A to Z: Yoga

The final week of the A to Z Blog Challenge: Yoga, and how it connects with writing for me.

In Vedic Sanskrit, the word Yoga means to add, join or unite. This is what writing and reading are about for me. As a writer, I am trying to unite challenging and disparate ideas, to make them cohesive and engaging. And so I am also trying to unite my work with readers and to connect through the page, even though I may never meet or hear from them. I like to read works that deeply engage with the natural world and that look at difficult, deeply felt occurrences. I work to do the same in my own writing. I hope that these practice, of reading and writing, will deepen my own connection to the world and the people in it. So, another layer of joining.

In yoga practice, I physically embody the ability to be still and to relax in difficult places, in asanas (poses) that don’t feel natural at first and that rub up against the edge of where I think I can go. The longer I practice, the more I am able to pay attention to subtle cues and to notice the big difference tiny adjustments make. Sometimes these adjustments aren’t visible outside my body, but they help me deepen my practice. The connection to writing is the capacity for sitting with difficult subject matter and letting it come fully forward, knowing that it won’t break me to feel deeply (and if I feel it truly is too much, I can do the equivalent of dropping into child’s pose and returning to the work the next day to try again). There’s the capacity for noticing increasing layers not only in myself and my writing but in the world around me. And, of course, the building of the ability to see the ways in which everything is connected.

Some of the great writers, Hemingway, for instance, turned to alcohol to help them drop into the harsh places. I’m certainly not averse to a drink (or two) but I think yoga allows me a deeper and more sustainable practice.

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