Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jeffery Davis Yoga As Writers' Muse - Part 2

Welcome back, Jeff!

This week I want to ask you about your book, Journey from the Center to the Page.

The first section of the book introduces readers to what I call The Four Preparations:

    • Write with intention
      • Show up and shape time
      • Stoke the writer's fire
      • Ride the wave of concentration

      The second second section helps writers learn to pay attention to different creative faculties - imagination, deep memory, intuition - in tandem with very specific facets of craft - imagery and detail, syntax, metaphor, dialog. I hope that writers experience craft in a whole new context.
      The third chapter consider emotional crags - writing the truth, dealing with the inner heckler, writing beyond trauma.
      And the fourth section addresses a variety of issues from revising to forming writers' groups to teaching Yoga as Muse in the academy to engaging Yoga As Muse for artists and dancers.
      Each chapter acts like a sort of shapely essay (I hope) that interweaves a topic relevant to a writer with clear examples from writers as and specific yogic tools and philosophies. Several chapters include specific exercises that help writers begin the practice.

      Can you learn this practice from a book?
      Although I had doubts, several writers email me from around the world to tell me how the book works for them. A writer last week emailed me to say that the book helped her finish her first novel. That's rewarding to me.

      Yoga As Muse specifically is a way to help writers and artists become aware of their embodied mind's nuances so they can become their own muses. They don't have to wait for some mysterious muse to show up each blue moon wearing angel wings and blowing a golden trumpet. Those inspired moments - like a Miles Davis impromptu solo - require a lot of practice. Yoga As Muse offers that practice.

      Tell me about the Yoga as Muse workshops and e-courses.

      The workshops and retreats immerse writers in this work. They typically focus on a specific theme relevant to writers (and sometimes artists) such as compassion or truth. I always ground the workshops and retreats in readings from contemporary writers. It's crucial for writers to read and to learn to read as writers (that's my old teacher talking, but it's true).
      In the mornings, we practice yoga and also have Yoga As Muse sessions that generate new writing from the yoga. In the afternoons, we share our writings and discuss facets of craft. We usually conclude with a celebratory reading by the participants. What's beautiful about these events is that inevitably first-timers arrive with some secret trepidation: Is my writing good enough? Do I belong here? I'm no good at yoga. Usually, that stuff gets dispelled within the first 15 minutes.

      Every one - including me - is a beginner who learns from everyone else present. Aspiring writers and writers who have published multiple books attend and support each other. Non-yogis and yoga teachers alike show up.

      The YAM e-courses are really exciting. Writers from around the world can take these courses without leaving their bedroom or living room or wherever their computer is. Each week participants receive an e-lecture that focuses around one facet of Yoga As Muse and includes at least one sometimes multiple exercises. Then, participants correspond via a message board set up exclusively for participants. There, they share their experiences with Yoga As Muse, post their writings, and give each other specific feedback. It's a great way to build virtual communities.

      What are you writing now?
      I'm working on a short story. It's told from the point of view of a 58-year-old woman named, I think, Doris. I think she's a widow - widows keep visiting me - and is not too sad about being a widow as she's discovered online dating while grieving her faltering body. She's saucy and edgy. It's one of several stories told in first-person that have been triggered by people I've met or, in Doris's case, simply overheard in the farming hamlet where I live in upstate New York.
      I've also just finished an essay called "Papa's Prana" that explores how my breath has given me what my wife's breasts have given her - an intimate connection with our five-month old daughter Dahlia.
      And I'm still researching and, after feedback from my agent, simplifying a mammoth project for a non-fiction book.

      What's coming up?

      Lots is coming up. I'm offering a free one-hour Yoga As Muse tele-workshop on January 28 through We use this impressive phone technology that allows us to divide callers into break-out groups for discussions, to journal, and have a rich dialogue about how yoga can help us emanate deeply creative lives in 2010. It's free, so your subscribers have nothing to lose. The fifth annual Yoga As Muse retreat in Taos comes up in March - where I'll see you! - and then I offer a retreat at Kripalu Center in May, a workshop at UNM's Taos Conference in July, and a retreat at Omega in September.

      But perhaps the most exciting new offering of 2010 is the Yoga As Muse Facilitator Training. People have asked me to offer this for years, and I finally feel as if the time is right. I love to teach teachers, and I love to help people become the absolute most powerful teacher they can become. This training is not a yoga teacher training. Instead, it helps people (who must be certified to teach yoga) become a facilitator of their own Yoga As Muse classes and workshops. It's going to be amazing, if I do say so myself, with an intense immersion, an extension program, and (for graduates) a nine-month Facilitator Support Network that will give graduates support in taking the training to their communities, studios, and writing centers.

      Thanks Jeff, for offering your work to writers. I am excited that you have decided to share this work through e-courses. I hope writers all over the world will benefit by bringing yoga into their writing and taking their writing to the mat. Namaste.

      TIP TO READERS: If there are spaces left for 
      Sign Up Now!

       This Yoga As Muse conversation will inspire you to discover
      how an energized body and expansive mind can awaken your muse.
      Explore how specific yogic tools can remove creative obstacles
      and be woven into a creative practice and a creative life.

      January 28, 2010 at 1 pm EST
      FREE registration now open
      Come away inspired, refreshed, and well-equipped to emanate your creative spirit. 

      Photograph of Jeffery Davis in Taos by Amber Polo
      Photograph of Amber Polo in Taos by Jeffery Davis
      Photograph of Amber's windon in Taos by Amber Polo


      1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      2. Well I don't quite know how to follow that comment. Except to wish you the best and many sales!!!

      3. Sorry, I thought not allowing anonymous comments would take care of this.

      4. I thought the book sounded interesting. I have many books on writing and they all seem to go in different directions for writing styles. I've found reading many of them, you have to pick the style that suits you the best.

      5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.