Yoga is a lot like writing. I realized this recently when I signed up for a class.
The name of my yoga class is Beginner I. There is a Beginner II class and a Beginner III class at the same studio, but I’m not at that level of beginner, yet. I am the most beginning beginner of all beginners, the Beginner I.
As you might expect, Beginner I Yoga is slow. It involves a lot of stretching, a lot of breathing. There are times, I’ll admit, when we don’t seem to be doing much at all. Yet, I think I have made some progress. I’m not doing any fancy headstands, but yesterday, my heels touched the ground in downward facing dog, and I’m fairly certain that on the first day of class, I was up on my toes. Yoga, like writing, is a thing measured over time. It’s not always evident that you are making much progress as you slog along.
“Yoga is about the breath,” my teacher says, as she walks the room in her special, quiet, yoga shoe socks. “It’s also about balance. If one of your feet is too far in the future and one is too far in the past, you are going to fall down.” Really, I wish I had a notebook in class so I could write down all the really cool things she says.
“Yoga is part effort, part release.” This one is my favorite. Whenever she says it, I can’t help thinking (you guessed it) about writing. Because in writing, as in yoga, effort is only part of the battle. Word counts and writing schedules are important, sure, but there is also that mysterious quality of release. Call it flow, inspiration, your muse, whatever, it’s the part of the equation that’s harder to control.
Do you actively do anything to invite inspiration? How do you do it? Do you do yoga? Burn candles? Listen to music? What puts you in the mood to write?