Becca has read my mind today as she writes about the way her body slows down in the winter. She says, “My chest feels heavy, as if the oxygen circulating through my heart has thickened.” What a perfect description of how I’ve been feeling lately. Becca asks us to consider these questions on this topic:

So, how about you? Do you find that physical activity inspires your creativity? What’s works best for you – walking, running, dancing, kickboxing? How do you get in touch with your body, and use that awareness to inform your writing? How do you keep your body and mind in balance?

I am becoming more and more aware of the way my body and mind are conjoined, like twins who cannot be separated. When I think too much (and over analyze as I’m wont to do), my body gets antsy, edgy; I feel a tightening in my chest that I can only work out through yoga or long, long walks with no destination in mind. When I don’t exercise, this tightness becomes settled in my body, and my mind begins to both slow down about the things I would like to consider – writing, living love in the world, good music – and begins to race about the trivial things – what bread to buy at the grocery store, how often to clean the cat litter, how to wear my hair today. Somehow, my mind knows when my body isn’t moving enough and seems to make up for it with a frenzy of energy.

So when I need to find balance, I stop everything else, roll out my yoga mat, and begin my practice. Sometimes it only takes ten minutes for me to feel myself settle back into an easy place; sometimes it can take me two hours. Sometimes yoga isn’t even enough; I have to then take a night off, watch a movie, lay on the couch and stare out the window, throw toy mice for my cats.

As I reread that paragraph, I sound like I’m so good at this, at this stopping, recentering thing. I’m not. I usually barrel through and find myself in worse shape than I was before, but I do know what I should do, and perhaps learning that is half the battle, to quote GI Joe.

What I do know is that when I’ve taken a long walk or had a good yoga practice my words seem to come from a more whole place. They come out with hues of meaning, not just pointy spikes of idea. And as a writer, I want subtlety in the words – that’s my style – so I need to work back to that.

Meanwhile, here in the last week of classes, I am simply trying to stay on a decent sleep schedule, but maybe I’ll force myself to stop for yoga today so that neither my words nor I suffer any more than we have to.