Writing and Yoga: The Two Things That Saved My Life by guest blogger @BrittSkrabanek

Today, I have the privilege of handing over my blog to author Britt Skrabanek. Britt and I have been friends since I interviewed her for my Eden’s Exchange Author series, and she included me in her Life Enthusiast Chronicles.

In sharing with one another, we discovered common passions.

Writing. Of course.

But also yoga.

Unlike Britt who is a yogi, I only returned to yoga recently. I attend hot yoga classes about four times a week and I’m loving it!

In reading Britt’s post, I now understand why I feel better than I have in a very long time. Britt explains it in her charming, no-nonsense style. Her words resonated loudly with me and I’m sure they will with you too.

Take it away, Britt!

* * * *

There are two things that saved my life. Writing and Yoga. They both require focus and patience, they help me understand myself and the world, and they allow me to be unapologetically free.

Nobody is ever going to come ask me for financial advice. And, that’s okay.

Besides the usual grammar question, it makes me feel very honored when people talk to me about Yoga and wellness.

Just this past week two coworkers shared their excitement with me about treating their bodies with kindness. One presented her green smoothie, her first attempt at breakfast in some time. The other told me he was wearing peppermint and eucalyptus oil to treat his allergies, so he could breathe better.

Also in the same week, Eden and I began discussing a guest post—one that was long overdue. Almost two years ago we did an author interview, but this time was going to be completely different.

And, here we are.

yoga on the beach

Yoga on the beach

Eden, a regular meditation practitioner herself, told me about her recent journey with Yoga. Her body was craving movement, and a newly found love for a regular practice helped her become more focused and inspired when she truly needed it.

When you’re a writer, your mind has to stay simultaneously relaxed and sharp. Otherwise, it’s a struggle like nothing else. It looks different for everybody, and sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as being diagnosed with writer’s block. You might still be writing—but devoid of passion, going through the motions and feeling like you’ve run into a wall.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert Yogi. I may not be the most natural speaker in front of students, or the technical teacher who knows the name of every muscle and bone. What I do know is what feels good and why it does.

I haven’t taught Yoga in a couple of years, but my training served as a guidebook to a better life. And I have made countless positive changes since I began dedicating my life to wellness.

However when I moved to Portland a couple of years ago, I started losing my practice. Uprooting your life is never easy, and the effects of those changes take a while to digest. I explored some new forms of exercise—I started running, something I loathed all my life, and I even joined a gym, something else I couldn’t stand.

Over the past six months I pushed myself to return to Yoga. And, I mean it when I say pushed.

morning meditation

Morning meditation

I started getting up a few minutes earlier each day to meditate and stretch. I got into guided meditation at night to heal my busy mind after a long day at work. I started practicing several days a week, even when I felt like I didn’t have the time.

Well, I made time for it. The demanding job excuse…so what? The novel won’t write itself excuse…so what? I knew I was doing the right thing for me and my body.

Over the past decade Yoga has exploded in the West, and there are many who claim it is a bastardization of its original form. The image of a skinny woman in expensive active wear doing impossible poses is something we started to associate with Yoga.

But, it’s so much more than that. And no matter how you come to Yoga, or which style you take, the benefits will take precedence.

A lot of people are attracted to the fitness aspect of Yoga. Then, they notice that they’re making healthier food choices and they’re handling conflicts with a sense of ease.

cat yoga

Cat yoga

That’s because the mind and body are deeply connected, more than we’ll ever know. Yoga postures are meant to prepare the body for meditation. Because if the body is functioning well, the mind has the space it needs to soar.

Think about it for a second. If something’s wrong with your body—you have the flu, you broke your toe, you experience chronic back pain—that’s all you can think about. Your mind is consumed by the unhappiness your body feels. When your body is happy, your mind can move on to other things.

I’m biased and I think everyone should and CAN do Yoga. If you’re a creative person? You absolutely should consider it for these reasons. My writing has transformed since I started a regular practice.

I’ve always been an active person, but Yoga is perfect for any body. Dance, especially when it got very serious for me, was not perfect for any body. There was an unattainable perfection staring back at me in the mirror. In Yoga it was just…come as you are.

Where else do we have that kind of permission in life? To just be.

On our Yoga mats we have a safe and beautiful space to explore. And it’s truly amazing what can happen when we take the time to listen to ourselves.

* * * *

Beautiful and true words, Britt. THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom. 

Readers, please offer Britt some <3. Comment and ask her questions about yoga, fitness, and wellness. Or anything creative for that matter! She is, after all, the author of three books and a terrific addition to your network.

* * * *

Connect To Britt

britt summer

Website/blog | Amazon Author PageTwitter @BrittSkrabanek

Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube Goodreads

Britt Skrabanek is the spirited indie novelist of Nola Fran Evie, Everything’s Not Bigger, and Beneath the Satin Gloves. Her blog is a whimsical snapshot of life, musings, and the glory of the written word. She is blissfully married, has two delightfully incorrigible cats, and loves to experience the world—all of its quirky beauty inspires her endlessly. When she’s not writing, she’s a bike-riding Yogi who loves to dance.

 

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25 Comments

Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

25 responses to “Writing and Yoga: The Two Things That Saved My Life by guest blogger @BrittSkrabanek

  1. I recently fractured my foot and am sorely missing the ability to yoga, or any form of exercise really. Your story reminded me why I’ve been missing it so much, (the body, mind connection).
    Loving the cat yoga reference. It put a smile on my dial. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a bummer with the foot! I was teaching private lessons to a coworker, but she broke her toe and we pretty much had to stop Yoga. The only thing she could manage was some Yin and Pilates. If you’re not already doing those two styles (within reason), they are good options for stretching and strengthening while you’re healing.

