You could say, I discovered yoga by accident one night when I pulled an all-nighter to finish a university assignment. I discovered that standing on my head, helped to refresh my exhausted student brain. For a year or so, I perfected my headstand right there on the floor in front of my desk. That was long before I did my first dog pose at a yoga studio, because in those days hardly anybody did yoga.
Today I can’t imagine life without yoga and writing. It’s what keeps me centered and connected to my core. It’s also a perfect companion practice to writing and meditation.
What makes yoga and writing such perfect companion practices?
Yoga allows writers to abuse their bodies occasionally
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a supporter of abuse of any kind. But how often do I NOT practice what I preach and sit for long hours in front of my computer, hunching my shoulders, allowing my neck and hips to get stiff as I try to push the words out like a woman giving birth, stuffing myself with sugary sweets. We are all guilty of it. A regular yoga practice allows me to get away with it, occassionally.
At this retreat you will learn some essential asanas and sequences you can easily practice at home or even in your office. We all know, in theory, that we should take a break from our desks every 20 minutes and stretch, but let’s be honest, when we are in the flow, we often forget to look after our health. At least that’s what happens to me.
During this retreat we will practice healthy habits for a week and hopefully we’ll all feel motivated to continue to do what feels good and energising when we are back in the daily grind.
Yoga reminds us that everything is a process
Both writing and yoga are hard work. Yoga helps us understand that the effort of stretching out those hamstrings is a process. Writing is a similar process.
It is by showing up on the mat every week that I have progressed in my yoga journey. I am stronger and more flexible at 53 than I was at 25.
If only I’d flexed my creative writing muscle in the way I’ve stretched my hamstrings over the years, I could have an armful of novels to my name now. Maybe…
Yoga teaches us discipline
To progress in our practice, we must repeat the same asanas over and over again until it becomes a routine we feel we can’t do without. If you practice yoga regularly you know what I mean. That feeling when you skip a class in favour of a glass of wine or to lie in bed for a bit longer to finish a good book. It somehow never feels right. It’s like missing a sacred ritual.
I try to be my own teacher a few times a week. It’s much like being a freelance writer. There are days when I procrastinate until I feel sick.
On the days when I do my own yoga practice at home before I start writing, I nip the inner critic in the bud and I don’t give a toss about writer’s block.
Once I’ve moved through my daily yoga sequence, it’s so much easier to trust the process of simply putting pen to paper. On a good day, it feels effortless to take the discipline from the mat to the page.
Yoga invites us to tap into our potential
When we move through a vinyasa, we tap into the flow. Every asana is an invitation to step into the present moment, to connect with the breath and to free our creative voice.
Once we are aware of our breath, finding our writing voice is so much easier.
Writing and yoga are different ways of releasing blockages.
Writing is a creative exploration of the tangle inside us. Writing our stories, is a way of letting go.
Yoga makes body and mind become spacious and fluid. By stretching our muscles and aligning our bodies, yoga loosens what is being held within.
Yoga encourages us to be curious
In yoga we use the breath and movement to explore our bodies on a cellular level. We cultivate a deep curiosity. When we bring that curiosity from the mat to the page, we can go to a whole new place.
What kind of yoga will we do at this retreat?
We will practice gentle Hatha yoga, suitable for everybody, including those who are new to yoga. Our aim is to gently loosen up our muscles with daily morning yoga and to become focused through mindfulness practices, pranayama breathing exercises and by connecting movement to breath.
We end our daily yoga session with a short sound bowl meditation during savasana.
We will also focus on restorative poses and yin yoga integrated with a longer sound bowl balancing meditation.
Join me in Bali for a week of mind, body, soul stretching!
Writing for Wellbeing in Bali: Find Your Voice, Release Your Stories, Unleash Your Creativity with yoga & sound bowl balancing
October 30 – November 6, 2017
(retreat starts the day after the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival)