Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Yoga for Hands for NCTE Online Member Gathering, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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

This is an exercise to draw attention to the Present moment and 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, gently guide it back.

Next, move your hands to your keyboard or to your pen/pencil/notebook and begin to freewrite. Freewriting means non-stop, non-judgmental writing intended for no audience but yourself. I’ll pass you a quote for this exercise: “This very moment is perfect for writing,” which you could  you modify to “This very moment is perfect” as a way to attune to our current global situation.

While you freewrite about the quote, continue to watch your breathing. Breathing in, think to yourself, “Here.” Breathing out, “Now.”

Keep freewriting but turn your attention to the sensation of your fingertips touching the keys or holding the pen/pencil. Change the topic of your freewrite to describing only that sensation. Do this for a minute. Try to notice moment-to-moment changes in the sensation while watching your breathing.

Keep freewriting. This time, notice how your bones are moving inside your writing fingers and make that sensation the subject of the freewrite. Watch the finger bones' complex activity. Feel their movement. If these were not your finger bones moving, what would you compare this movement to (simile or metaphor)? Continue to watch your breathing.

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

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

Shift your attention—all the while watching your breath—to your torso and legs. Then to your shoulders and neck. Then to your face. Then to your forehead. Then to the crown or top of your head. 

To close, shift your attention as you write to the rest of your body. What muscular sensations, changes in temperature, tension, and so forth are present as you write?

At this point, you could turn to a writing assignment or 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 session. This state of mind will increase your focus and let you work. You can also use Yoga for Hands just to become more aware of the present moment through writing.

Try these steps again on another occasion and switch your method (try handwriting or try typing). The use of a pen or pencil will generate a whole different awareness of the present moment of writing, for example.

(If you liked this post, try out "Corpse Pose for Writing" from 3/9/2015. It's another embodied writing technique.)

No comments:

Post a Comment