“Yoga for Writers” at the Historical Novel Society London 2014 Conference

kundalini-chakras

* As of 7/21/2014 the “Yoga for Writers” workshop has been replaced with a panel talk “Art and Artist in Historical Fiction” which I am also part of. If and when, a slot opens at the conference to resume the yoga workshop I’ll let everyone know. ~ Namaste!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be leading an hour workshop “Yoga for Writers” on Sunday, September 7, from 11:00-12:00 am at the upcoming Historical Novel Society London 2014 Conference.

At the workshop, I’ll be sharing some of the obscure esoteric history of yoga, along with guiding writers through a sequence of poses to ease tensions in the body and mind, with the intention of creating the internal type of space that creativity likes to manifest into: calm, relaxed and centered.

Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, ones you can easily bend and move in. Also, bring your yoga mat if you have one or a towel.

Namaste. See you there!

Click here to see the conference program schedule.

 

Visit my guest post at author Mary Sharratt’s blog Viriditas

viriditas1

A page from one of Saint Hildegard of Bingen books of visions.

I contacted novelist Mary Sharratt after reading her wondrous book ILLUMINATIONS to see about interviewing her, to which she agreed (see interview below), and then to my pleasant surprise she took some time to investigate my blog, and in turn asked if I would be interested in writing a guest blog post about writing and yoga for her blog Viriditas.  

Here is the post that followed…

Yoga & Writing: How Yoga Can Help Your Writing

 Thank you Mary!

“Viriditas”  is a Latin word meaning greenness, vitality,  fecundity, lushness, verdure, or growth. It is particularly associated with Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen, who used it to refer to or symbolize spiritual and physical health as aspects of the divine nature.

Yoga Poetry

On 12.12.12 poet and editor Hawah released the second volume of The Poetry of Yoga, an anthology of contemporary poetry inspired by the practice of yoga.

Volume Two

Volume Two

I have volume one that was released 11.11.11 and I love it.  Words can be cherished and within this anthology’s pages are soul felt, wise, guiding poems.  I keep this book on hand, referring to it often: to inspire, to steer, and remind me of why I am here.  Here are a few of the amazing succinct pieces from volume one:

Compassion

Your shoes

Are on my feet

I know now

Why your socks are ripped

The draft moves my heart.

-Hawah

 

Love Poem

In order to describe

this thing to you, I’d need

the thousand beating wings

of wild flocks of words.

 

Rather, shall I show you

like this?

 

(Speechlessness) – Lisa Rosinsky

 

Bait

Praise is the rusted lure I rise to,

the old fishing line caught in my lip,

scars from rising out of my own current

toward bait that cannot nourish.

-Linda Caldwell Lee

 

To purchase the anthologies of The Poetry of Yoga visit: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Everlutionary

(I have volume two on order!)

Writing & Yoga

Writing and Yoga are soul mates. Yoga reveals insights; Writing is the recorder. Yoga balances the rhythms of breath; Writing surfs breath through oceans of language. Yoga taps the unconscious mind; Writing transcribes the wisdom of the unconscious. Writing requires work; Yoga is the assistant. Writing is an offering to the world; Yoga eases the offering’s sacrifice. Writing is a solo act; Yoga provides community.

Novel-writing as Yoga

“…Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way”, an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world.  Its benefits are quasi-religious-a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand-and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit.  For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.” – John Gardner, “On Becoming A Novelist”

Saraswati: Invoking Assistance to Write

As writers a moment arrives for most of us when we need to call upon something larger than ourselves, to intervene, to assist in our creative endeavor.  Maybe the novel idea, characters, scenes have been visiting you for years but you just can’t seem to start writing, or you sit in front of your blank screen waiting for the words to burst forth, but nothing comes.  Or, life required you to take leave of your half- written manuscript, and now, months or years have passed but the work still begs to be completed, or perhaps you obediently shelved your first draft of your book for the recommended three to six months and now what?

How do you start writing when the thought of it seems daunting, or even impossible?

I encountered such a situation, a commonality amongst us writers.  In an act of faith coupled with discipline, which I believe is the essence of writing, I set out on a 40 day pre-writing meditation practice, to invoke the Hindu goddess Saraswati to help me in my effort to write and revise.  I sang this mantra, “Om Eim Saraswatiyei Swaha, 108 times, counting on my japa mala, a 109 beaded string like a rosary, before writing each day.  Her name, “Saras” means to “flow” and “wati” woman.  She is the goddess of hidden wisdom, the symbol of knowledge, music and the arts, and credited for making projects fruitful and successful.  You don’t have to be Hindu to believe in the female creative spirit and she goes by many names around the world: “Yanchenma” in Tibetan Buddhism, “Brigid” a Celtic goddess, and “Ix Chel” by the Mayans, just to name a few.   Energy is our universe.  So, I made a concerted effort to align myself with this universal creative force.  Come to my aid, please!

Daily chanting I found my brain being stimulated by the mantra’s words, my creativeness awakened, and that I had already accomplished something as I sat down before my computer to write.  At first, my voice was shaky and unrefined like the first draft I was rewriting.  As the days passed I noticed my voice becoming stronger, sure of itself, and clear, and I felt, so was my novel  – it was improving and going forward.  My morning singing mirrored my writing and gave me a way to see that progress and inspired me to keep going.  A mantra is a thread of words or one sound, like a quote or beautifully written fragment, sung from the heart, like our words we place on our pages.   At the end of the 40 days, I was so pleased with my manuscript’s advancement, I committed myself to another twenty.  By the end, I felt empowered to continue on my own.  Thank you Saraswati, for I am she and she is I.  Please feel free to try this yourself and investigate –the power of mantra with writing.

Om Eim Saraswatiyei Swaha, “Om and salutations to the feminine Saraswati principle.”