I have been to several writing workshops the past few years, but the one I attended in September was hands down, the best yet. I knew as soon as I arrived at Yogaville, that it was going to be different from other visits. I arrived early and spent a few hours exploring the trails and taking pictures around the Ashram. Lounging in my hammock by the campsite, I enjoyed the solitude while contemplating my life and thinking about what I wanted to take away from the weekend. Inspiration? Check. Relaxation? Check. Clarity? Check. It was going to be a good weekend.
Having done my homework on the instructor before arriving, I was excited for the workshop to begin. I had read both of her books, listened to all of her podcasts and was following her on social media. Cyber-stalking, you may ask? No, I simply wanted a solid understanding of her message before signing up. The other writing workshops I attended were good, but I left them with more questions than answers. I wanted this one to be different. I wanted deeper insights into my habits and routines that seem to keep me stuck in certain areas of my life. And I wanted actionable advice on how to write more effectively and more often. The Yoga would be a bonus.
This workshop was indeed, different. I felt the instructor was sincerely authentic and genuine. She was Real. Her message felt less academic than the other workshops and her story intrigued me. A child actor growing up on movie sets in LA who, against the advice of most everyone in her life at the time, left the rat-race of Hollywood in her early 20’s in search of a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Her story was unlike anything I had experienced growing up. Yet underneath the exterior of it all, her message resonated with me on a deep level.
The emotions and feelings she described in her journey were eerily similar to those I feel in mine. That feeling of just going through the motions of your life without any depth or meaning. The desire to make a difference and contribute something positive to the world. The desire for deep connections with other like-minded people. These feelings have been tugging at my soul more and more often the past few years. Is it time for me to hit the reset button on my life and start over? Sometimes I think so. Other times I just fall back into ‘the routine’, my uneventful and unfulfilling comfort zone. But that option is becoming less acceptable by the day. I have been feeling a change is needed and imminent. Hearing the personal story of someone that has hit the reset button of their life was very satisfying and exactly what I needed to hear.
Ironically, in this writing and yoga workshop, we spent more time on the yoga mat and discussing writing than we did actually writing. But for me, this was very effective and suited my learning style well. Yoga and its logical, non-dogmatic philosophy holds a special place in my life. A large part of the workshop was spent discussing how it can clear the mental roadblocks that prevent us from writing. How writing can be a brain dump of your emotions and thought patterns and how trying to edit your words while writing is counter-productive to the process. How writers block does not exist. It’s simply the desire for it to be perfect or the fear it will not being good enough that are the true blocks. The writing exercises we did were spot on, and illustrated ways to help me get out of my own way and jump start the writing process. Yes, it was a good weekend.
I am not sure if it was solely the instructor’s message, the weaving of Yoga into the writing process, or the small group of participants in the workshop. My introverted self was very comfortable with this group, I learned a lot from our sessions and left the workshop on a high note. I acquired several new tools for my writing toolbox and made connections with other participants that I hope can be maintained.
The weekend went by incredibly fast and I did not want it to end. The information in the workshop was what I was hoping for, and more. I was longing to return to Yogaville before I even left. A few of us even discussed coming back together for a future workshop. Will our paths cross again? I am optimistic. But even if they do not, my yoga practice will continue. I will continue to write. And I will return to Yogaville.
Happy Hiking and Namaste!