It may sound obvious, this idea of staying in the body—I mean, where else are we going to go? We live in our bodies. But as writers, we often hang out in our heads. As a result, we need more grounding than most folks. Walking, running, swimming, dancing—even working around the house can help ground you. Yoga works best for me.
Yoga is a body, mind, spirit practice—an extremely powerful practice—so it’s not just for the body. Yoga postures can be simple or complicated, easy or difficult, or sometimes all of these things at once, but as they ground the participant in physicality, they also help quiet the mind and magically nurture the spirit. (Yes, for me anyway, magically really is the right word.)
Besides asanas (postures) yoga involves breath work and meditation. Bringing pranayama (breath work) and meditation (stillness—or, an attempt at stillness anyway) into your yoga practice often manifests in daily life as a turning inward, which works well with visualization. This is of course what writers do all the time: we visualize our characters, or imagine the details of a setting, or literally picture plot points, the action.
In a yoga class, visualization might be different, might be used for relaxation, or healing. But it’s still the same mental muscle, so visualizing in yoga class or during your own personal yoga practice will help you in your writing. Visualization, of course, happens in the mind, and so you need a physical activity to bring you back into your body . . . And so the cycle goes, and before you know it, your novel—or picture book, or middle grade series, or screenplay, or song—is finished.
Our bodies hold our stories, sometimes in an obvious way. A sprained ankle in Paris, for example, has all the makings of a good story. But there are hidden stories too, that our bodies carry. Secret stories. Yoga can help writers access those stories.
Any type of writer—any type of artist—will benefit from practicing yoga, whether it’s at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. So spend time with your body on a yoga mat, or in the garden, or at the gym. Breathe, and listen. You might hear something that surprises you. When that happens, I know you’ll write it down.
Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter. She received a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College and an MA from New York University. She has been a performer, a music educator, and worked briefly in the music industry. She is the creator of Body of Writing, a practice combining yoga and writing that boosts creativity.
"Mimi fuses delicacy and power, heart and gut. Her writing and singing are inspiring, evocative and refreshing."
--Grammy award winning artist Rosanne Cash
Mimi's debut novel, Before Goodbye, was published by Skyscape Books. She resides with her young son in New Jersey. Shining Sea, her second novel, was published in May and is set on the coast of Maine. Perfect beach read!
SHINING SEA by Mimi Cross *
Price: $9.99 paperback, $5.99 eBook * Skyscape
About the Author
Mimi Cross is an author, singer, and songwriter. Grammy award–winning artist Rosanne Cash has described Cross’s writing and singing as “Fusing delicacy and power, heart and gut. Inspiring, evocative, and refreshing.” Cross received a bachelor of music from Ithaca College and an MA from New York University and is the creator of Body of Writing, a practice combining yoga and writing that boosts creativity. Her debut novel, Before Goodbye, was published by Skyscape. She resides with her young son in New Jersey.
Visit Mimi online at www.mimicross.com or follow her on Twitter @mimicross.