another basic triangle shawl, that’s simple yet pretty (and when I wore it to work, quite warm). Many of the knitters finished their projects.

Eve in her completed Rock Island Shawl

 

 

I finished mine too and wore it to work that week.

my completed triangle shawl.

 

This shawl is an extremely basic lace pattern, which has driven me to begin to work with more complicated patterns (yet still simple). My next project is a little more complicated, but still a relatively simple pattern.

the start of diamond lace yoga knee socks

 

 

My friend Christine  and her husband are moving. Christine and I did our yoga teacher training together and connected over yoga and accounting. I’m in the midst of working on a pair of diamond lace yoga knee socks for her (22 rows and a seam left to finish the pair) and immediately when they are finished, I will be making a pair for myself, I’m loving them so much. (I’ll post more about this pattern, once I finish my pair.)

It’s been a busy month and as I start moving into gift making season, there will be lots more activity in this knitting corner. I love my knitting creative playtime and am excited to find more time for it.

What projects are you working on these days?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jul 30, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, self-care  //  No Comments

Splendid Triangle Shawl - I like the lacy pattern, plus it's much simpler to make than it looks.

I’ve been quite busy with my sticks since I last posted. Knitting has been a productive and relaxing distraction from lots of things that I need to get done. I’m branching out in what I’m making, as I start to use my rather large yarn stash and begin to plan for holiday gift-making.

 

 

 

I finished another pair of baby booties, that I sent off to a friend for her son that will be born on Monday,and a triangle shawl that I gave to a close friend.

 

 

Splendid Triangle Shawl - pattern free from Lion Brand

I started a second shawl (pics to come next week) and designed the pattern for my friend Valerie‘s arm warmers.

 

Valerie's arm warmers... triple cable pattern with a reverse stockinette

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend was full of knitting with friends. In the upcoming week, I’ll share more about those creative evenings.

Are you working on any projects lately? When was your last opportunity for creative play?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jul 8, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, self-care  //  No Comments

Now that one big project is done and successfully mailed, I have been having fun with some small projects, before I get back to work on the two other big projects that I have in process. With a visit to meet my friend Liz’s 3 month-old daughter on the horizon, I decided I would make an attempt at making baby booties. I searched for a while through many patterns and although I found several that I liked, there were a couple that I decided to try.

the completed pair

The first pair was this cute pattern that look like slippers. I modified the pattern slightly by using a thicker yarn and larger needles. It calls for a DK weight yarn and size 5 needles. I used Caron Simply Soft in lavender blue and size 6 needles. As a result, the finished pair came out a little bigger than newborn size, probably closer to 12-18 months size. I loved using this yarn though, because the booties are a little stiffer and hold their shape really well.

before these were seamed

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern was really simple, knitted flat and then seamed to achieve the cute final shape. I love them so much that I’m hoping to play with the pattern a little and see if I can translate it into a pattern for adults. We’ll see how that goes later this summer.

the finished product

 

the first of the pair, before I found the ribbon for the little bows

After I finished this first pair, which went incredibly fast, I attempted the second pattern that I found. I really liked the first pattern, but I feel like they are a little bit feminine and I wanted to find a go-to pattern that I was more comfortable giving to little girls and boys.

This was another pattern that’s knit flat and then seamed. I used Patons Stretch Socks yarn in Carmel Cream Stripes and size 4 knitting needles. The pattern called for size 1 knitting needles and a fingering weight sock yarn.

the soles of these booties, coordinating and just too cute.

The result was two booties that coordinate, but don’t exactly match and I like that the pair turned out that way. And booties that appear to be close to a 3-6 month size, rather than newborn. I found it so easy to knit up and they look like little shoes. The shape was exactly what I was looking for in a go to that’s good for boys and girls.

coordinating, but not exactly matching, because of the yarn

 

 

 

 

 

For this particular pair, I happened to find the olive green ribbon on my desk at work, which worked perfectly for the little bows.

I cannot wait to give these to my friend’s daughter. I am so happy with the results and am looking forward to making some more pairs of these to have on hand as gifts. I love the shape, I think they these will also make great adult slippers, so I am going to experiment with other yarns and needle sizes, plus modifying the pattern to see if I can make a pair for me. One more project to add to the to-do list.

I’m so happy to be making more time for creative play and these quick projects. More will be coming soon.

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jul 1, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, self-care  //  No Comments

the finished blanket!!!

The month of June was a crazy month and my blog posting was “stunted” by lots of other things going on, including creative playtime. Some of that creative playtime has been spent finishing my niece’s baby blanket. It was an in process piece for a long time, and am proud to be able to say, that I will be mailing to her tomorrow. I knew I wanted to make her a blanket, the first ever blanket I’ve made and since it’s for her it’s that much more special.

It’s been quite and evolution…

the weekend I started the blanket and spent my art journaling afternoon working on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the work I'd put in when I visited in February to help my sister out with my nephews and niece.

