cover image Writing the Fire!: Yoga and the Art of Making Your Words Come Alive

Writing the Fire!: Yoga and the Art of Making Your Words Come Alive

Gail Sher, . . Bell Tower, $12.95 (223pp) ISBN 978-0-307-20991-7

Writing mentor, psychotherapist and poet Sher (One Continuous Mistake ) explores the nexus between yoga and writing in this blend of inspirational wisdom and practical advice. Assuming readers' familiarity with yoga poses and philosophy, Sher guides them to practice the eight tenets of ashtanga yoga (restraints, observances, physical poses, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and bliss) as writers. To help anchor readers to her theme, Sher designs metaphors; some work (creating a writing "temple"; writing "sequences"), while others fit less comfortably ("dancing the body of light" to access intuition). Whereas the concepts Sher plays with (balancing creative energy, engaging the shadow, etc.) deserve deep reflection, readers can dive right into the challenging exercises; for instance, after doing happy baby pose, a reader can try writing a story or poem from a baby's point of view, energizing the words with the feeling experienced in the pose. Although all writers can benefit from Sher's expansive view of writing as a means to develop compassionate awareness, some may be frustrated by statements that resist easy comprehension; Sher's words often sound like koans to be pondered over time. Like every consciously cultivated practice, this volume yields its treasures only after much practice. (May)