My colleague Stefanie Lipsey and I had dreamed of putting on a writing and Yoga retreat for many years. This past weekend was the manifestation of that dream as we hosted the Writing Yoga®Retreat at The Glen Cove Mansion, and it was absolutely magical. Over the weekend I may have joked around a bit about my tumultuous relationship with doing Yoga (especially the early morning classes, which I invariably skipped). But I think it was apparent to the participants how much the planning and creation of the weekend, as well as the writing exercises that we did, and the “where we were standing” for the weekend, were all based in Yoga practice.
We asked the participants to look within, to look for balance, to stretch themselves, to trust themselves, to go places they might not have thought to go (or even places they just might not have been willing to go). We asked them to do this in their writing and in their Yoga practice. Even if some people didn’t go to the Yoga classes, physically putting their bodies on the mats, they absolutely had the experience of participating in a Writing Yoga® weekend.
Yoga is the cultivation of your mind using a succession of steps such as meditation and contemplation and we certainly all did that this past weekend. Yoga is really a generic term for the physical, mental and spiritual practices one may undertake towards attaining a state of permanent peace. As writers, I think it sometimes feels as if we’ll never really attain permanent peace. Maybe as creators of fictional realities and characters and worlds we don’t even want to attain permanent peace! But I think that by looking at our writing through the lens of Yoga, which is what Writing Yoga® is, that we can get a little bit closer to that peace. One of the Yoga sutras (or aphorisms) define Yoga as “the stilling of the changing states of the mind.” I just love that. I experienced moments of that this weekend, in relation to my own writing as well as in running the retreat.
Our intention was to have the weekend be a nurturing and safe place for the participants in regard to their writing; in relation to doing or not doing the physical Yoga; in their exploration of voice, character and setting; and in the sharing of their work. I’m pretty sure we manifested that intention, and Stefanie and I very much look forward to doing it again next summer! And yes, I believe the air was quite full of fairy dust for three days!
Make sure to stop by Stefanie’s Writing Yoga® blog, a place for ideas and inspiration about writing and yoga, and starting this fall you can also stop by her Soundcliff Writing Spa page, a writing and creativity community where free writing inspiration is delivered weekly.