Today, I attended a “Writing From the Heart” workshop at the Human Thread Center. The aim of this workshop was to combine yoga and writing, using meditation, breathing exercises, and asanas, along with writing prompts to unleash creativity. When I heard about the workshop earlier this week, I was really excited. After all, it was combining two things I love. Yoga and writing seemed like such a natural pairing, I wondered why I hadn’t thought about putting the two together before!
Whenever I mentioned the workshop to friend, they laughed, as I’m sure an image of me trying to balance in dancer pose while typing with one hand (or some similar picture) popped into their heads. As amusing as that image is, it’s not quite right. 🙂 The point, as I see it, was to clear away some of the mind clutter that impedes writing and let it flow after the yoga practice.
The workshop began with a quick review of the chakras. I have never been into the mystical aspects of yoga, and I don’t think that one needs to be in order to derive physical and psychological benefits from practicing. So, I don’t take take teachings about the chakras literally, and I will admit my knowledge of them is fairly cursory. That said, I do believe that the concept of the chakras can be useful as guide for scanning your body and mind for areas of tension, discomfort, ill feelings, etc, and that concentrating on these and doing certain exercises can be useful in addressing and resolving such feelings.
As the workshop continued, we were given a writing prompt: What does my heart look and feel like? What do other people think my heart should look and feel like? As with any writing prompt, the point is to get you writing about something. You can interpret the prompt any way you like–describing your physical heart or describing your heart as a metaphor for your emotions and what it might look like if it had a color, shape, and texture. When I use writing prompts, I never expect to get a story, a poem, or anything so concrete in the writing time that follows, but often, I get an idea, a point from which I can jump off into something that turns into a story, a poem or an essay. At the very least, my “writing muscles” get some exercise, so it’s all good.
We then moved into the physical practice of yoga and spent the rest of the workshop alternating between periods of physical practice and writing sessions with prompts. We were also given a list of prompts we can use at home in our own practice if we so desire.
I enjoyed the workshop and can hardly believe how fast it seemed to go. It was my first time pairing writing with yoga, and although I could probably use a bit more practice at it, I think this could very be useful. For me, often the hardest part about writing is simply getting started. I get in my own way too much and overthink things. I come up with a hundred other things I “need” to do before I sit down to write, before I’m “ready” to write. On some level, I know that I don’t need to be “ready” to write. I just need to do it, and once I get going, I can hardly recall why I was so hesitant to start in the first place. I think that flowing from yoga into writing could help me overcome some of these stumbling blocks. I’m certainly willing to give it a try!
A similar workshop to this one will be held on December 4 at Chi-Town Shakti. Further information is here if anyone is interested.