 

 

 

 

the completed blanket... about the size of a throw

 

 

 

 

 

the 8 row by 8 stitch basketweave that makes up the pattern.

 

I knitted in the border in too, which was a 1 x 1 ribbing (all the knitters who read this will understand what that means).

I’m really excited that I completed this and even more excited that it’s something my niece will be able to have for a long time.

This was a longer term project, because it is rather big. It’s good to have one of these every few projects, but I do appreciate the “instant gratification” projects too – the ones that take less than 6 hours and you have a finished piece. In the next week I’m looking forward to more creative playtime and I’ll be working on a few of those projects, that will work up quickly plus some other things that I’ll be posting about as I finish them up.

Knitting continues to be a creative outlet and a source of great relaxation. I’m excited about what I’ll be able to work on over the next few weeks and seeing the little accomplishments, as I finish pieces for friends and family.

Have you made time for creative play recently?

My favorite thing about gray days…

May 26, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, photography  //  No Comments

Over the last month, DC has seen it’s fair share of gray days. And although too many gray days can bring my spirits down, there are things about them that do raise my spirits. A few years ago, when I started to learn more about photography, I learned that some of the best natural color saturation comes on an overcast day. I had never really thought about it before, but on beautiful sunny days, without some of the right tools, colors can be extremely washed out by the sunlight (which is why dawn and dusk are the best times to take pictures – the light isn’t so direct). So on all these gray days, I’ve been looking at what the city has to offer and took these photos to thoroughly enjoy the color saturation.

DC has been doing some beautiful landscaping on the city streets.

more of the beautiful colors

loving the red

some more of the beautiful pink flowers around DC... i think pink is the "in" color for flowers this year.

my ultimate favorite... pink, raindrops, and lots of beautiful color

With the help of my smartphone, I’ve been taking these pictures and there are many more, but these are some of my favorites. They are bright spots on gray days and for as much as I don’t love so many gray days, I look forward to being able to take more of these every opportunity that I get.

What’s your favorite thing about gray days?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

May 6, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, self-care  //  No Comments

In the midst of everything that’s been going on in my life and my lack of time on my personal computer, I’ve found the time for creative playtime. And most of this creative playtime has been used to learn some new techniques in knitting, as I embark on making some new projects. At our last knitting get together, Eve taught cabling 101 to Melissa based on the project she was working on. And a couple months back, I met with Valerie for an accessory consultation (since I’ll be making her some arm warmers). I finally came up with a design for those and I’ve spent time this last couple weeks, working on a prototype (and it’s mate) and learning some new techniques for them.

the prototype arm/wrist warmer

This is the prototype for those arm warmers, with a cable down the outside and an actual thumb gusset.

my first attempt at magic looping and cabling - a cute wrist cuff

I also wanted to learn how to magic loop (a technique that enables you to use a long circular cable to knit small rounds). So I took my learning is stages, I first did this wrist cuff where I played with magic loop and took my first shot at cabling.

Then I started the bigger project, the prototype arm warmer, whose mate is currently in process (with no pattern, making the mate has been a little tricky). I envisioned the end game and then played it by ear. I ribbed it a bit, then began to work the cable into the pattern, and eventually (after watching several how-to videos on YouTube), I started to work the thumb gusset. It was really satisfying to be able to create the design and to incorporate these new techniques with a new method of knitting in the round.

close-up fo the cable and ribbing

my first attempt at making a real thumb - pretty happy about this gusset

Valerie’s arm warmers will be about 2 inches longer, but they will look similar to this and I’m thinking I will be using a similar pattern (once I write it down) for the arm warmers for a couple of my cousins for Christmas.

my progress on the prototype's mate

I have had so much fun designing these and learning the new techniques. Now, to get the motivation to wrap up the other outstanding projects I have, so I can spend a lot more time playing with them and then be able to start some new projects for myself.

Creative playtime is so much. I encourage you to have some sometime soon.

Creative Playtime at Home

Apr 29, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  No Comments

So, it’s been a couple weeks since my last point, and honestly, this was the first time I’ve opened up my home computer in the last two weeks. I’ve been busy with creative playtime, family, friends, yoga and work. I have been enjoying creative playtime  lately though, mostly at home, with my “mini” art journal, as well as my knitting (that will be another post soon, since i’ve been learning some new techniques and started some fun new projects).

The mini art journal has truly been more approachable for me, with smaller pages to fill with my inspirations. This is a collection of some of my most recent completed pages.

 

 

The ability to fill less space has made it more attainable to sit down more regularly and fill these pages. I plan to fill up more soon, as I continue to strive to make time for creative play.

When was the last time you dove into your favorite creative activity and just let go? If it’s been a while, maybe it’s time to schedule some creative playtime of your own and let your creative self shine.

 

 

 

 

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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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