Writing can be a lot like yoga. Both have physical aspects, but it’s the mental work that is important. Ideally, both should be practiced every day. And both have the power to lift you above the mundane, to experience life outside of yourself. This insight came to me courtesy of a good friend – who also happens to be a master yoga teacher. While catching up on the phone, I was bemoaning my lack of a “real” yoga practice when Sarah pointed out the obvious: my writing has become my yoga practice.
To the Western mind, if it ain’t a down dog followed by pigeon pose and accompanied by some sweat, it ain’t yoga. The truth, however, is that yoga is as much a mental practice as a physical one, if not more so. Sarah’s gentle nudge reminded me that I don’t need to be on my mat to be practicing yoga. Every time I sit at my desk, immersed in my story, shutting out other worldly distractions, I am indeed practicing yoga. (Perhaps even more successfully than when I lay on my mat, trying desperately to relax in savasana, unable to tune out the taxis honking.)
When I write, I am fully mindful, focused on the words on the page – or lack thereof – and not those taxis or the dust on the tables or the fact that school starts in two weeks. I am living in that scene, that moment of story I am creating. And just like yoga, through practice I have become able to do things I never thought I could do. My body may be less flexible, but my mind is is wide open!
In time, I will pick up my physical practice. (Probably when I suffer back spasms from sitting too long at my desk.) But for now, my mental practice is working just fine.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on my POV dilemma. Much obliged!