Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yoga for Hands

More often than not, thinking about the fingers as they type would probably do a stuck writer far more good than thinking about audience.

This is an exercise to draw attention to the Present moment and to be able to mindfully write.

Start with a brief seated meditation. With a gently tall posture, hands on your knees, breathing in, think to yourself, “Here.”  Breathing out, think to yourself, “Now.” When your mind wanders away from attention to the breath, guide it back.

Then move your hands to your keyboard and begin to freewrite. Freewriting means non-stop, non-judgmental writing intended for no audience but yourself. You could write about whatever is on your mind, or you could freewrite about a quote. I’ll pass you a quote now: “In the beginner’s mind, there are many options, in the expert’s, few” (Suzuki).

While you freewrite, continue to watch your breathing. Breathing in, “Here.” Breathing out, “Now.”

Keep freewriting but now turn your attention to the sensation of your finger pads touching the keys. Change the topic of your freewrite to describing that sensation. Do this for a minute. Then turn your attention to the sounds of typing, describing those sounds in your freewrite.

Keep typing. This time, notice how your bones are moving inside the typing fingers. Watch their complex activity.  Feel their movement. What would you compare this movement to?

Extend your attention now to your palm and the back of your hands as you type. Describe the sensations in the freewrite.

Then move to your wrists and lower arms.  Describe their sensations in the freewrite.

Move your attention—all the while watching your breath—to your torso and legs. Then to your shoulders and neck. Then to your face. Describe what you notice: how is the writing impacting that part of your body? What muscular sensations, changes in temperature, tensions, and so forth are present?

Continue to observe your breathing but now turn to your writing project for the day. You may find yourself calmer, more present-minded, and most importantly, more aware of your own inner dialog than when you started the yoga-for-hands.

Try these steps on another occasion—only switching to handwriting. The use of a pen or pencil will generate a whole different awareness of the present moment of writing.
(If you liked this post, try out "Corpse Pose for Writing" from 3/9/2015. It's another embodied writing technique.)


  1. I am interested in perhaps doing a poem with henna on the hands as shown here... hmmm

  2. What a lovely practice! Thank you for sharing . . . .