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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writers Who Do Yoga

I tried to do a little stretching last night, and have come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to take up some form of yoga. I never liked the idea of it when I was younger. I was never patient enough to sit in the poses and contemplate things. I wanted to move and didn’t feel like I needed to stretch much.

I’m older now. My body would appreciate it, I have more patience, and I have stepdaughter who’s about to get her driver’s license (aka, anything that brings me balance and serenity seems like a good move).

In typical Jess fashion, instead of just starting to stretch (or picking up the Christy Turlington Living Yoga book that’s been gathering dust on my shelf for ten years), I decided to get on the internet and look for writers who do yoga. It would be an even bigger motivation to start if I could guarantee some sort of idea circulation, plot epiphanies, or spiritual insights into the use/non-use of the Oxford comma.

When I typed “Writers who do yoga” into the Google search engine, the first hit on the list was Top Ten Reasons Not to Do Yoga. Not an encouraging start. Then there was an Amazon.com page that lists books involving Yoga for Writers.

Titles included:
Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice

The Journey from the Center to the Page

Those sounded interesting, but I really needed a big name for motivation. Something like Shakespeare or E.B. White or Kate DiCamillo. Then I tried Googling, “Famous Writers who do yoga,” and just got a bunch of links to random celebrities.

After a bit more searching, the only things I can confirm are that, while the practice yoga has been around a very long time:

Hemingway was not a yoga enthusiast.

Nor was Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Sylvia Plath—doubtful.

Beatrix Potter—doubtful as well.

George R.R. Martin—I really don't think so, but I don’t want to make any assumptions :)

In fact, the only author I could nail down as doing yoga for sure is Madonna. Didn’t know she was a children’s author? Click HERE. And I don't even know if she still does yoga. She might just lift weights, judging from this photo.

Anybody know of yoga-mat-toting authors?

And by the way, if anyone has some DVD recommendations for a beginner, let me know!


  1. Those arms!!


    I wish I had time for yoga, but I have become too impatient.

    I used to do it a lot. Probably time to start up again as my flexibility is nil.

    Have fun.


  2. I've always wanted to take up yoga and borrowed some DVDs from the library, but I always felt like I was doing it wrong. I'd rather take a class with an instructor.
    I can't say I know any writers who do yoga. But who knows, maybe George R.R. Martin is into it.

  3. I'm starting yoga next classes next month. I spend every day at a computer and have lots of stress so I want to slow down a bit and carve out some me time. :D

  4. Hmmm, I haven't heard of any writers who do yoga. I used to do yoga a little bit but I haven't in a while. (I did the Wii Fit yoga, so I don't know if that counts as real yoga.)

  5. I don't think I could name any famous writers who do yoga. . . Although doing yoga does seem like a good idea. I'm always the writer with a clogged brain who likes to rant. Yoga might help fix that. ;) You might be starting a trend, Jes!

  6. I love yoga! I have taken a few classes, and it's such a good workout. It hasn't been meditative time for me though because my body is usually screaming to get out of a pose. When I really want to think I run, because I get in this groove where I don't have to think about what I'm doing.

    Denise Austin has some good yoga videos that are challenging enough without being overly complicated. I used to do them with my roommates in college, it was a lot of fun!

    Good luck!

  7. I hate yoga, but I do it anyway because I like how limber it make me after.

    After it quits hurting.

  8. I did yoga while I was pregnant with all three kids - the prenatal kind and it was awesome. FUnny how I stuck with it when I was my least flexible and limber and now that I'm back to normal, I've abandoned it.

  9. I've found that even stretching every morning will improve a person's well being and mood. Yoga def is cool:)

  10. Timely post. I've been thinking about taking a Yoga class in the Fall. I took Pilates for awhile, but I didn't keep it up.

  11. Jess, I think Yoga would be beneficial, and while you're meditating, I bet some excellent ideas for your writing surface. So you didn't find any famous authors who do yoga, so what. Maybe you'll be the first! I don't do yoga, but I'd like to learn Tai Chi. Hope I spelled it right. Thanks for stopping by my blog twice. Yep, the things we believed as kids is something else, huh? Especially kids with wild imaginations who grow up to become writers! Heehee!

  12. I think you'd love Yoga, it makes one feel so light and fresh... *sigh* I did it for a little bit, both teaching myself it and being taught it REALLY BADLY! That wasn't fun, at all.
    Kind of a Yoga downturner sadly, because it was quite honestly, hellish.

    Anyhow, I really enjoyed teaching myself it, but now I do Wii fit quite a lot and have been doing jogging, boxing, cycling ect on it, but also cycling and boxing in real terms too... need to do more because I think I'm a tad unfit, after doing dancing for ten years and then abruptly stopping... maybe I've toned down a little! ( :
    P.S. Definitely do yoga!

  13. Oh my, I so know how you feel...I need to do yoga. I NEED TO. I'm one of the most inflexible people on the planet, I think. hehe

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  15. A few years back, I did power yoga until I hurt my shoulder doing downward dog. Yeah, you can hurt yourself doing yoga if you're not careful. Silly me.

  16. I hope you like Glow if you read it at some point!

  17. For newbs, I recommend:

    * AM Yoga w/Rodney Yee
    * Yoga for Stress Relief w/Suzanne Deason
    * T'ai Chi Beginning Practice w/ David Dorian Ross
    * Yoga for Beginners w/Patrica Walden

    Enjoy and Namaste.

  18. I am no help at all... (sorry!!) Ah, but see - The Happy Whisk has you covered. :) Happy stretching!

  19. hi miss jess! i didnt ever do yoga but i been doing tai chi for a pretty long time. mostly i do it every morning. i did a post on it for on my blog a while back. maybe you could like it cause it gets you all relaxed and gets your brain sharp for writing. i didnt ever look to see if some famous writers do it.
    ...hugs from lenny

  20. Hi Jess!

    My daughter and I bought a set of beginner, intermediate, and advanced yoga DVDs a few years ago and made the mistake of starting with the advanced session because we felt it would be too easy - holy cow, we couldn't do any of it!

    Yoga is way harder than it looks. :)

  21. I've been thinking a lot about yoga lately. I've hit a bit of a plateau in my workouts, and I think yoga might add a bit of interest again. Let us know if you find that famous author connection!

  22. You're playing it fast and loose with the term "children's author" for Madonna :) As for yoga, I want to love it, I'm sure it would be good for me, but I SO don't have the patience!!!

  23. Yoga sounds like something that be really good for me to do seeing as how little exercise I get.

    But I just don't have time. :\

  24. Hi there, I am a yoga instructor in Victoria, B.C., Canada. I am also interested in writers who have practiced or practice yoga. I'd like to teach yoga to writers, artists ~ anyone who needs help balancing or enhancing that creative fire within. Nice to see your interest. :-)

  25. This post had me giggling and curious at the same time, because I've been putting my toe into yoga lately too (for the same reasons, disdained it whenI was younger too). Wish I knew some famous yoga-practicing authors and assurance that it will not only help my flexibility but also my plot! :)

  26. For me, yoga helps me balance and focus... literally and figuratively... oddly enough, I just wrote a post about that on my blog... stop by! I don't know that knowing one of my favorite authors did yoga would help me write better... it would likely just make me think of one more thing I should be doing to make me write better... and that sort of distracts from the point... right?

  27. Well uh, if you count Jack Kerouac doing headstands to clear his head (or hangover) and sitting in lotus while reading his poetry, that would be one.

    Of course, his friend and Poet Gary Snyder was a long time yogi just to name two.


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