Yoga & Creativity Training Breaks New Ground

April 27, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
Tanya Robie hit a block in grad school. As a student in Spalding University's Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, she struggled to finish her novel.

But then Robie discovered Yoga as Muse. Yoga as Muse is a process that weaves yoga tools with writing. The process, developed by writer and international writing coach Jeff Davis, goes something like this: A writer centers her mind with a breathing exercise, clarifies an intention, moves through a few yoga postures and breathing exercises chosen precisely for their effects on the mind, and writes with awareness of breathing.

To Robie the process was a god-send. Or more like a super hero. "Practicing Yoga as Muse feels like Superman entering the phone booth," Robie says, "I feel like a super hero when I practice it."

Robie became more joyful, focused, and prolific. She not only finished her novel. She also rewrote it twice in a semester, and her mentor instantly took note of her richer writing voice. Now he is helping Robie land an agent.

No wonder Robie is joining a select group of yoga teachers this summer for the first Yoga as Muse Facilitator Training. The training will be led by Davis, author of The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing.

The Yoga as Muse Facilitator Training offers existing certified yoga teachers advanced training in yoga and creativity. "These trainees are potential cutting-edge independent scholars," Davis says. "They could be on the forefront of creativity in education for young, adult, and elderly writers."

Davis cites numerous studies that bolster his enthusiasm. Early studies show how harnessed breathing and meditation induce concentration, creative flow, and creative insight.

"But more exciting than the early studies," Davis says, "are the recent studies that show how we can change our minds and, thus, change our gray matter."

What does the brain's ability to create more brain cells and denser receptors have to do with creativity?

"Everything!" Davis says. "We writers have to contend daily with the flotsam of our own minds. If we can find healthy ways to become more aware of how our embodied minds work, then we do not have to be at the whim of a fickle muse."

The training will be hands-on because, Davis notes, trainees must learn how to create experiences for writers - not lecture to them. "Too much lecturing," Davis says, "often reinforces the rational, analytical mind. And few writers need that part of the mind reinforced."

Trainees who complete the training will return to their respective communities around the United States and Canada and spread the Yoga as Muse teachings. Several trainees aim to bring Yoga as Muse into area schools. Another trainee wants to work with elderly people who yearn to write their stories. Others will target the audience that Davis has attracted: serious and aspiring writers who seek fresh ways to get through the challenges of writing.

"Yoga is not a cure-all for creativity or writing," Davis notes. "But yoga's tools extend way beyond getting sweaty on a mat." He notes that Yoga's aim is freedom. "Freedom from what?" Davis asks. "Freedom from the mind's own junk. And Yoga as Muse clears some of the junk so we can do what we're here to do: write and create."