Practicing Yoga Through Writing

This fall I returned to Milwaukee after a year in Washington, D.C. The move back home allowed me to re-see familiar spaces, including where I practice yoga-asana and where I write. Though seemingly unrelated, yoga and writing have blended for me, as I’ve constructed a single contemplative-working space. In this week’s post, I ask about the spaces that energetically nourish, revitalize, and activate work for justice.

My return to Milwaukee allowed me to feel/sense more clearly the need to change my home space. A lot still feels off about my home, and I’m still thinking about how to downsize—a choice rooted in privilege and mobility that calls for greater responsibility. I’m thinking, for example, about how to take up and heat less space in a household of only two people.

Within this context of re-seeing space and re-thinking hOMe, my desire for a blended yoga-asana and writing-work space became and remains absolutely clear. That is, I want to have my writing desk physically positioned within dedicated yoga space.

It doesn’t follow any logic (and certainly not any design advice!) to fit yoga mats between a bookshelf and writing desk. I’ve considered other layouts, other spatial arrangements. Yet, the only thing that feels right—the only strong YES in my body—is the close proximity of yoga to writing props. In this way, close proximity represents a close relationship.

In the fall, as I was arranging this space (and buying a large new rug to tie it together), I had a vivid dream. I saw myself moving with strength and grace on the yoga mat—practically gliding from a standing half-moon pose into the chair before me. I visualized an easeful movement from the mat to the desk, from my fingers gripping yoga blocks to pressing laptop keys, from eyes softly glancing downward to facing forward toward the screen.

In the few months since returning home, visualizing this movement, and following my strong YES to create shared yoga-work space, I’m beginning to see my dream materialize. I’m noticing more and more that I’m practicing yoga through writing.

So, why am I sharing this post about my yoga-writing space?

Because it’s reminding me to listen to inner guidance, to the strong YES. Even when (especially when) intuitive messages counter all-best-advice, I need to honor the wisdom within. For too long, I’ve prioritized external measures or guidance over my own knowing. I want to re-prioritize, which means getting better at listening to myself. Currently, the yoga mat and the keyboard (two seemingly unrelated, but for me deeply connected objects) invite deeper listening.

Because the more that I align my everyday work (writing and activism, especially) with my spiritual life, the more I am able to flow freely. This yoga-writing space represents, for me, a tangible reminder to align all aspects of life with my deepest commitment to justice. To find alignment, I need to feel within my body, yet also abandon the “shoulds” defining how my yoga, writing, or other practices take shape.

Because this week has been so intense that I’m still writing, writing, writing about all that’s occurred—and not in a way that I’m ready to share yet. Again, listening to the strong YES, I know that I need to write, but be willing to let the writing sit and simmer and take its time before emerging into the world. Again, I can see connections with and lessons from my yoga practice, including the reminder to write daily—and without expectations, including the expectation that I’m ready to share.

Certainly, there are days when I feel guilty about writing instead of spending time on the yoga mat. There are also days when I feel guilty about prioritizing asana over what’s due next. And then there are days when I let go of guilt and see a more holistic version of yoga—one that includes and is practiced through writing. This more holistic version is represented byand nourished within physical space.

Whether on the mat, in the chair, or curled around the laptop (as I am now), may I learn to stand TALL and TRUE through daily practice. I send love for the work, the resistance ahead.

I’d also love to hear about your practices and your spaces. What fires you up, ignites action, or allows you to emerge more fully into the world?

Author: Beth Godbee

I’m an educator living in Washington, D.C. with connections to many places, including Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Georgia. I write from my identities as a white, feminist teacher and researcher; reiki and yoga practitioner; hiker and vegan. My deepest commitments are to equity and justice. These commitments lead me to write about intersectional identities, embodiment, and emotional literacies, among other matters. In this blog, I document my ongoing efforts, struggles, and attitude of “try-try again” to align with these commitments.

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