Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 13, 2012

Let Yoga Help Inspire Your Writing

Reminder: Send in your First Page inspired by this month’s picture prompt.  You can find the pictures and how to submit by clicking this link:

It is always so much fun to hear where ideas come from and what inspired success. Writer/ Musician, Mimi Cross will be doing her Yoga Inspired Writing Workshop Intensive on June 8th at the NJSCBWI Conference. I thought you would be interested in hearing how Patty Gauch was the inspirations for this “let the idea flow” session and some details about the Intensive.

Here’s Mimi:

At the 2011 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, author Patricia Lee Gauch talked about “letting go into story”. When she quoted Yeats’ poem The Circus Animals’ Desertion and spoke of the “rag-and-bone shop of the heart” and how we must go there for inspiration, her message went straight to my own heart. I knew it was time for me to create a workshop that connected two of my great loves, writing and yoga.

Developing a workshop where writing and yoga would intersect had been a dream of mine for several years. Starting last winter, I began to carefully design a class series that would combine yoga postures, yogic breathing techniques, creative writing exercises, meditation, visualization, and readings, in ways that would inspire participants to get their pens moving and encourage them to open to the wisdom of their bodies.

In creating the classes I drew from my experiences in art, music, drama, and yoga, incorporating Deep Diving techniques I learned from artists as diverse as Olympia Dukakis, Rosanne Cash, and Julia Cameron, as well as instructors from The Metropolitan Opera Guild and aesthetic education classes at Julliard.

I was introduced to yoga at age twelve and in 2001 I became a yoga instructor. However before I taught yoga, I was a music teacher and a performer. For many years I taught people of all ages and abilities music, placing the emphasis on songwriting whenever I could. My last position included teaching students who were suicidal and homicidal. Music and lyrics were a wonderful way to connect with those kids, but to help their teachers I used yoga.

In May of 2011, I offered the first version of Body of Writing. The one and a half hour long sessions met weekly at a bookstore. Over seven weeks I witnessed the thrilling process of people discovering the stories their bodies held. Some were obvious, like the tale of a twisted ankle in Paris, the stiffness lingering years later, evoking memories whenever it rained, stories begging to be told. Others were hidden, stories secret even to those who carried them. Seekers of buried treasure, together we began to dig.

One of the most important concepts of Kripalu yoga, the style that I’ve studied more than any other, is the idea of letting go. In other words, allowing things to be just as they are, including who you are, with the idea that everything really is okay. Cultivating this kind of acceptance one learns to have compassion for oneself, and thus for one’s story.

Kripalu yoga is the style I teach, but I draw from many other traditions as well. Most styles of yoga have certain aspects in common, such as the idea that yoga is a practice for the body, mind, and spirit. Body of Writing simply adds another dimension: story.

Body of Writing will be available at the NJ SCBWI June conference as a four-hour intensive. Bodies will move and words will flow as we advance our quest to tell our tales.

Body of Writing can help you find the stories you hold within and teach you how to allow yourself to release them onto the page without criticism or judgment.

Of course later, you’ll have to edit. Now that’s a wicked posture to hold.

Body of Writing

Friday Intensive Description

Cost:  $100

Please note: no previous experience with yoga is necessary.

*This intensive is priced slightly lower in order for participants to purchase workshop materials, however six yoga mats can be made available.

Using a variety of simple yoga postures and creative writing exercises we will explore our writing and our bodies and receive the benefits of more closely connecting the two.

Our session will be filled with movement, writing, music, meditation, and, a few laughs!

The artistic aspect of your self will be challenged and nurtured, and you will leave class feeling both relaxed and stimulated, with new goals for your writing life (and a tool or two to help keep you centered and calm in those meetings with agents and editors!).

In Body of Writing you’ll learn to listen to your body instead of your inner critic.

You’ll find inspiration and techniques to get, and keep, your pen moving.

What you’ll need for the workshop: A yoga mat, a blanket, a new notebook of 8 x 10 paper, and a pen or pencil. Please wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing.*

Please contact: if you have questions or need a mat.


Here is a little bit about Mimi:

Mimi Cross holds an MA from NYU’s School of Education, Health, Nursing, and Arts Professions and a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College. She is the author of the interactive children’s story iPad app, The Crankamacallit and is currently seeking representation for her YA trilogy. She is a singer songwriter who has performed extensively and has released two CDs that can be found on sites like iTunes and Amazon.

She received her 200-hour teaching certificate from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the largest facility for yoga in the country where she lived for a month while she studied, and where she’s happy to report, two of their main goals for yoga practice are comfort and ease. To learn more about Mimi and hear her music visit

An instrumental version of Mimi’s song 2 Clay Feet has just been released on Svadharma, a CD to benefit Kripalu’s Teaching for Diversity program.

To learn more about Kripalu yoga, visit

Talk tomorrow,


PS: Rest of Conference pricing listed on Sunday.


  1. Fantastic post – excited to learn more about this upcoming workshop! Besides writing MG and YA fiction, I teach at the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine, and so spend a lot of my professional life thinking about the connection between embodiment and story – are stories told of the body or through the body? Whose stories count? Who hears? Recently I likened the teaching of fiction workshops to yoga – I’ll share it here:


  2. loved this piece Kathy…. I’ve taken yoga 7 years now and at first I thought it was not for my ‘type A’ personality, but RA and age was requiring I ‘calm down’ a bit. And I got hooked. It truly allows you to go into yourself without judgement…allowing the body to be it’s best after. I’ve often thought it would be a great creative step….and love that Mimi is doing just this for writers. Artists TOO could get so much out of mixing the two. hmmmmmm 🙂


  3. You know, while working on our registration stuff, every time I see Mimi’s intensive, “Yoga-Inspired Writing,” I’ve wondered what that could possibly be. Now I know! This sounds FAScinating, Mimi!


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