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Feeling Stuck? Summer is a Great Time to Be Spontaneous! [WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2012]

Jump in a jalopy, splash at the shore, or kick up the grass and go on foot because it's time to get outside and do something different. Whenever you feel as if you're standing still or moving backwards, try changing directions. Move forward differently. 

What is one area of your life you would like to change? When we sit quietly, answers often appear as if by magic. 

WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2012: Your Summer Adventure

LUMI SIT:  Summer Stillness

Relax, the days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Is there a question that has been weighing on your mind?  Write it down. Close your eyes and breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise. Do you feel sad, angry, betrayed? Emotions can only hurt if we give them the power to do so. As you sit quietly, imagine the ocean. We are so small in the big ocean. Take a thought and drop it into the sea. Repeat. Relax. Breathe.

When you are done, imagine any negative thoughts on an adventure. Use...

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Mother's Day is Your Day Too! Make Your Own Creativity Retreat & Honor the Mothers [Writing Yoga® PROMPT #2009]

Before Covid, I taught several yoga classes a week and was either presenting Writing Yoga® workshops or planning them during every second of my spare time. I miss my yoga students! But I had no time to focus on doing the work I was meant to do. Now, I can serve even more people, take time to practice yoga and write more poems too.

Just a few lifestyle tweaks can work big magic. Mothers tend to be major multi-takers who put the self-care task at the bottom of the list. Mothers mother. It's what we do. Teachers, nurses, your BFF might mother you too. 

The Writing Yoga® method is a powerful way to connect with your creative self, feel healthy and inspired, and still live a peaceful life. There are many working parts but ANYONE can do the essentials: 1) SIT & relax  2) WRITE in a journal and 3) MOVE the body in some way each and every day.  Ultimately, they make us feel LUMINOUS or "Lumi" for short. Aka: Lumi Sit, Lumi Write & Lumi...

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A Word for Every Teacher and Student at the Start of the New Year: Abundance

Our principal asked us to pick a word at the start of the school year. The word would be our North Star to guide our goals, inform our lessons, and inspire us to do great work. School initiatives sometimes fall away as the year progresses, but a good administrator won't let that happen.

She didn't let that happen. We revisited our words at the start of the new year. What would your word be?

It feels poetic to pick just one word. No long lists, no big visions, no novels. I thought about it for days. Nothing felt right. If you know my work, you know that there are three words I think about a lot: calm, creative, and compassionate. It is my desire to see all students, teachers and classrooms feel that way in every school around the world.  But these words can't be separated. 

Why?  It is easy to be calm if we feel safe. When we feel safe, we are free to find creative solutions, work harder, and take big risks. Safety means we are not threatened...

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Get Ready to Meet Your Uninvited Shadow - A Writing Prompt

Today, as you sit to write, pull up an extra chair. Welcome your shadow. Good morning, shadow. I don’t like you. I don’t like what you say in public. I don’t like what you hide in private. I detest your habits, mannerisms, biting sarcastic tongue.

Look at the way it makes itself at home, slurps your tea and devours your lunch. What nerve! Your shadow will chew with its mouth open and spit all over your keyboard. It will make you angry. Hold it. Pause. Can you use that feeling (whatever ‘that feeling’ is) to generate a scene?  Which story or poem of yours wants to meet the slob hogging up your chair?  Name it. Write it. Now.

 

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Weather-Eye: Starting Summer with Boats and Two Poems by Peter Vanderberg

Pete Vanderberg knows the sea and he knows his way around the page too. He writes about family, the Long Island beaches, and sailing, but there’s a flavor that comes from his experience serving in the US Navy that makes this book so unique.

Peter Vanderberg and I went to grad school together (disclaimer) and I have always loved these poems. It is wonderful to see them come alive in print.  Weather-Eye is a physically beautiful book. It is a collaboration of paintings by his artist brother, James Vanderberg, and poems by Peter. 

