What Writing and Yoga Have in Common

 

“What Writing and Yoga Have in Common” has been sitting in my drafts since I first created this website. Seriously. I created the draft and found an image to feature, and then let it sit there, staring at me, every time I logged into my blog because try as I might, I continued to draw a blank. At the time, I didn’t know how to articulate what it is that draws me to these two practices.

Until that word finally fell out. Practice.

Suddenly it occurred to me that what I’ve always known about yoga—that there is no such thing as perfect—is also true of writing.

Like yoga, writing is a practice.

I’m a perfectionist by nature. No, seriously—you can ask my therapist. I put mounting expectations on myself and demand perfection in almost every area of my life—my relationships, my career, my freaking Instagram grid. Suffice it to say I am surprised that my two favorite pastimes each completely dismiss perfection. In contemplating their similarities, I realized they’ve each taught me a few valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: There is no such thing as perfect.

I often geek out to my non-yogi friends and family members about why I love yoga so much. I reply to their comments about not being flexible or “good” enough with: “That’s why it’s called a practice! Because there is no such thing as getting it right!” And it’s true.

I’ve seen yogis come to class and lie flat on their backs the entire time, but they showed up. I’ve spent more than a few hours staring blankly at a piece of paper, convinced I’ve used up all my words and no new ones will ever come out again, but I do my best, and that’s better than hiding.

I can never be a perfect writer. I can never be a perfect yogi. But perfection isn’t why I do it. The prize is in the process.

Lesson 2: Keep going.

The more I write, whether for work or leisure, the more I want to continue writing on a regular basis. I write at least six hours a day for work, and even still, I find myself keeping a journal and publishing more blogs lately than ever before. I feel better when I write, so I keep doing it. Even when my writing sucks, which it so often does, I open my laptop every morning and return to the blank, white page.

And I feel better when I practice yoga, so I keep doing it. The more I practice, the more alive I feel. And, sure, I get “better”, but even that is subjective. Some days, my practice feels about as perfect as can be. Other days, it sucks. And even when it does, I return to my mat.

Lesson 3: My possibilities are endless.

I am moved by the same energy—the same passion, the same drive, the same calling—when I practice yoga and when I write. When I step onto my yoga mat or grab a fresh sheet of paper, endless possibilities lie in front of me—I need only press pen to paper or foot to floor. And even though I know I can’t ever get it “right,” I am drawn back, like a drug, to the practice of both.

Yoga and writing have a multitude of commonalities, but the one that matters most to me is simple: they are what lights me up.

The space to create something new out of nothing. The challenge of showing up, even when it’s hard. The thrill of landing a new pose, or writing a beautiful piece of work … these are what keep me going.

 
YogaErika Voeller1 Comment