Both yoga and writing are a practice, a salve, and an exploration. A way to connect us more deeply to ourselves, make sense of our human experiences and, in sharing our own voice and journey, connect us more directly to others by way of our shared humanity.

Our life experiences are part of our visceral fabric, so our creative self-expression is already part of who we are. In connecting to our bodies, we are able to feel our way through this inner creative landscape, using embodied intuition to discover what wants to be expressed. The breath can keep us rooted in the present. Our inner knowing and intuition can connect us to our Muse, and support us in letting him or her lead.

“Body is not marble. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to protect, contain, support, and fire the spirit and soul within it, to be a repository for memory, to fill us with feeling—that is the supreme psychic nourishment.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

It’s also a mercurial lesson I have learned over and over again: that the better care we take of our bodies, the more easily our writing, creativity, and life can flow.

In the way that yoga allows us to build awareness of and through the body, it deepens our sensory connection to the world, and also allows us the space to strengthen our “Self as Witness” muscle as I call it, that observational larger Self that yoga and mindfulness practices help us discover. From this place, we can begin to see all of our human experiences -sacred, mundane, and even profane- as honorable and sacred, and not have to confine or deny any of our emotions or experiences of them. Yoga and creative self-expression can both be containers and vehicles for developing and exploring this with freedom while we give the BodySoul a voice.

 

“What if we were to imagine for a moment that the body informs the soul…gives the blank page, the ink, and the pen with which the soul can write upon our lives? Suppose the body is a God in its own right, a teacher, a mentor, a certified guide?” Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Like Dr. Estes suggests above, we can connect to, and deepen our appreciation of our own body, mind & humanity as we move on the mat and the page, and then carry that understanding with us as we move through a world that is both beautiful and, at times, overwhelming.

Both yoga and writing can create the space for us to slow down, connect in, navigate change (especially as we transition now further into fall), and support us in honoring the way that the body is a vessel for emotion and experience. Mindful movement and creative self-expression can be vehicles of self-sustaining support, portals for transformation, and allow us to embrace a sense of wholeness, fullness, and sensuality by embracing all of who we are. That may be one of the ways we carry our freedom with us off the mat, and that itself is truly beautiful.

 

Lindsey O’Neill is an Integrative Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga teacher, Yoga and Writing Workshop Facilitator, and Poet. She completed her yoga training through the New England School of Integrative Yoga Therapeutics in 2012.

Lindsey teaches with a focus on breath, alignment, grounded expansion, and embodied awareness-elements that support practitioners in connecting to their own sense of center. She believes the tools, evolution, and perspective gained through a regular mindfulness-based yoga practice can support our lives on and off the mat, and that both yoga and creative self-expression are indispensable art forms capable of enhancing our wellness, inspiring our passion, and creating embodied social change.

You can find her at Exhale Spa Back Bay on Tuesday & Thursday 7:30 am, and Beacon Hill Yoga on Thursdays, 6-7:15 pm and 7:30-8:45 pm. Learn more about Lindsey at: www.thelindseyoneill.com.