Just look at this space. It was perfect for writing and yoga.
I spent the weekend of Sept. 28-30 here, in the gallery at the Grand Marais Art Colony. I led a yoga/memoir workshop for the first time and I was so pleased with how it went. I’ve taught memoir workshops at the Art Colony before, but this was my first time combining memoir with yoga.
This space, a former Catholic church, was perfect for contemplation — a necessary component of both yoga and memoir writing. This former church retains the vibe of sacred space.
The six students were engaged as they shared their writing and their stories. Each one of them had a fascinating life story to tell. I haven’t met one person yet who didn’t.
We started and ended each day with yoga. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “transitional spaces” during our days, how we often move from one thing to the next without giving thought to what we just completed and what lies ahead. A transition doesn’t have to be long — it could be just a breath or two. But in Grand Marais we had the luxury of time, so we could devote 30-45 minutes to the idea of transition.
The morning yoga woke us up, as we stretched out after a night of rest (for some, that was a night of rest in tight quarters such as campers). The morning yoga helped us get into the head space that writing demands. Then we spent a couple of hours talking about memoir and working on memoir exercises. Students had some free time in the afternoon to get lunch, read, and/or continue to work on their exercises or projects. Then we gathered together for another yoga practice, this one centered on the transitional time between writing and leisure. I designed the afternoon yoga session to calm the body and the mind after a busy day of reading, writing, and thinking.
The workshop addressed two issues that can be challenging for writers: writing as a solitary act, and writing as a stationary act.
It’s necessary for writers to come together every so often, for moral support and to share ideas. It’s also necessary to counteract the stationary nature of writing with physical movement.
I was thrilled to be in Grand Marais once again, this time doing two things I love: teaching memoir and yoga. I had a few spare moments, too, which I spent by the big lake, on the Superior Hiking Trail, getting pizza at Sven and Ole’s, and reading while drinking coffee at Java Moose.
I hope to be back very soon. Join me when I return!
(From left to right: Sunrise on Lake Superior; a view of the lake from the Superior Hiking Trail; a book and a coffee while looking at the lake).