Personal and professional development requires an investigation of the ways we think, feel, act, and respond to the environment. As we move through our lives and come into contact with others, we’re constantly tasked with co-creating the world around us, optimistically fostering spaces for inclusivity that are supportive of everyone’s experience and approach. The second chakra, known as svadhisthana in Sanskrit, is where we discover our capacity to create, develop our response to change, and soften to receive others. I sat down with Clara to discuss the tools to develop and foster creativity and how collaboration with others is essential to innovation and creative expression. Below are the paraphrased highlights from the interview.
The Creative Spark: An Interview with Clara
Stephanie: Clara, what types of activities did your parents expose you to as a kid? What kind of environment did you grow up in that fostered your idea of creativity?
Clara: There’s a lot of play. When I was growing up with my father, we played in all kinds of ways. We played outside, we played inside; my father was a photographer, so there was a lot of art on the walls and a lot of looking at art. And then my dad would ask questions like, “what do you see? What’s happening here? What do you think the relationship is between the colors and the shapes?” So there was a lot of breaking down visual art as well as enjoying it. And then the other part that both my parents were really big on, was music. So there was always a ton of music being played in the house. I feel like both my parents are artists in their own right. My mother was a writer and my father’s a photographer, but also had a deep appreciation from literature as well as music.
Stephanie: One of the themes for the second chakra is the partnering, the coming together with another entity that creates and stimulates change. How has that process been revealed to you in how you create?
Clara: The trip that we go on as a community through the yoga practice is a collaboration. This practice, for me at least, is one that is healing because regular life kind of brings a heaviness or a dampness or stagnation or hardness, at least in my experience. And so what I seek in my own practice is this idea of expansion, this idea of letting go, and this idea of realigning.
My intention whenever I’m teaching is for people to reconnect to themselves, to remember their own truth and to embody their truth.
As a teacher, I’m trying to do the same thing. So I want to give a little bit of distraction and things like this in terms of different kinds of movement, to get people to move out of their distraction and to come into alignment, meaning they have to listen to me because they have no idea where I’m going and I want them to do.
I find that you learn new things when you are doing different things than you’re used to. And I want people to feel good about who they are because we are divine beings and we’ve just forgotten. And so the practice is about coming back and remembering that we’re awesome. All of us are awesome, in our own way, shape, and form.
Stephanie: What parts of the body, poses, and elements would you bring into a class centred on the second chakra?
Clara: Second chakra I usually go one of two ways. The first way I go is with the water element, which I talked about in our meditation practice and my teacher, Shiva Rea is really big on the water element. I feel like I feel mostly like water. And so when I move like water, I feel like I’m arriving back at home. So with the second chakra, one way that I do it would be called go with the flow. Constant movement and the strength in movement and the healing quality of fluidity and how important that is. When I’m working with the idea of water, I don’t generally have a peak pose. It’s more about transitions. I would ask: “how can I transition into the next part, the next chapter, the next aspect, the next minute with more ease, with more fluidity, with more grace?”.
The other well realm that I’d go into, which we’re talking about today, is creativity and, and this idea of creation of making something.Our creative juices literally live in our sacral area. Semen lives there. Our ovaries lived there. That’s literally how we bring physical beings into the world. And so connecting to that creative fire, we call that Kundalini energy or Shakti, the creative force. And so we’re connecting to the possibility or potential.
Stephanie: What is unique about Practice With Clara? What did you feel was lacking in the yoga community that encouraged you to launch your own platform and apps?
Clara: I have such a deep passion for mantra and for bringing more of a creative element where it’s not just the Asana, which I love, but I also wanted to bring in other parts of the yoga practice. And there just wasn’t space for that on that platform [Gaia], which I totally understand. They were looking for something very specific, but I wanted to do more. I want to be able to share stories and have different things on the platform.
So we have the mantra, the meditation, but I’m going to bring in some philosophy. We’re going to bring in little short courses on the chakras and the philosophical values.
That’s what makes me most excited. And that’s why I wanted to create the Practice With Clara Apps and Site.
Stephanie: So it sounds like a big piece of your creative process is teaching, passing it on, so to speak. Can you share a little bit about why the element of teaching inspires and is so deeply ingrained in you.
Clara: My father and I talked a lot. My parents are talkers. We talked everything out. And so that’s my, that is actually a large part of my creative process and, or my self inquiry process is I usually talk it out with somebody, and for a long time it was with my father. My greatest practice in terms of understanding philosophy is actually teaching it. And you know, they always say that if you want to understand something, teach it. And I find that through teaching it, I’ve learned so much. By asking the questions to other people.
And that’s again where the collaboration comes in; in the teaching and asking questions.
The first kind of piece of philosophy that I ever dove into is the Bhagavad Gita. One of my favorite books is this wonderful story. I definitely went through a period when I first started teaching and where I’m like, who am I to teach this?
I’m not a philosophy major. I studied philosophy in school, but not to the extent where I have a master’s or anything. But by going into it and asking people questions about it and for us to dive into the themes around it together, I learned so much, and this is why I love teaching. Because I learned so much. And so in that way, we are all artists because I feel like some people think, Oh, I’m not an artist.
I think we’re all artists, like we create in our own way. And even just thinking is a form of creation and artistry. Through yoga and through being in Sangha and grouping together, we create, we co-create something together, which is so, so cool.
Stephanie: What is a practice that you can recommend that someone can sit down and set up like a morning ritual and tap into their own creative process?
Clara: I’m going to offer three different variations because I find that we’re all so different, so hopefully one of these three options will speak to you.
- The first one is the morning pages: as soon as you wake up in the morning, you pull out pen and paper and you write three pages without thinking about it and it’s stream of consciousness. And you literally just write until the three pages are up and you try not to judge it or think about it. It’s kind of a way of connecting to the realm of the mind that is not analytical, but the part of you that is creative.
- The second one I would recommend is to turn on your stereo, hit play without really thinking about it and whatever song comes on, you dance to it. And to the best of your ability, don’t overthink it. Be in your pajamas. Hopefully you didn’t even brush your teeth. That’s another way to literally get into the creative flow and to connect to the body. So especially if you live in your mind, that would be one that I would recommend.
- The third one that I would recommend is to pull out your meditation cushion and to sit down on it. Put your hands like we did at the beginning of this podcast to the lower abdomen and quite simply breathe into that area. It takes three hums and then quite simply sit with yourself for 10 minutes without doing anything. And so that’s another way to create and connect to your creativity.
Listen to on the full talk on the #PracticeWithClara Podcast or the Practice with Clara Site.
Yoga Classes for Creativity
Dynamic, fluid, and fun, this creative flow vinyasa class focuses on the energy of Svadhisthana, the second chakra. Svadhisthana is associated with water and creativity. Focusing on this area we develop our self-expression and capacity to relate to others and the world around us. This creative flow sequence develops hip opening and challenges one’s flexibility.
This intermediate slow flow practice focuses on the second chakra and pelvis. There’s a bit of fire peppered through the practice with an arm balance in bakasana (crow pose) and backbending with ustrasana (camel pose).
This class is great for those who have been sitting for long periods of time