Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Easy Does It Pose in Hatha Yoga

In yoga, life is considered a series of “dukkha” or sufferings one after the other, day after day. The lessons of yoga are principally about teaching us to cope with suffering through relaxation or “sukha”. This is the art of relaxing and to yoga this means being comfortable and at ease. It means stillness (sukha) in the body and mind purposely practiced to counteract the feelings of stress (dukkha.)

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The “easy pose” is taught as a physical position to take when trying to relax. But for some people, the “easy pose” is anything but easy. So, why is it called “easy”? The “easy” translation simply means being the opposite of uneasy or busy and stressed. Although the specific sitting position is known as the “easy pose” is traditional, the mere act of sitting or semi-reclining and being motionless can be considered an easy pose. After all, not everyone can sit on the floor with their legs crossed at the ankles for an extended period of time.

An “easy pose” is one that allows us to be at ease with ourselves without the urge to fall completely asleep. Most of us are conditioned to begin snoring within a few minutes if we find ourselves lying flat on our backs. Happens all the time in yoga. Corpse pose at the end of class is regularly mistaken by some exhausted individual as nap time, and the rest of us are serenaded by the heavy, unburdened breath of someone who has fallen asleep on the mat. That’s okay, but as I’ve said before, sleep is not meditation. Sleep is sleep and meditation is an easy, comfortable state of relaxed alertness.

In meditation we are without the normal business of our bodies and minds (thoughts, movements, sounds.) Instead, we are physically still. The only movement is what’s necessary to breathe. And our thoughts are fewer and slower. Thoughts are normal but they bring with them varying degrees of stress, so during meditation the fewer the better. It requires a low level of consciousness or awareness to “quiet the mind” as desired by meditation. The lack of thoughts equals fewer opportunities to be stressed by thinking which equates to feeling at ease—without stress. An easy pose is one that is comfortable enough to bring on the sensation of ease without allowing us to fall asleep.

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Sitting cross-legged on the floor, a stack of blankets or a meditation cushion IS a comfortable pose for some. Others may need to sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor or lie back on a stack of pillows or a bolster to keep the body from lying completely flat. As long as we are physically at ease, our breath and thoughts will eventually join in and calm down. This is “sukha” or being without the suffering implied by the stress or “dukkha” of physical movement and mental stimulation.

The honest challenge is developing the stamina to remain in this position of ease for a particular length of time. Practice, practice, practice and the body will gradually remember its state of comfort and be more cooperative when asked to be still. Remember our bodies and minds are very practiced at zooming all the time. The opposite is challenging (dukkha) but rewarding (sukha.) This is balance.

What is your “easy pose”?

joy held yoga book photo's 040

Photo by Jody Purkey, 2003

“Be well, write well.”

~Joy

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“What’s at the Library for You?”

Monday Meditation: What’s At the Library for You?

 

The library is a great place, but not everyone knows what a treasure trove of wonder it is.

 

Honestly, go to the library and once you get past the humility of the massive collection of knowledge and ideas all in the same place, look around at everything available to everybody from the casual reader catching up on the daily news to the college professor checking on resources for a class he’s teaching next semester.

 

The point is that EVERYBODY belongs at the library. Everybody, that is, who respects the principle of freedom to access information. Lack of respect for the contents, the people, the equipment, the facilities, or the ideas will get you rightfully tossed out the front door by the gatekeeper known as the Librarian.

 

It’s a tough job monitoring knowledge, keeping it as safe as possible from abuse, staying on top of current information techniques, and exploding technology. But most librarians are fantastic people with a lot on their plates but always willing to help when asked a question. Granted, we’ve all run into the crusty book warden who is a bit ragged around the edges, but the librarian is a precious jewel and should be treated with appreciation. After all, she opens the doors every day and believes in the same thing writers do: knowledge and ideas are only valuable when they are shared.

 

I have soooo many great librarian stories to share. So here is a brevity list of all the ways libraries and librarians have been a great help to my careers as teacher and writer.

 

#A librarian near my hometown helped me access a primary source that inspired my first romance novel. If it weren’t for this particular special collection and this wonderful woman who let me read “The Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (1899), my novel wouldn’t have the historical accuracies it does.

 

#When my children were young and learning to love reading and writing, a wonderful junior librarian named Brenda made a point to find out what interested them and ordered books year after year that kept them coming back until they moved away for college.

