As odd as it might sound, breathing is an essential tool for the writer.
No doubt the reaction of many will be that I am either off my rocker or possess a preternatural grasp for the obvious. The truth is quite simple – it’s neither!
The quest for reinvention has produced a few interesting experiences. I have spoken at length about the connection of fitness to my reinvention, wherein I addressed the need to reinvent oneself from the ground up. The fit individual has more energy, can become more flexible, may soon possess more endurance and cognitive spirit. I wrote a post entitled Where The Body Goes, The Mind Will Follow. Feel better, think better.
The latest discovery for this journey of invention centers around breathing and was driven home to me through an exercise class I take once week, Reebok Total Body Workout. The program is a series of exercises that evolve every six weeks and involving the use of weights for resistance. I have enjoyed a certain level of sculpting without becoming muscle-bound yet improving strength.
Breathing is a simple thing; I’ve done it all my life. Until I took this class I never realized I could breathe incorrectly! That’s not entirely true because I have taken and used the Linkletter process for speaking and understand completely how many people do not understand breathing technique as it relates to vocal production. Speaking is a physical sensation to be experienced for proper communication. Abbreviations and sound bites rob us of the physical sensation of communication. Sad but true.
My Reebok instructor discovered that I was not breathing properly several weeks ago and reviewed the process with me. Every exercise should be augmented with the proper breathing technique. When one inhaled and exhaled was critical to posture, muscle development, and proper support. Exertion or work should be supported by exhalation. Silly me, I was content with simply staying alive!
After several weeks of focusing on my breathing, I became aware of more efficient and productive work from controlling my breath. Amazingly, I found myself within my body and more correctly focusing on the muscles isolated by the exercise. I became stronger.
My personal journey to reinvention has a goal of becoming a writer, or more correctly developing the skills required to become a writer. Regardless of how I phrase it, I spend a lot of time in a chair. Fatigue and stiffness from sitting are issues. Dry eyes caused by long term short focus creates vision issues too.
Slouching in the chair causes one to slouch mentally, not to mention the abnormal stress it puts on the bodily organs and breathing. Oxygen supply is essential for mental energy. Consequently, it became obvious to me that my workspace needed to be adjusted to allow for better breathing and body posture.
My wife is a devoted practitioner of yoga. For Father’s Day last year, she purchased a Giam Classic Balance Ball-Chair. http://www.gaiam.com/product/basic-balance-ball-chair.do The chair has a durable plastic frame and small back, more of a handle really, with a large exercise ball sitting in its center. Sitting on the ball my body is forced to seek and upright alignment that is alert and focused. The better posture is certainly energizing, and during those moments of pensive rumination I can roll my hips for a little core exercise.
There are times when the intrusions of home are subject to muting! I must go elsewhere to write. Frequently, I go to our local Panera Bread to hide and write. Panera has among its furnishing tall tables with high stools. Further research on this issue of this desk-time trap revealed that the sales of standing desks have increased more than 30% in recent years. Why? People are standing to write as a method of maintaining better focus and better physical control. Standing properly affords a better posture and better breathing.
I am now considering designing and building my own standing desk for my home workspace. Coupled with a traditional workstation and ball chair my ‘sit’ time will no longer drag down my creative time. Now, I need to remember to look away from the computer from time to time to allow my focus to adjust and not stress my eyes too much. The following is a commercial example: http://www.amazon.com/Safco-1929CY-Adjustable-Stand-Up-Workstation/dp/B001MS70Z2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341848982&sr=8-1&keywords=standing+desks
When I began this reinvention journey, the scope of this reinvention was a mystery. Learning new skills demanded learning new habits, retraining not just the mind but the body too. The interconnected mind and body is a fascinating study.
Happy writing! Watch your posture; watch your breathing!