Rachel

Practice

women s white top and orange floral skirt
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Though I came to this project as a daily writer and sporadic yoga-practitioner, I would say I often find it easier to practice yoga than writing. Not well, but I have no expectation of flexibility or coordination or strength, so the poor quality of my yoga poses is not particularly frustrating. I almost always feel better after a sequence than I did before.

Not so with writing. No matter how many years I’ve been doing it for school, for work, for fun, stories, songs, personal essays, evaluation reports, blogs, a thousand different journals, the process on any given day can be intensely aggravating.

It was aggravating tonight. I began this blog four different times. I tried for a list of Lessons Learned. They sounded a forced, and unoriginal, all “lessons” that had already been described here.

I tried writing about a wonderful book I recently reread Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict by Judy Ringer. I needed to give it more thought.

I started to write about how tomorrow is the Day of Atonement. Okay, and?

We’ve had a run of fevers in our house recently and I’m intrigued by the rhythms of the fevers, how they spike at night. Why is that? How is that natural rhythm so strong? But, these were all half-thoughts, scraps of beginnings, possible entry-ways into little essays, but nothing more than that.

What to do? Push forward. Try again. Open a new post. Turn to a notebook and write be hand. But all these attempts made me feel like I was forcing something (and I suppose I was). Wait. What if I stop forcing this? What if I stop. Pause. Take a deep breath. Think again about why I came here. When I paused, I realized I should try some yoga poses. Why not—right in the middle of the writing process—see if a warrior pose and crescent lunge could help me loosen up in my writing.

After a few poses, it’s not like I make a breakthrough or have an “aha!” moment. Yoga flow doesn’t translate to writing flow. But it does make me think that if we pull back a little, stop trying so hard to control things, pause instead of press forward. we can sometimes gain a better perspective. The idea was to see how writing and yoga go together, and yet, until now, I’d never really tried a sequence that combined them. The energy changed. The frustrated feeling was gone. The practice continues.

—Rachel

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