Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing, Fear and Yoga

Though it may look like the writer isn't doing much, sitting for hours in front of a laptop, the brain is heavily engaged. The work is often emotionally demanding in the extreme, taking us places that we're afraid of but need to go, and forcing us to look deep into the black hearts of our deepest fears to uncover reality in our characters and situation.  It takes great courage to walk the difficult path of the artist, and often the effort is physically exhausting.  Fear is always tracking you, and the closer you are to reaching your writing goals, the more intense and insidious that fear can become.  Fear is a great shapeshifter, looking like block, like the need to research, like being too busy to write.  It can stop your story in its tracks just at its most critical point.

My latest work in progress (WIP) is particularly challenging, taking me to dark recesses of the past, exploring notions just beyond my intellectual capabilities, and forcing me to rethink what I know about fiction.  Every writing session is hard.  That's how I know I'm on the right path - because it it were easy, I wouldn't be pushing myself, growing, or moving my skills to a higher bar.  So how does one cope with this fear in all of its incarnations?  How do you push through it towards completion?

My biggest ally against fear is to move my body.  Exercise of all kind helps, but for me, there's nothing quite like either swimming, or doing yoga - two forms of exercise that have a mental impact on me - helping to clear my vision, work out intellectual problems with my stories, and teach me to cope with fear.  Both swimming and yoga are what I call breath practices.  They involve engaging your breath and using the breath to propel and lengthen the muscles.  Being quite small boned, I tend to get cold easily and it's often too cold to swim.  I don't much like heated indoor pools (the chlorine doesn't agree with me), so I tend to do quite a lot of yoga.  Yoga is amazing for writers.  Here are three reasons why yoga is a natural ally for the writer:
  • It helps teach us to see writing as a practice, rather than an end point.  We keep moving along the writing path, growing, changing, and pushing towards wisdom and expression.  It's not possible to fail, no matter how hard it is, when you have this perception. 
  • It teaches you to breathe. Ah, breath.  How simple and yet how powerful. Breathing is the perfect antedote to fear.  I first found out how powerful it was when I was in labour with my first child, screaming in pain.  An angel of a midwife came to me and taught me to breath slowly, deeply, with my full body and I calmed down and got to work. I've turned to breath again and again in times of stress, strive, and fear, and it never fails to remind me of the transience of each moment and the need to work, calmly, through the panic. 
  • It teaches patience.  Sometimes the right words take time to come.  You have to keep showing up, doing the exercises, stretching, breathing and working towards the vision. 
About my writing work, yoga teaches me to see my writing as work that has to be done - a responsibility and positive impetus rather than a vanity (another manifestation of fear). So next time you're struggling with the dragons of fear - call it what you will: block, self-doubt, other priorities, "no-time", try taking a 30 minute yoga break and see if that doesn't help. Breath through it. Even when it hurts. Then back to work. The world is waiting for you to change it.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Yoga and Aerobic Exercise Can Help Defeat Writer's Block

It seems Writers on the Move is attracting the attention of freelance writers who are promoting online colleges, and today I have another guest article from freelance writer Carrie Lewis.

Writers on the Move accepts high quality and informative content from writers, as long as their promotion is of G rated and quality sites. As long as the content is helpful and/or interesting to our readers and the links are 'okay,' guest articles are welcome.

Now on to the article:

How Yoga and Aerobic Exercise Can Help Defeat Writer's Block

Guest Post by Carrie Lewis

 “Once in a while you have to take a break and visit yourself.” These are powerful words for writers to keep in mind, especially for those trying to defeat the dreaded syndrome known as Writer's Block. This can be quite a challenging condition for writers to contend with because they lose their ability to produce fresh and engaging content, or any content at all for that matter. Even the most seasoned wordsmiths sometimes have to make the unnerving discovery that their writing has become lifeless, devoid of imagination and loaded with repetition. When a writer makes this undesirable discovery, he or she should immediately take a break and find an escape. Yoga and aerobic exercise are two phenomenal activities these stressed writers can turn to in order to refresh themselves. Let's take a look at how yoga and aerobic exercise can help defeat Writer's Block by providing refreshment to the body, mind and spirits.

Yoga

The stretching and deep breathing involved in yoga really helps relax us and leaves us more alert, energized and refreshed. After just an hour of yoga, writers will feel ready to once again return to their work with a renewed sense of creative prowess. When writers experience Writer's Block, they immediately feel down on themselves and negativity seems to pervade their minds. Yoga helps eradicate this incessant negative self-talk, which can destroy creativity. You will build a strong and healthy body by engaging in yoga and you will naturally become better at handling stressful situations.

Aerobic Exercise

Neuroscience has authoritatively proven that aerobic exercise stimulates creative thinking, which makes it a powerful escape for writers to turn to when dealing with Writer's Block. Studies have proven that those who exercise routinely sleep better, which translates to a surge in the flow of our creative juices the next day. The sweat we experience when exercising helps lubricate our brains and makes our thinking more fluid. After we engage in about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, endorphins, feel good chemicals that combat stress or pain, are released in areas of our brains that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. Endorphins minimize the discomfort of vigorous exercise and are associated with feelings of euphoria. This can help writers return to their work with renewed spirits.

All writers experience the dreaded Writer's Block at some point or another. Yoga and vigorous aerobic exercise can help to combat the syndrome by destroying negativity and fostering creativity.

Carrie Lewis is an avid fitness enthusiast, online English instructor for www.TheCollegeCity.com. Carrie has recently started writing her own novel and often turns to yoga and vigorous aerobic exercise to refresh her body, mind and spirits.



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