I am not a yoga expert by any means. For the last few years I’ve taken classes on and off. But I really fell in love with it when I began watching ‘Yoga with Adriene’ YouTube sessions at home. In my own living room I am significantly more relaxed than when I’m out in a classroom trying to keep my stomach from rumbling! It is easy to fit her sessions into my day as well, as her classes range from quick five minute stretches to full-blown hour-long routines.
For a long time it didn’t dawn on me just how beneficial these classes were in relation to my writing practice. But once I’d made the connection I can see more and more just how beneficial yoga has been to my writing day. It doesn’t always work (sometimes those writing gremlins are just too powerful to beat, am I right?!). But on the days that it does I know I owe a lot to yoga.
Take my back, for instance. After an injury a few years ago I have found it difficult to write for long periods of time due to the pressure of sitting, particularly with a chunky laptop resting on my thighs. Gradually yoga has strengthened my core, making me far more resilient to the pressures of sitting for hours on end as I add to my word count. I understand when I need to stretch it out, too, simply because I’m more aware of how my muscles feel when I begin to ‘slump’. An aching back can be extremely distracting, and easing the problem had made a significant difference to the way I write.
Adriene recently posted a great little workout for the hands that I retweeted to the writing community on Twitter because our hands are so overworked! We forget the toll that typing can have on our joints, until we wrap up a day of making notes or editing and find that our fingers are aching. Here’s the video, if you fancy giving it a try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxC4LhOrMFw By reminding me to focus on my whole body in a way I have never done before, I feel far more prepared when taking on a full day of desk-time.
Most importantly for me, the practices have done wonders for my motivation. Psychologically, it’s easy to plan a day of writing, only to discover when you get there that you really aren’t in the mood. It’s fascinating to me how taking twenty minutes to breathe and stretch can really force my mind to wake up and open itself to the possibilities of creativity. It’s like getting a virtual kick up the backside, only it feels good to receive it! If I’m feeling stressed or anxious I know already that my writing will be impacted that day. Being aware that there is a ten minute video session on YouTube that could snap me out of it and put me into a better frame of mind is a constant reassurance that those days won’t necessarily cause me to fail in my writing goals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnd5Slo02us
I recommend these classes to all my writer friends in person, so I thought I might as well do it here, as well! It really works for me, and I’m hoping it will for you, too.