Yoga Practice for the Mind
Our minds are full of ideas. Like playful puppies, our thoughts constantly bounce back and forth from one idea to another. As creative thinkers and writers, the overload of information in our heads can sometimes be detrimental to our efforts to capture stories on paper. Clarity is a vital part to our creative process as well as most other areas of our lives.
I participated in the Clarity Writing Workshop offered by Pink Pangea, facilitated by co-founder Jaclyn Mishal. Through the use of visualization, free-writing sessions, sharing of insights, and fill-in-the-blank exercises, Jaclyn guided us through a dynamic and eye-opening workshop that not only helped me release several blocks that were obstructing my creative juices, but that also taught me strategies I can use anytime I begin to choke.
I do yoga, a practice that I use to establish a connection between my mind and my body. Poses and breathing exercises help relax the muscles so that, as the body tension releases, the mind can trail back to a more peaceful state. This workshop was kind of a yoga practice for the creative brain. Jaclyn led us towards establishing a connection with our bodies. She probed us to notice a specific part of the body that might be calling our attention.
For me, this set the tone for the entire workshop and encouraged me to stay attentive and follow her through the exercises. Once I noticed my upper back was nudging me and figured out what that could possibly mean in terms of emotional baggage, the rest of the sections steered me towards bringing a release to my back, and thus achieving some clarity.
Yoga poses and breathing exercises help relax the muscles so that, as the body tension releases, the mind can trail back to a more peaceful state. This writing workshop was kind of a yoga practice for the creative brain.
Through the fill-in-the-blank exercise, I was able to realize that I felt a weight on my shoulders from wanting to appease and please many of the people who are closest to me. Moreover, the first part of the free-writing exercises opened my eyes to memories about my past that could have contributed to this heaviness.
Tracing my past through reminiscing about particular memories helped me figure out the reason why certain ideas first got planted into my subconscious. Looking at these memories helped me realize that these ideas, or beliefs, belong where they are—in the past. We cannot get clarity for our present and our future if we are dwelling too much on the past. In order to reach clarity, one needs to open up and face the parts of our lives and ourselves that keep placing a weight on us.
Sometimes we do not allow ourselves to dream and envision an optimistic outcome because we are afraid we will fail.
During the last section of the workshop, Jaclyn encouraged us to wonder what it would be like if we weren’t afraid for one day. She emphasized, more than once, that this should be a time to not be modest, but truly go all out in our visualization of ourselves and our lives. This was a liberating experience. Sometimes we do not allow ourselves to dream and envision an optimistic outcome because we are afraid we will fail.
Other times we rein in our enthusiasm for fear of looking overly cheerful or self-important. Part of our cultural paradigm involves a somber outlook on life in general, let along our personal achievements. I believe, however, that more optimism and cheerfulness is what is needed in society. While the world is full of both good and bad, why must we focus on the problem as opposed to the solutions? A clear mind promotes a light heart. It is the light hearted who can perpetuate more clarity and brightness in the world.
This workshop guided me through a practice of self-discovery that uncovered parts of my past and my mind that were placing a heavy weight on my present and my creativity. By learning to notice, open up, and release, I was able to achieve clarity in the better part of one hour with Pink Pangea.