Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Wednesday Workout: Stillness and Discovery

on November 30, 2011

When someone says exercise most people think of bodies in constant motion. Of course, some people think of lying down until the urge to exercise goes away, but that’s an opposite idea. There are many ways to achieve physical fitness and health with exercise, and there are many varieties of exercise. One practice is hatha yoga. The word ‘hatha’ means physical in Sanskrit, so every style of yoga where people are physically active is hatha yoga. Some styles of yoga encourage continuous activity (vinyasa,) and some styles of yoga incorporate long periods of stillness in a pose to achieve benefits. One of these styles is the Iyengar tradition of hatha yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. Of particular importance to his method is the practice of seeking stillness in a pose by holding it for a lengthy period of time. During this time a point of discovery is possible if the yogi is paying attention.

All yoga requires a process of embodiment, sustainment, and transition. This is repeated for every yoga pose and it’s important to apply awareness to the breath during these three stages as well.

Embodiment of a pose is the actions taken to get into the pose and the breath necessary to prepare the muscles. Stepping feet wide apart and inhaling at the same time is one example.

Sustainment of a pose is the point at which the body has achieved its full expression of the pose and when the breath is steadied while holding the pose for the desired length of time. This is also the place where many discoveries take place. When we think we can’t sustain the position any longer, we have reached a challenging edge. It’s here where we can either back away from the pose and return to center or choose to enhance it by applying greater awareness. Breathing is a good first step in facing the challenge and moving past it to develop physical stamina and improve self-esteem. Sustaining a pose just a few seconds past the point where our minds say, “That’s enough,” encourages us to continue because we can feel ourselves improving and changing for the better each time we encounter the edge and breathe past it. This is the mental focus that teaches us to believe in ourselves regardless of the dilemma.

Transition is the moment of action and breath that bring us out of the pose and into the next one.

Have you ever discovered a strength you didn’t know you had during a moment of stillness?

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.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,


And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

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Be well, write well

One response to “Wednesday Workout: Stillness and Discovery

  1. Marcia says:

    I love yoga class. I love yoga at any time. For me it is a mental exercise in control; control my thoughts, control my focus, discipline my body! Class is the best time for me because it forces me to focus–all those focused yogis–common purpose. We’re all there for one purpose.

    I hate standing in line and waiting–for anything. Ahh–practice Mountain Pose! Deep breathing! In the doctor’s office, waiting in that little room by yourself for interminable lengths of time? Stand up and Standing Sun Breath! Standing Twists! Head of Cow, and the list goes on!!

    After 4 years of yoga practice I am now aware of muscles and body parts and how they are feeling, tightness, out of place, and on and on.

    Ahhh, yoga!!!


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