Anyone who has ever written a long piece has faced that dreaded feeling of running out of words, being stuck and unable to continue the story. That lack of creativity filled by procrastination otherwise known as the writer’s block. And while it is true that the one and only guaranteed method to overcome it is by actually writing, I have to say that since I started doing yoga it has helped me gain a little bit of creativity and loosen up to allow the words flow easier.
A good yoga session helps to gain mindfulness, which is something really valuable to avoid distractions when you are in front of a blank paper. Also, the poses on the mat stretch the muscles that get tight due to long hours sitting at your desk. And there is nothing like Savasana to relax and prepare to start writing. But besides these known facts, I’ve learned a few tricks through my yoga practice to encourage my fingers to start typing.
I don’t pretend that they’re the magical solution to the writer’s block, but they have certainly helped me to overcome it more often than not. That’s why I want to share these three techniques:
Vinyasa yoga is the style that synchronizes you body movements with the breath. One day, after staring at my empty screen for several minutes, it occurred to me that I could bring that concept into my writing.
So, even if I had no ideas in my mind, I took a long breath and while exhaling I wrote whichever sentence came to my mind. During the next inhalation, I read what I had written and got ready for the next exhalation, which came with another sentence. It didn’t matter if what I wrote was all pure non-sense, as Louis L’Amour once said: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on”. After a few cycles of breath, I was not only more relaxed, but the words that I was putting together started to make sense.
This is by far my favorite technique to avoid the writer’s block. There is no way you can avoid breathing, therefore there is no way you can avoid writing. Once you’ve done a few minutes of uninterrupted Vinyasa Writing, it is quite possible that you come up with more ideas; keep the flow and start editing once you’re satisfied with your progress.
Inversion poses such as headstand, handstand, Downward Facing Dog (or anything in which the heart level is above the head), are well-known for their creative benefits. The extra oxygen flow and the blood circulating faster in your brain can provide you with more clarity to solve any problem. Also, when the world turns upside down, you get a different perspective to find new answers or come up with a nice twist to your story.
Every now and then, when I’m really blocked, I take a few minutes to do any of these poses to see if somehow a great idea was stuck below my neck and needed a push to find its way to my head. Worst case scenario, it makes me laugh about how ridiculous my reasoning sounds.
If you can’t perform a perfect inversion, use a wall to support yourself or find an alternative to hang your head below your heart level.
Kundalini Creative Mantras
Kundalini yoga is a style that uses mantras to keep the mind present and aware. The Adi Mantra is normally used at the beginning of a session. It is used for tuning in to the divine flow and the self-knowledge within us. It means “I bow to the Creative Wisdom”, I bow to the Divine Teacher within; thus, by repeating it, we’re automatically creating a connection with that creativity that we’re lacking.
There is another powerful mantra passed down from Yogi Bhajan to boost creativity, it is Har Haray Hari Waheguru. Its four parts represent the cycle of infinite creativity, starting from the seed, then the flow of the creative force and its manifestation while showing joy along the process. It translates to “All aspects of the Creator Are Bliss”.
And if you don’t believe in the power of the specific mantras or don’t like to repeat unknown words for you, then create your own! The idea is to have a mental repetition that will help you concentrate. So, just sit down and Leeeet theee Woooords Beeeegiiiiin.
If you have the time to go away and spend several days writing and doing yoga, a yoga retreat is just perfect to avoid the writer’s block. If you like the idea, you can visit BookYogaRetreats.com and find the one that you like best. They even have retreats tailored for writers!