 

#My favorite aunt is a school librarian.

 

#Doug at the college library where I teach never fails to amaze me at how quickly and efficiently he responds to my requests for materials no matter where on Earth they’re located.

 

#My FAVORITE librarian is my youngest daughter!

 

I’ll save more library/librarian kudos for later. What’s your library story?

 

Hug a library and a librarian every day. They are the protectors of one of the 20170311_103909most important freedoms: speech.

 

 

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Be well, write well!

Joy

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Wednesday Workout: The Consequences of Exercise

Wednesday Workout: The Consequences of Exercise

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

 

Lots of people look at exercise as punishment for eating. That’s too bad because the brain can be overwhelmed by the message of payback for the triple cheeseburger and might not recognize the good side effects of the workout. If we regularly view physical activity as retribution for taking in nutrition, then our workouts and mental attitudes about exercise suffer. Eating and exercise should go hand-in-hand, but we taint the value of the workout by viewing it negatively before taking the first step on the treadmill.

Exercise Benefits Your Brain Too

One of the many benefits to anyone who exercises is a positive outlook on life. After an exercise session, the body is pumping all kinds of good stuff around and around inside like blood and oxygen helping revive and cleanse internal organs. The brain is super happy because it’s churning out endorphins and spilling them into the bloodstream contributing in part to the good feeling also known as “the runner’s high.” As an extra bonus, the brain literally grows new cells as the result of a good, heart-pumping cardio session because exercise breeds brain derived-neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which, according to Dr. John Ratey in his book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is like “Miracle-Gro for the brain”.

 

Happiness, improved muscle tone, weight loss, and cardiovascular support. Why look at exercise as the demon and not the darling? Regular physical exercise isn’t a penalty, it’s a privilege, and the consequences of exercise far outweigh the side effects of avoiding it. But it’s important to go into a workout with a positive mental attitude. The negativity associated with regular exercise could easily negate the benefits.

Try Keeping A Fitness Journal

Keeping a fitness journal for a short while might help when we see the positive results written down. Note these things for a few days or weeks then review the notes. Think about the positive results while tieing on the walking shoes and add extra benefits to those workouts.

 

Date

Feelings/thoughts BEFORE working out

Describe the workout (i.e., twenty-minute walk in the park)

Note anything interesting that happened during the workout

Feelings/thoughts AFTER working out

 

Physical exercise shouldn’t be punishment for anything but viewed as a way to stay happy, balanced, and healthy.

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

 

Be well, write well.

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True Lies 3: Outsmarted by a 2 year old, A Diary, and Poetry at West Point

Tuesday Tickle at Writer Wellness courtesy of a great post from Bob Mayer and Cool Gus Publishing. Enjoy!

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Friday Feast: ‘Shrooms Va-va-voom and Friends

Not everybody is a mushroom fan, but this baked stuffed portabella has been known to win over a few non-fungus eaters!

‘Shrooms Va-va-voom

Recipe by Joy Held

2 large portabella mushrooms, wiped clean with the stems cut out and the gills scraped out

¾ cup fresh spelt bread crumbs

½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup minced onion

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp dried thyme

2 Tbls melted butter, salt free

1 Tbls olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, onion, parsley, butter, and spices together well in a bowl. Cave out the mushrooms a little if necessary to make room for the filling. Divide filling evenly between the caps  and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. In the last five minutes, turn off the oven and turn broiler on high. Sprinkle mushrooms with mozzarella and broil to desired melty deliciousness. Don’t take your eyes off! Burns quickly!

After this treat, take a walk around the block then settle down and visit these web friends of mine. Tell ‘em I said hello. And feel free to share this recipe and spread the fungus among us (couldn’t resist.)

Writer mom NATALIE MARKEY

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/2011/07/understanding-writing-mommy-mind-with.html

Hot romance scribe MEREDITH ELLSWORTH

http://www.meredithellsworth.com/

Fav social media chicka KRISTEN LAMB

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/big-six-publishing-is-dead-welcome-the-massive-three/#comments

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

joyeheld@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/Joy_E_Held

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How Cancer Influenced a Ghost’s Tale by Author Juli D. Revezzo

