For a guy that owns thousands of acres of pristine New Zealand wilderness, it's not so surprising to hear that James Cameron uses the great outdoors for creative inspiration. 

The 59-year-old, currently in pre-production on the next three "Avatar" sequels, is making the media rounds for a feature-length documentary on his record-setting dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Titled "Deepsea Challenge 3D," the film gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the years of engineering (and many millions from his own pocket) that Cameron spent on the adventure. It all culminates with the actual dive seven miles down - and the tense moments and unexpected discoveries that followed. 

"We knew it had to be about the exploration gene: what drives people to explore and what it takes to do it," he recently told FastCo. [The deep sea] is the last great frontier on earth, and we know very little about it. The Hadal depths comprise an area greater than North America, which has literally never been seen by human eyes. For me, that's more than reason enough."

When asked in the interview where he finds inspiration to get his creative juices flowing, Cameron shares a myriad of sources. 

"I'm stimulated by what other artists are doing, so I watch other films," he said. "Dreams are a great resource for me--I'm constantly getting dream imagery and writing things down. Getting out in nature is inspirational. And I do yoga. That meditative state that you reach at the end of a practice is a good place to free-associate."

Cameron discovered yoga in preparation for his deep sea dive - crediting the practice with allowing his 6'2'' frame to fit within the sub's 43'' underwater sphere. It's now become a daily part of his routine - and one he regrets not discovering sooner. 

"I wish I'd discovered it 25 years ago! I'd probably be a lot more flexible," he told FastCo. "But, you know, life is a journey."

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

James Cameron uses nature, yoga to get creative juices flowing
'Avatar' director adds that dreams are also a great resource for the alien imagery he invents on screen.