By Dianne Ochlitree, RYT 200
There is a meditative state of mind that practicing yoga and writing share. In yoga, there is the connection with my breath, keeping me centered and fully engaged. My performance on the mat may vary from day to day but each time, my yoga practice takes me to a place of supreme peace and calm. In much the same way, I find that when I clear my mind before writing each day, words flow from my heart onto the page, taking me to a creative zone I like to call ‘the happy place’.
One of the easiest ways to connect with this relaxed, open mind state—and my muse—is to take a cue from yoga class, and begin each writing session with seated meditation. Over the years, this technique has helped me bring my authentic writer’s voice to the surface. Whether your writing project is a poem or a business proposal, you may find this approach useful.
While instructions for a pre-writing meditation are easy to give, please be aware that thoughts, emotions and body sensations will pop up often. Don’t worry! This is natural. Each time your mind becomes distracted from the task at hand—stilling the mind, opening the heart—gently return to your focus on the breath.
To begin, sit up tall in a sturdy, secure chair (no wheels!) with your hips, shoulders and crown of head in line with each other. Press your feet firmly onto the floor. Close your eyes, bringing your inner gaze toward the tip of your nose. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs, palms up or palms down—whichever is more comfortable to you—and tuck the elbows close to your sides. Relax the neck and jaw. Soften the face.
Begin to follow your breath. Breathe naturally in and out of your nose with your mouth gently closed. If there is a distraction from outside or inside yourself—a noise or thought, perhaps—gently push it aside and re-focus on your breath.
It’s best to start with shorter meditation practices, eventually working up to 5-10 minute sessions. Set a kitchen timer or the stopwatch function on your cell phone for a pre-determined time, sit for meditation, and when the timer chimes, slowly begin to bring awareness back into your body by wiggling fingers and toes, or rolling from side to side. Allow your eyes to gradually open, softly bringing the room back into view. Take one deep breath…and get writing from your zen-tered point of view!
Blog contributor Dianne Ochlitree is a 2012 graduate of Yoga from the Heart’s Yoga Teaching Training Program.