A non-athlete, it took me a while to find a preferred physical activity, but once I discovered yoga, I was hooked.
That was ten years ago.
Since then, I’ve gone off the “yoga wagon” several times—interestingly enough right before prolonged writer’s blocks—but have now settled into a practice that both center and challenges me.
In the early days, I struggled with some of the poses and wondered if I could ever duplicate (or even approximate) the pretzel-like abilities of the lithe and limber instructors. Thankfully, an early instructor, who also exuded a Zen-like calm, encouraged me not to give up. I can still recall her advice: “A yoga pose is a journey, not a destination.” How reassuring to learn that I didn’t have to get it right the first time, the second time, or the fourteenth time. What matters is that I find the courage to keep trying and failing.
Relaxing into the slow movements and poses, I have experienced gradual stretching of muscles and improved range of motion. I am amazed by the difference yoga has made in everything from my flexibility to my posture to my enhanced creativity.
Yoga has taught me to be still when I’m uncomfortable and to breathe through the twinges of pains I experience in some of the poses. If the pain persists, however, I know when to stop and try alternate poses or reach for a bolster, strap, or foam block. With my writing, I’m becoming more aware of my limits, realizing when to stay at the edge and when to back off and rest.
The meditative quality of yoga has also helped with my moods. The life of a writer is filled with ups and downs—good and bad reviews, contracts and rejections, flows and blocks—that can be alleviated by a short session on the mat. Those twenty minutes or hour I spend on the mat help quiet my monkey mind and imagine possibilities beyond my present circumstances. At times, the session acts as a writing prompt, and I find myself rushing back to the computer.
I still have my personal challenges, but I am less reactive and more inclined to let things go. Instead, I gravitate toward that beautiful place where I can step out of time and leave all my concerns behind.
About the Gilda Greco Mystery Series
A cross between Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, and Cher (Moonstruck), protagonist Gilda Greco brings a unique perspective to the amateur female sleuth.
The teacher-turned-lottery winner returns to her hometown, only to find herself embroiled in a series of murder investigations. Before you start imaging thrillers with high stakes and police chases, pause and take a yoga breath. The three novels in the series—A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, A Different Kind of Reunion—are cozy mysteries, written in the Agatha Christie tradition. All the crimes take place “off stage” with very few graphic details provided.
While the pace may be more relaxed than that of thrillers and police procedurals, there are no steaming cups of herbal teas, overstuffed chairs, or purring cats in these contemporary cozies. Prepare yourself for interfering relatives who don’t always respect boundaries, adult mean girls, deserving and undeserving men, multiple suspects, and lots of Italian food.
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A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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