Yoga for Writers

Utkatasana-Pose

Yoga has been a part of my life for more than 13 years now, but only in this last year did I begin to see how I might bring my yoga and writing practices into alignment.

Perhaps that’s one reason I’ll finally be taking a yoga teacher training this summer in DC.

In a previous post, I wrote about discovering the way five stages evoking the “classic arc” of a vinyasa yoga class also mirror the five stages presented in The Creative Compass.

The transit we make through a yoga class resembles the one we make as writers (or artists) through a project: as we move away from beginnings, we undertake the pathway to our own peaks, surmounting obstacles along the way, ultimately (read: ideally) coming at once to our journey’s conclusion and the realization that it has transformed us.

(And yes, if your yoga class doesn’t make you feel this way, then you may need to try a different one.)

Basic Writer’s Asana

First the fundamentals: Both yoga and writing ask us to spend long periods in challenging positions.

As anyone who practices yoga will tell you, however, it’s not about freezing in place but dynamic stillness, rooting into the ground and moving deeper into each stretch with every breath, sending that continuous flow of energy into an arm or body balance.

Eka_Pada_koundinyasana

To that end, yoga has something essential to teach us as writers.

Yoga asanas (or postures) can certainly be difficult but they’re designed to protect and promote our health, progressively building strength, stamina, and flexibility as we inhabit them.

Whereas our own primary desk-bound “writer’s asana” can easily and habitually turn into a spine-compressing, shoulder-rounding, leg-entangled crunch — more “oof!” than “Om.”

But all we have to do is sit up straight or use a standing desk, right?

If only it were so easy. Everything you’ve heard about “correct posture”? At the least, it bears a second look.

Come back next week for the concluding post in this two-part series: Practice (Not Posture) Makes Perfect.

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