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Writing, like yoga, is a practice. It requires commitment and discipline. But most importantly, writing involves a willingness to sometimes be uncomfortable, in the prayer and hope that we can break free of what holds us back. When I’m stuck in my writing, I’ll often pause, breathe and stretch, twisting and turning myself until I feel a gentle, soft release. Conversely, if I’m feeling challenged in my yoga practice, I’ll write about the “stuckness” to help push out the gunk that has clogged my mind and body.
In my work as a writing coach and tutor, I use mindfulness techniques I’ve learned in yoga. In my workshops and one-on-one sessions, I share yoga poses and breathing techniques to help writers “let go” so they can discover their authentic voice.
As writers, we have our practice of writing much like a student of yoga has his or her asana practice. We try to practice daily by journaling, where we can create stories or vent our feelings. Our practice is our own, dictated by what we need in the moment, not by outside forces, but from within. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what we need, but I try to help students with this by helping them access the higher mind and focus on the inner-self. Writing can be the same kind of release as yoga, which allows us to let go of the ego. In doing this, we are better able to express and create, despite, or even alongside, any fear we may feel.
The physical stress on the body from writing—sitting for long periods of time, forward hunched shoulders, sore hands and wrists—can also be countered by a regular yoga practice. Lately, my practice has consisted of a few stretches to open my upper back an chest, and release tension in my lower arms and wrists. A few minutes of stretching and a brief mindfulness meditation, and I’m ready to get to the hard work of writing.