To thine own physical vessel be true: A writer and yoga teacher reflects on what it means to write from embodied space
By Lindsey O’Neill
Why I am passionate about teaching yoga & writing at Grub Street this June? So many reasons. My writing has changed since incorporating yoga into my own writing practice: my language has become more textured, my sensory details have become more evocative, and the road map guide to my own visceral memory, the life experiences we all have that then become stored within our physical bodies, has become more familiar and easier to navigate.
The emotions that are innately tied to memory have also become easier to revisit, script, and communicate with a bit of an observational maturity, and I have found a deeper understanding of and appreciation for myself as a writer and a human being, by getting to know my body better in order to better know my writing. Thinking, brainstorming, and writing are not just a linear and cerebral process. And our body is not just a disconnected vehicle we use to type our words onto the page. Mind and Body are long lost friends.
I think a lot of writers often believe the old adage that artists have to suffer in order to create. I must admit, I’ve thought it at times. Long nights staring at a computer screen, forcing myself to finish a draft even though my brain has shut down and my body is revolting with small hand tremors, my over-used eyes burning. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When we begin our writing and brainstorming process from a place of physical centeredness and awareness, the space that is the by-product of a mindful yoga practice, our writing comes easier and feels better, as do our body and spirit. We become more efficient, we have a renewed appreciation for the role that stored body memory plays in our drafting process, and we have a deeper reverence for just how important the role of “self-care” is in our day-to-day. From here, we are able to step back out into the world around us with a heightened sense of awareness of our surroundings, within a physically energized vessel, ready to soak up more raw material to incorporate into our written work.
Lindsey O’Neill is a Boston-based creative non-fiction writer and yoga teacher who completed her 200HR Mind/Body Integrative Yoga Therapeutics certification in Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga under the guidance of Bo Forbes. This particular “whole being” style of yoga, with its multi-layered approach to mind, body, and spiritual awareness, is one that grows richer each time we step onto our yoga mat and ground into our physical body before picking up our pen. As we grow our physical, mental, and spiritual yoga practice and continue to peel away outer layers in order to access our authentic self, we simultaneously create a clear and direct channel to our mind, creative self-expression, and expressive written voice. Lindsey will teach Yoga & Writing at Grub Street on June 1st, and has taught Seminars at Wentworth Institute of Technology as well. She is humbled and honored to be part of Grub Street.
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