Here is a story about how life impacts art. jh

One Writer's Way

benefitsalebannerFrom Juli: Cancer. The big C. Chances are, you’ve known someone in your circle that has had it or you know someone who knows someone who does. It’s something no one wants to think about. There are several strains of it researchers know quite a bit about—breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer—and many more that they don’t. Fibrolomellar type Hepatocellular carcinoma it’s called. Ever heard of it? No? I’m not surprised. It’s a rather rare form of liver cancer and only seems to affect young people and has a very high death rate. One in particular, my little brother, dealt with it for many years. He went through every damned form of chemotherapy the doctors had for him, and quite a few experimental ones. A few years ago, the cancer killed him. Yet before that day came he enjoyed all the usual pursuits for a young man. He was…

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Door, Propped – Wide Open

Good tip on keeping your yoga mat warm! Enjoy. jh

CultFit

Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately-

If this is your first time visiting CultFit? Welcome and I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit. If you came in search of some prophetic wisdom pertaining to life, yoga, mediation and whatever else tickles your fancy? Don’t let the door slam your tush as you scurry away

Wanting to be a super flexible yogi and actually being a super flexible yogi are two entirely different “things“. After a restless nights sleep, a twenty-five minute drive to the studio, biting morning temperatures and sitting on a frozen yoga mat (Top Tip: Bring your mat in the house …), morning yoga practice is the last thing I feel like doing. Although, on these days when I’ve given up and decided to cut myself a break to head to Dunkin Donuts instead…

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New Year’s Resolutions? What Is Real Change?

Change can be so messy sometimes, but a necessary of life. This is a great thought about the “moment of enlightenment”. Read on!

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Brave New Bullying: Goodreads Gangs, Amazon Attacks—What Are Writers to Do?

Sharing this post because of its general applications and importance in the cyber world and in the real trenches of life. And because I want to support a friend. Be well, write well. jh

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Today is a tad of a touchy subject, but in this New year, I want everyone to have a the greatest gift any of us can have…peace. Bullies, in my opinion, are among the lowest known existing lifeforms. I wouldn’t want to insult cockroaches and fleas by drawing a comparison.

Kristen’s History With Bullies

I grew up most of my life being bullied. I switched schools at least once a year and there was always a new gaggle of Mean Girls to make my daily life a veritable hell. I think this is why I grew to love books. I skipped school so much (to seek sanctuary at the public library), that I’m fairly certain I’m the reason for the current Texas truancy laws.

I couldn’t get out of bed. I became ill at the thought of even walking through the front doors of my school. I was poor and…

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Friday Feast: Too Much Salty Beast

DAY EIGHT WITHOUT ELECTRICITY. ANOTHER MOTEL NIGHT. Have eaten “off diet” in a major way since the storm hit last Friday. I usually pack blood type diet specific foods for myself and my husband when we’re travelling. Didn’t get the opportunity this “trip.” Everything in the refrigerator and both freezers went rancid after the first couple of days, and our blood type diet supplies and supplements had to be dumped. I hated throwing all that food away. It felt so wrong. But we are not going hungry. The restaurants in the area obviously had priority as far as getting back online and just about everything is open again. So eating out several times more than usual has wreaked havoc on my system and my psyche. But I’ve been grateful that there has been food. Although my husband absolutely refused to be served the turkey Spam I was so thrilled to find in the store. I don’t blame him. The sodium content would have been the end of both of us. So I didn’t eat any salty beast today and feel some better except for this riduculous cold or sinus infection or whatever it is. I can’t breathe and my eyes are so itchy and red I look like I’ve been in a fight. My throat is so hoarse and I’m so congested that when I called the motel to make reservations for the weekend, she thought I said my name was Boy Help. I bought a homeopathic nasal spray recommended by my asmatic sister who said, “It will sting a little bit at first.” I felt like someone had set off two bottle rockets up my nose. That’s more than a little bit of sting, but I digress.

The good news is that the insurance adjuster was a jolly and smart fellow this morning. The weather report he was given to reference said we were hit with 91 mile an hour winds or a category two hurricane force storm. We’ll see what he says. Still waiting on the electric company and the tree fellow. Although the poor tree guy has been so busy in the neighbor this last week, I would prefer he took the weekend off to rest. The last thing I need is a sleepy man in a bucket lift forty feet in the air swinging a chain saw around above my yard. So we wait and eat less beast.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments and prayers. They’re helping.

Be well, write well.

Joyeheld@gmail.com

http://www.joyeheld.com

“Everyone wants to jiggle less.” CNN reporter

 

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