By Sarah Nelsen
I would like to welcome my dear friend, Sarah Nelsen, to my blog. This is part one of a three part series: Yoga for Writers. Post one is focused on the need to take short breaks to rest so that we can optimize our productivity and increase our creativity. If you work at a desk, you need Yoga for Writers—Rest.
Sarah is one of the kindest and most gentle spirits of anyone I have ever met. When I pitched the idea of writing a few posts specifically designed to help writers, she jumped at the chance. I am so grateful for her heart to help people. She is a multi-certified instructor with a wealth of knowledge.
Read on to see the importance of rest breaks or just skip to the short video and get to it.
Writing is Hard…on Your Body, Too.
Scenario: It’s mid-afternoon. You’ve been writing for a few hours and you have a few hours more to go. You’re on deadline and you do NOT have time to rest, but you’re feeling sluggish and uninspired. Now you’re considering revising your revisions or just throwing the whole thing out.
You’re thinking: why did I get into this gig in the first place? Maybe I should give this up and go back to my old job? Just when you decide that you’ll spend a few minutes on social media to help clear your mind, you remember that yoga teacher talking about the importance of rest for focus and inspiration. Maybe you pull up this short practice instead of scrolling. Maybe you come back to your work feeling inspired and excited, or at the very least, you feel rested.
Resting might seem counterintuitive when you need to get things done. Here is what I have noticed in my own life. If I can set aside 10 minutes to rest in the afternoon, whether that is sitting outside and appreciating nature, taking a quick nap, listening to a guided meditation, or resting on the floor with my legs on a chair, I come back to my project not only more resourced, but also with an ability to put things in perspective. The thing I thought was SO IMPORTANT to do ASAP just 15 minutes ago, after a short rest, I can now see with clarity that it’s not as urgent as I thought.
The afternoons when I push through without a rest become unproductive. Just because I’m sitting at my computer, doesn’t mean I’m working. My mind is difficult to focus, I end up scrolling through social media, and the 10 minutes I didn’t think I can spare turns into an hour of zoning out without any of the benefits of true rest. Give it a try and see for yourself!
If you’re curious about why we do what we do in the video, read on. If you don’t care about the why and just want the practice, that’s fine too!
Yoga for Writers—Rest | Video Tutorial
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvyqL7fPrwo
Rest with Eye Cupping
As David Whyte says in his poem, Sweet Darkness, “When your eyes are tired, the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you.” For me, eye cupping is my #1 go-to when my eyes are tired from staring at the screen. When you combine eye cupping with leaning your elbows onto a desk and resting your whole head in your hands, the shape becomes even more restful. Don’t forget to warm your hands, it creates the feeling of lovingly tucking your eyes into bed!
Rest with a Humming Breath
Also known as bhramari breath in Sanskrit, there are many benefits associated with this breath. I find it has an incredible ability to help calm and focus my mind, and that is how we are using it here. Combining it with gentle arm movements and working towards syncing the movement with breath increases the potential to calm and focus your mind. If you find it stressful to try to coordinate the movements and breath, just let go of the movements and practice the breath. The breath should feel restful, not taxing!
Legs on a Chair
If I was stuck on a deserted island and could only take one yoga pose, this is the pose I would take! You may be more familiar with a traditional savasana, (final relaxation pose,) where you lie flat on the floor, but this version has added benefits for our modern times. With your legs elevated, it should remove stress and tugging on your low back. Your hip flexors can relax here instead of stretch, which is more nourishing for your nervous system, and your thigh bones can sit snugly in the hip sockets. Do add a cushion under your head and a blanket over your body to make it extra restful.
The best-selling Prompt Me Series is here to help with photo prompts, story starters, fill-in-the-blanks, reference, and so much more. There’s even room to write in the book. Ban writer’s block and get writing.
Sarah Nelsen is a book lover and former librarian, as well as an IAYT-certified yoga therapist and a certified yoga teacher. She specializes in working with people who think they are too busy, too “out of shape,” or in too much pain to do yoga.
Sarah says, “I love creating moments of ease in people’s lives. We are all so busy and so hard on ourselves and it is vital that we make time for true rest and moments of joy. I believe the future of humankind depends on it.”
Find out more about Sarah at: sarahnelsenyoga.com
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