Blocking Writer’s Block – Find Your Asana (Like Pearl)

Pearl Precarious.

I’m back to blocking writer’s block today, inspired by two main muses–yoga (my practice) and Pearl (my dog).

The Sanskrit term for a yoga posture is “asana,” meaning seat.  As many yoga teachers will tell you, to get into a posture–even a standing pose–you need to find your seat.  This does not mean to find the spot where you are at ease, but a spot where, over time, you may find ease–that is,  a posture that you steadily maintain for that time.

Pearl, my fifteen-year old dog, is a master of finding such ease even in the most precarious of positions–the edge of a bed, the center of a stack of clothes folded into a suitcase, the bag that we jam her into when we are trying to sneak her into some dog-free zone.

Despite her adaptability, however, Pearl can be quite particular about her chosen “seat.”  If left to her own devices, she will almost always seek out the softest spot–the one place on the bed where she can get down to some high thread-count sheets, the piece of paper or pillow that has  inadvertently dropped onto the floor.

Pearl Left To Her Own Devices

Neither Pearl nor many great yogis suffer much from writer’s block.  Their presence alone tends to be their message, their written words immaterial.   Nonetheless, they offer valuable lessons to the struggling writer: learn to make yourself comfortable wherever and whenever you are.  Your seat is your page.  Settle into it without too much regard to external circumstances–in a subway car, for example, or train;  while waiting in line or for a doctor’s appointment;  whenever you have a moment–even when you are not sure whether you have an idea.

In the midst of your openesss to circumstance, however, be choosey!  Like Pearl, exercise a certain discrimination as to where you and your page physically plant yourself within the parameter of anywhere.  On the subway, for example, if one seat feels better than another–for me, it’s the ones at the ends of the cars–sit in that seat.  If one side of a cafe isn’t working, change to the other.

Up to a point, that is!  The yogi takes his asana slowly, careful of alignment and placement, and then, when all that’s as good as it will get,  the yogi makes, through his breath, space.   (BTW, by his, I mean, her.)

Use your writing as a kind of breath to open up your physical and mental space, as a breath to make your page a place where you can survive.

(If you feel like someone is looking over your shoulder, congratulate yourself on finding a reader.)

In Her Preferred Position

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2 Comments on “Blocking Writer’s Block – Find Your Asana (Like Pearl)”

  1. Sian Says:

    This post is a keeper. I never noticed the similarity before and don’t suffer from blocks myself (rather from the inability to stop), but it’s a marvelous metaphor. I’ll hold the post and send to the next suffereer I run across.

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