5 Ways to Jumpstart your Creativity, Pt. 5


5. Move

This tip will be no surprise to anyone who is a regular reader. As much as I denied it for much of my life ('cause I am also somewhat klutzy  -- OK quite uncoordinated, see bruises --and not gifted at movement patterns -- ie can't learn a dance step to save my life), I am a highly kinesthetic being -- and movement is an sensory experience that deeply feeds my creativity. But, as a person who hates routine, having an exercise routine has been difficult, until I discovered NIA about 5 years ago. Although I rarely make a class now (when I do it's at the incredibly fabulous Synergy Studio in San Antonio) because of our out-in-the-country life, Linda and I try to dance for at least 25 minutes each morning. From NIA's website:

"Nia is a body-mind-spirit fitness and lifestyle practice. Through expressive movement—The Body’s Way—Nia empowers people to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Life lived in a body the Nia way is life lived in relationship to the sacred geometry of life.

the Technique

"Our philosophy “Through Movement We Find Health,” means we believe in the power of self-discovery through movement. In practicing Nia you fall in love with being and moving in your body – you experience the power of Self-Healing."

Another movement exercise I like is the one in Tywla's Tharp's The Creative Habit called "the egg." Briefly, one compresses into an egg shape on the floor (or even in a chair if your mobility is limited), and expands into a different shape of body with a title, like "exploded egg," or "sleepy egg," or "upside-down egg." Try it, its fun. And the book is a great one on all matters of creative routine building. 


Frankly, whether you like to walk the neighborhood, climb rock walls, dance the tango, shimmy up trees, put yourself though a rigorous session at the gym or jumprope, movement is one key to creative thought and accomplishment. Our brains (as well as our bodies) need to move, and no matter *how limited your movement abilities or proclivities, start today, and in a year, you will have more movement under your feet, and, I think, more ideas in your work. I know I work better if I take time to dance or walk up the hillside outside my front door.

*I recently read of a study about a group of people who were told to imagine themselves lifting weights with their arms while in a relaxed self-hypnotic state. At the end of the 6 month study, these subjects tested with stronger bicep strength than before the study. All they did was IMAGINE themselves getting stronger by lifting the weights.  From the site Peak Performance On Line:

"Despite differences in the pattern of activation, imagery has the effect of priming muscles for subsequent physical action, and this clearly has potential benefits for the performance of many sports skills. It is also evident that the neural impulses passed from the brain to the muscular system during imagery may be retained in memory almost as if the movement had actually occurred(2). The implication of this is that physical skills may be improved even during periods of injury when physical practice is not possible. Moreover, there is growing evidence to suggest that a combination of imagery and relaxation can accelerate the rehabilitation process following injury or surgery(5). "

2. Advances in Sport Psychology (2nd ed), Champaign IL: Human Kinetics, 2002:405-43
5. Rehabilitation Psych 46:28-43

JUST IN: A recent post on Shape and Colour provides more wonderful inspiration vis a vis movement.