Monday, August 19, 2013

A Pragmatic Yoga And Writing Practitioner

Today while on Feedly my eye was caught by Writing/Yoga Connection at Writers' Rumpus. This is an elegant essay by Carol Gordon Ekster in which she compares two of her loves, writing and yoga. With both "growth is measured in minute increments" and "Both passions take years to master." So true, so true.

Gordon Ekster treats yoga much as I would meditation, though that isn't at all unreasonable, since meditation is one of the branches of yoga. This suggests she does a much better job of unifying her yoga practice than I do mine. In my universe, there is yoga, and there is meditation. She is also far more spiritual about both yoga and writing than I am. I tend to be practical rather than spiritual.

While reading Writing/Yoga Connection, I thought of Elizabeth Grace Saunders' essay Letting Go of Perfectionism in Manage Your Day-to-Day. In it she writes about creative perfectionists and creative pragmatists. She uses the terms in relation to the way perfectionism can hinder people getting work done. To me, creative pragmatism is more of a world view. I almost always have some kind of practical use in mind for the things I take on, creative or otherwise.

For instance, like Gordon Ekster, I maintain what I think of as a practice for both yoga and writing. With yoga, I'm not interested in captivating my body or connecting myself to my soul, the way she is. While I've been dabbling in yoga for around thirteen years, I've been maintaining a short, nearly daily practice for two or so for one major reason--pain management. I'm trying (and, for the most part, succeeding) to control osteoarthritis. I've got a pragmatic goal. I have an intention, but I'm probably not using the word the way yogis and meditators do.

Writing goes back to grade school. I don't write for joy, but because it is what I do. If something is part of your identity, it is functional. I think in terms of writing almost all the time, seeing around me things I can take from other fields--business, martial arts, management, even engineering, right now--to apply to mine. You might say that I'm a taker, a user. I tend to feel, as Nora Ephron's mother did, that "everything is copy." At least, everything is something I can apply somehow.

I totally follow Gordon Ekster's argument that there is a connection, or, maybe, a similarity of some sort, between  yoga and writing. But, then, as I said, I find connections between writing and everything. My pragmatism leads me to glean, to collect from everywhere.

1 comment: said...

Okay, so coming across this on the web was totally crazy! And I think however you view writing and long as you're doing a beautiful thing. I hope the yoga continues to help your pain management and that you touch lives with your writing.