Sunday, April 18, 2010

Me and My Yoga

A few years ago, I learned how to stand on my head. For a while, I practiced regularly, sometimes propping myself in a corner, but later, when I got better at it, going for it right in the middle of the room. I learned other neat tricks studying yoga too. Bending over and placing my hands on the floor, handstands against the wall, shoulder and forearm balance. Yoginis aren’t supposed to show off like I do. In fact, it might even be bad juju, but sometimes my extroverted impulses take over.

I think the source of my pride is a result of the fact that none of what I learned came easily. I’m not known for my patience or physical coordination. Writing a novel was nearly the hardest thing I ever accomplished. I’d put parenthood first, standing on my head second, and drafting my first book maybe third. The most fully realized people I know are certified yoga instructors and when I am upside down, I pretend to be a little more like them.

I try as much as possible to intertwine my writing life with yoga practice because the two disciplines have similarities. They require flexibility, being inured to the frustration of what doesn’t come easily, and living without guarantees. I redefine myself every time I get to work. Just when I think I know who I am, oops, I fall over and land on the dog

I once read that Michelangelo’s masterpiece David walked straight out of the stone into his magnificent reality. It’s easy to imagine that this is what genius is—an effortless understanding of the glory within, but I would miss the headstands if I were a genius.

A little succeeding after lots of failing makes the next days work that much easier.


  1. Great post! I've always wanted to practice yoga, but don't have the patience for the poses. Maybe I'll try again:)

  2. I love your comparison of yoga and writing. But don't feel bad about Michelangelo--he stopped painting for 23 years after finishing the Sistine Chapel. Even geniuses struggle (and I bet he couldn't stand on his head either!).

  3. What a great analogy, Jen. Not to mention yoga requires patience, which is something I could use more of! You've inspired me to try my hand at yoga (though I could never stand on my head...)