      I practice A LOT of cat Yoga! It’s very strange and relaxing. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As soon a I saw the word yoga I knew who Eden had invited over. What a joy to see my two favorite women, excluding my wife of course, in the same place. Yoga has always fascinated me, but I still haven’t tried it, officially. I enjoy long bike rides, Tai Chi, even fought and trained in karate for a number of years, so I can’t figure out what keeps me from yoga. My meditation takes place far out at sea and I suppose their is some parts of yoga keeping my balance out there. If I lived near Britt or you, Eden, I’m sure I would be there twisting myself into bliss.

    Wonderful article Britt!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dannie, you’re always so supportive of me, and thanks for your great comment for Britt too. I’m sure you would enjoy yoga. As I’m just discovering, there are so many different types of it. I practise Flow and Hatha, and you don’t have to be twisted into a pretzel to gain benefits from it. We work at what is comfortable for our bodies, and over time flexibility and balance become easier. Thanks again for visiting here.
      😉
      xo
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks a million, Eden! Always lovely to work with you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post, Britt! One wonders what the cat thinks…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. No one does cat yoga like Britt! 🙂

    Excellent post Britt. Because of you I’ve started taking more and more time in the morning to do some yoga-type stretches to get my blood moving and to help feel energized for the day.

    Many moons ago, when I had trouble sleeping, I did some yoga to help me relax for the night. When I was done I would lie on the mat and close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing. Not sure if that’s considered meditation or not, but doing all that helped me to sleep better. I still do this when I have trouble getting to sleep.

    I would love to have you as a yoga instructor. Too bad we don’t live closer. Xoxo

    Eden – xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Casey doll, that makes me so happy to hear that you are taking the time for some stretching in the morning. It doesn’t take much, but it’s sooooooo yummy.

      I think lying on the mat is one of the most relaxing things in the world. Besides Savasana at the end of practice, I like to do it at random times because it’s the perfect reset.

      I’d love to teach you! In a way it sounds like we’re already practicing together. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: The Two Things That Saved My Life | Britt Skrabanek

  7. I do yoga once or twice a week because I know it’s good for me. I wish I could say I loved it, but I don’t. But I do love its benefits. It’s so important to maintain our flexibility and balance as we get older. I don’t really get any meditative benefits from it, but at least two out of three isn’t bad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie, that’s awesome that you incorporate Yoga into your routine for the benefits. A lot of people do that without ever loving it, and that’s okay. Sometimes after years of practice, that can change…at least it did for me and other students I’ve known over the years.

      I kind of had similar thoughts about running. Since I stopped dancing, I needed more cardio in my life so I decided to run. I ran for about six months, then stopped for another six. I picked it back up again this fall and I’m starting to really enjoy it. Shocks the hell out of me when I’m running…I’m like, wow look at me go! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I keep telling myself that I should do yoga, but I am probably the world’s most inflexible person ever and that last time I tried it I was frustrated and angry within a few minutes. I’m a very impatient person you see, haha. But I guess that’s why yoga… or at least meditation might be useful for me, no?

    Lovely post as always, Britt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Zen A, I’ve practiced meditation for more than 25 years and yoga only seriously within the last couple of years (on and off). I’m extremely flexible but have a poor sense of balance, so even though I can do the poses, I was unable to hold them for long. Over time, however, my balance and strength have improved. I would imagine your flexibility might as well if you stuck to it. Like you, I’m extremely impatient and meditation helps slow down time. It is helpful for many things and I would highly recommend it as a daily discipline. For me, impatience has to do with wanting things to happen quickly, which means “not wasting time.” Meditation helps you to focus so you can spend time wisely.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, appreciate it,
      eden

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zen, flexibility is something that scares a lot of people away from Yoga. But it’s even more of a reason to consider beginning a practice, because over time your body will start to respond and open.

      It doesn’t matter what other people look like in the poses. Yoga is one of the few times you don’t have to compete or worry about others. I understand studios can be intimidating, but there are plenty of online classes available. If you prefer a community environment, you have to hunt down the right studio you feel comfortable in.

      Like

  9. It’s always great to read about your journey Britt – although I’ve never experienced cat yoga, that one’s my particular favourite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m heading into pilates this week, starting something new, adding it to my fitness grab bag that I can pull from whenever I feel the need. Yoga, OTOH, feels like it should be done ever day. Every single day. Maybe I should add a little in the morning or evening before bed. I’m glad you’ve been pushing yourself. Who knows where this will take you…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pilates is fantastic, Jilanne. I picked that up again for a about a year, but I ended up canceling my gym membership. I’m doing more Yoga and I started taking online barre classes (quite a few Pilates moves incorporated here).

      I highly recommend a little stretching every morning! You don’t need to do a full on class to notice the benefits in your bod and mind. I take about 10 minutes every day for meditation and stretching.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent post, Britt. I’m so psyched that you’re writing more about yoga. I really do learn a lot from your info as you’re a trusted source to me. I believe the things you say! 🙂 Not that anyone is trying to scam me on yoga, but I think you know what I mean. Kind of like what you alluded to with the association between yoga and skinny women wearing expensive workout gear. It can be a turn-off depending on who you talk to.

    Cat yoga looks divine — where do I sign up?

    Like

    • Fancy seeing you here, Kate doll! Sorry it took me so long to make it over here.

      That is so awesome to hear! I have definitely been writing more about Yoga these past six months or so. I’ve reconnected with it, so I’ve been sharing the journey with you guys. Very cool to hear that you’re getting some useful info…music to any teacher’s ears, of course!

      Plenty of cat yoga here. You’re welcome to come over any time! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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