I knew since I was little, when I'd pretend to read picture books by making up stories based on the imagery, that I wanted to be a writer: no ifs, ands, or buts. How I got on that path professionally isn't a story for right now; all you really need to know is that I have aspirations to pen creative work outside of my job. There are many obstacles that come with trying to make my other passions happen amid the grind, such as feeling too drained from writing during my nine to five to switch gears and put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) even when I do have inspiration. There's also writer's block that even the most established authors fall prey to. So, when I saw that my favourite yoga teacher, Adriene Mishler from the YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene, posted a flow devoted to writers, I was intrigued.
Yoga For Writers is just under 30 minutes, and Adriene explains in the YouTube description field that it "invites you to choose a soft and easy approach that welcomes you to show up as you are." It promises to "rejuvenate the brain and body," and, according to Adriene, "If you are not a writer or an aspiring writer, this supportive practice is a great reminder to everyone who is working toward a goal (whatever the goal may be) that your process toward the goal is perhaps what matters most. Create a healthy flow of energy to get those creative juices flowing. Write your own story."
It all sounded very lovely and welcoming, but I was sceptical before pressing play one Sunday evening, despite the fact that I always find Adriene's flows to be beneficial for my body and mind (this particular neck and shoulders flow often helps to relieve my sinus pain). I must say, though, that Yoga For Writers was gentle yet effective in helping me unwind, ease tension in my neck, back, and hips specifically, and create much needed space from stress I was feeling.
Poses that I liked included Child's Pose, Seated Forward Fold with a generous knee bend, and a lot of the neck work incorporated throughout. These were especially great because I tend to be tight from sitting at a desk (my posture isn't the best) and sore from weightlifting on weekdays. There was also a moment where you stretched your wrists toward the conclusion of the flow, which felt wonderful for my hands that never quite seem to rest.
Casey Urban, a yoga teacher with 10 years of experience, whom we've also interviewed in the past, told me via email that the spine twists in this particular flow are important to help maintain spinal health. "The muscles along the spine often get tense from sitting or standing all day as we usually favour a side to lean into our weight," she said, adding that wrist health is also essential for people who not only write a lot on computers, but spend time on their phones as well. Personally, she would like to "encourage yoga students to press into the fingertips during Downward Dog or any arm balances to take off some pressure from the wrists."
The affirmations Adriene recited in her flow were calming and reassuring. "Listen to your body and respond sweetly, generously, kindly," she said at one point. She also stressed the importance of maintaining "loving awareness." My favourite part was at the end when she had you lie in modified Corpse Pose and repeat the following phrase after her: "When I sit down, my ideas flow freely." It was inspiring, and I ended up writing a poem shortly after. Sure, I could have most likely written something regardless — some of my best work is thought up after midnight on weeknights — but this flow was a nice way to clear my thoughts before finding words to write down. It's good to take a step back from the buzz to pinpoint that pearl of an idea when everything's a little less loud.
I will definitely revisit this flow and I'd recommend it for creatives, but also for anyone who needs some stress relief. More than anything, it was relaxing and, as I mentioned before, eased tension in my body. One person even commented on the YouTube video that the flow was nice for when they were feeling under the weather. "I've had a cold for quite a while now and could only move very gently. This was perfect." Ready your mat, steady your breath, and check out Adriene's Yoga For Writers ahead.