I had a painting teacher who used only desert landscape and a plastic bag in the wind as subject matter for her artwork. When I asked her what it felt like to create so many paintings based on limited subject matter, she replied that she felt that these parameters had allowed her to learn technique better, and she felt more intricately connected to her art.
We're not always encouraged to repeat subject matter or set limits when being creative. How many times have you knit the same sweater over again? That's boring. Life is all about excitement and doing something different. Nevertheless, imposing limits on yourself can actually be an important step in manifesting creativity.
A limitation is a boundary, separating something from what is around it in order to define it. A boundary creates a necessary limitation that allows us to have something whole, something specific.
In order to manifest, we must be able to accept limitation. We have to be able to focus on what we want, to be specific about it. We have to be able to stick with it, long enough for manifestation to occur.
- Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind
One of the many complaints I've heard from people who have tried Bikram yoga and quit is that they don't enjoy the repetition of the same twenty-six postures every time they go to class. The surprising thing for me is that it's probably one of the number one reasons I choose to do the Bikram yoga practice.
For me, it's utterly mind blowing to use the parameter of twenty-six Bikram yoga postures and see the infinite variety of experience this kind of practice creates. I haven't had one class the same as any other class or one teacher say the dialogue like any other teacher. Within the limits of twenty-six postures I have an infinite palette of creativity.
Over the years I've noticed moments for myself and other people when we don't like to impose limits on kids, pets, employees, habits, indulgences, spending, time, love, etc. It almost feels anti-American if limits are imposed on what we consider to be our freedom to choose.
Nevertheless, in many ways we are all craving healthy limits imposed from within ourselves that allow us to be effective and reach goals. If you are not setting your own limits from within, then you may find that you let the outside world do it for you and then wonder why you are attracting ineffective bosses, debt, illness, difficult relationships, criminal charges, etc.
Going to Bikram yoga has encouraged me to accept limitations and see that setting limits for myself is an incredibly healthy and productive activity. More importantly, working through the activities in my book Lemonade Mantras is the mechanism that gets me in touch with what I am most wanting, so that I can then start to put limits into play that will allow me to realize my dreams and desires. Once I understand what I want to focus most on in my life, then it's just a matter of doing it over and over again and sticking with it.
The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.
To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures.