Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't Neglect Your Gall Bladder

Sometimes I have the tendency, particularly when I’m not writing, to be a tad anxious and high strung. Cue: guffaw of hearty laughter from family and friends. Over the years I discovered that writing every day is an antidote. I think it has something to do with the “falling into the dark pool effect” (I’ve written about this before in my post “Caution, Writing May Be Hazardous to Your Skin.) The gist of it is that writing, like any activity that a person can throw himself into, can be absorbing. And by absorbing I mean that it’s like a drug to me. I know this makes me sound like a loon. The point is I get caught up in what I’m writing, and I lose track of time and my surroundings. Climbing out of that spell can be disconcerting. In other words, I need an antidote for my antidote.

Enter: yoga. Let me preface this by saying that I am not what anyone would call an athlete. When I was growing up I didn’t play sports. Unless you count kickball or dodge ball. And I didn't do these activities well. I was the stereotypical last kid chosen for teams in PE. Yes, they still did this when I was in school, and it ranks right up there with the most humiliating experiences in life. To say that I am not a physical person is putting it mildly. But a few years ago I found yoga. Or maybe….duh duh duh…it found me.

It came in the form of a dvd at the library (which I have since purchased. The dvd. Not the library). I liked the workout immediately because it was something I could do alone and was deceptively rigorous. It also, strangely, helped me work through plot holes. Every morning I write for a few hours then break for yoga, and any walls I’ve bumped into in a story fall away. It’s magic. Or not. I’ve read studies that show that switching from an intense mental activity to a physical one, such as taking a walk or washing dishes or even taking a shower, can improve creativity. Not sure how this works, and I don’t care.

Yoga, at least the kind I do, which is called Kundalini, is very new-agey. There’s lots of breathing and meditating and concentrating. I confess that all of this felt very over-the-top weirdo to me when I first started doing it. I am not an expert in chakras. I don’t even know what they are. But I can say with some degree of confidence that if mine are not balanced daily, I am in trouble.

So I no longer roll my eyes or snicker at the dvd instructor’s directions. He’s an adorably poetic guy named Ravi who introduces exercises by saying stuff like:

This next one isn’t easy but it’s glorious. Go for it and be victorious.

Stretching is your body’s way of receiving new information.


This is for your pancreas, gall bladder, and spleen. Let’s show these organs we care.

Ravi also wants me to care about my fascis muscles, and in one meditative exercise he asks me to float three feet off the ground.

And get this: I DO.

Maybe I am a new-agey person after all. And with that I will leave you, faithful readers, to don my yoga garb (this is a lie. I am wearing my yoga garb. It is my pajamas.) head up to my yoga studio (my bedroom) and strike a pose. As Ravi likes to say, "Sat nam."

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