Monday, July 26, 2010

Yoga Practice

Post by Jenny

I have a few yoga-loving friends. They are lithe and energetic and fit, but despite being excellent advertisements for the discipline, they have yet to convince me to attend a class. I’m afraid that public displays of contortionism (mine or anyone else’s) would have me giggling uncontrollably. I do have a yoga DVD, however, which I practice along with in the comfort of my home. I used to do it every weekday, then three mornings a week, then two, then—maybe—one. Then…none. For a long time, none.

I realized recently, as I strained to pick up something off the floor, that either my arms have shrunk to T-Rex proportions or my hamstrings have lost what little flexibility they once had. Because my sleeves still fit, I had to assume it was the latter. I was tempted to ignore this turn of events, but I knew that, in the long run, sticking my head in the sand (if I could even reach the sand) was not my best plan of action.

With a bit of trepidation, I dusted off my DVD and gave the routine another try. A couple of the poses were challenging—one in particular, which I think is called ‘Tangled Paperclips’—but, all in all, I did okay. And it occurred to me that I didn’t completely bomb because I had a history of consistent practice to fall back on (not literally, thank goodness). My muscles hadn’t lost the memory of what they were supposed to be doing and tried their best to do it again.

The same is true with writing. If my writing muscles are toned by frequent use, it’s much easier to get back into the routine after taking some time away. Like any other workout, there are days when I can’t wait to get started writing, and I burn through two hours with energy to spare. And there are days when I have to force myself to write, when it feels awkward and clumsy, and I‘d rather give up and eat something.

I used to think everything I wrote had to be perfect, and I still revise and obsess more than I should. But I have also come to realize that writers—like yoga devotees, like tennis players, like musicians—need regular, consistent practice. And practice doesn’t have to be perfect.

That’s why it’s called practice.

How do you keep your writing muscles in shape?


Helen Ginger said...

The best way to keep your writing muscles in shape is what you said - by writing. I've found that editing for others keeps my writing muscles toned.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I go to a yoga class twice a week with my sister. She is super limber and I’m about as limber as a steel rod, but I love it just the same, and it does make me feel better. Lately, with houseguests, trips and such, I seem to be exercising my body muscles more regular than my writing muscles. I need glue my bottom to my chair for about a week to get back in the daily writing habit.

Cricket McRae said...

When I started blogging I was afraid it would sap my writing energy. Instead it's like a writing workout that keeps me in shape, especially when I'm in transition between projects.

I don't think I'd ever go to a yoga class, but I have a couple strength yoga dvds and a couple pilates dvds that my guy and I do together about five times a week. I totally love/hate them.
Hearth Cricket

Patricia Stoltey said...

Like Cricket, I'm finding blogging is a great way to keep writing. Maybe I'll even train myself to write every day, which would be quite a change from my habit of binge writing when I get the urge.

I never did so well with Yoga because of my various joint problems (especially the knees), but I learned a series of positions and exercises from the Egoscue Pain Free program that have helped a lot.

Anonymous said...

FYI, your site has an error on the About NCW page - The link to Northern Colorado Writers has an extra space in it.

Dave K

Jenny S. said...

Blogging is good practice for me, as well. Only once a week, though. About as often as I do yoga :-)


Kerrie said...

Jenny, I've tried that "tangled paperclip" pose--it's not easy. ;-)

Dave, thanks for pointing out the broken link on the NCW page. I fixed it.

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