I am grateful that he is allowing me to share two favorites with you.  Take this book with you to the beach this summer. It will change the way you see the tides. 

– Stefanie 

 

Splice

Father with three sons in a sailboat,
minds’ eyes in four directions
until drawn in to a rope turned line
by his word & the bay beneath us.

Difference between a knot & tangle
is the knot will hold & easily...

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OFF THE YOGA MAT: A novel excerpt by Cheryl J. Fish

Nathaniel and Gil entered the stark warehouse below Canal Street; sage-scented fumes engulfed them and new age music droned.  A hand-written placard listed all the sample sessions

“I’ll grab a shot of wheatgrass juice and check out Sufi dancing,” Gil said. “You can go  for a chakra consultation.”

“What’s a chakra?” Nate asked.

“They come in many colors,” Gil said, walking away.

Before Nate could decide which session he’d tolerate, a woman with red bangs and toned arms handed him a mat. “Don’t be shy,” she said.  “I’m Lulu.  Welcome to yoga.”

Nathaniel noted her light brown complexion and a curl adhered to her forehead; some kind of green-and-black tattoo shimmied below her shoulder blade.  He decided it was a large frog.

“I’m not a yoga guy,” he said, shrugging.

“Come on in. You’re on the path.” She smiled and held open...

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Steady, My Gaze: Why You Should Read This Book by Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Like the glowing match on its cover, Marie-Elizabeth Mali’s book, Steady, My Gaze, is spiritual chiaroscuro, a quiet conversation between light and darkness. Reading Steady, My Gaze, makes me feel as if I’m on retreat. I’m uplifted one moment, carried away in gorgeous imagery and masterful writing, and then slammed by reality in the next. Although, in these poems, the slamming is beautiful too.

“Silent Retreat,” The final section, is among my favorite. The words of Adyashanti, the retreat leader, are threaded throughout each poem. “The image you have of yourself/ is unworthy because it’s an image,/ unreal. You interpret it to mean/ you are unworthy, but it’s the image/ that’s unworthy, not you.”  The next stanza is in the speaker’s voice, “Resonant body strings, our sitting/ thrums the room./ At the back of the hall, a toilet/ flushes like thunderclap.”  Such is life; the...

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“Oh, No, Don’t Work Us Too Hard Now!” Words in Motion: On Teaching Creative Writing and Yoga to Senior Citizens by Melanie Pappadis Faranello

When I arrived at Federation Square, an independent living facility for senior citizens, I went to the dining hall and began arranging the chairs in a circle for our first class. The Connecticut Humanities Council’s Center for the Book approved my proposal for a course combining creative writing with yoga and I was excited to see how it would go.
When the seniors arrived and took their seats, I explained that our regular chair yoga that I had previously taught to many of them would be a little different this time around, that we would also be doing some creative writing together. I was met with blank stares and concerned looks. “Writing?!” one woman exclaimed, “Oh, no, don’t work us too hard now!”
We began with our usual mediation and then I explained we were going to begin warming up our minds with our first creative writing exercise. In the spirit of Yoga, meaning union, we were going to be exercising our bodies and our minds.
After...
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How to Find Your “One True Voice” by Barbara Joy Beatus

In honor of National Novel Writing Month, we have a terrific guest blogger! Enjoy some wisdom from writer and yoga instructor, Barbara Joy Beatus, and good luck to everyone who is writing 50,000 for NaNoWriMo. – S. Lipsey

 
My friend once read a first draft of a novel I wrote and mentioned how it sounded like me. “What do you mean?” I asked her, surprised. But she couldn’t explain it. It was something she just felt. I only understood what she meant after I read a close friend’s novel and felt the same way. There was a texture, a quality, to her writing that sounded like her. Most of the time it was covered up by the voices of the characters, but every so often it would peek out from certain phrases and I’d smile to myself.
 
Literary critics often herald voice as the distinguishing characteristic of writers. They say things like, “her voice was so unique” or “the plot had problems, but his voice was...
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