I enter the heated room and roll out my mat. Other men and women create their space around me as we prepare for our yoga practice. Meditative melodies fill the space. I take a deep breath and let go of the daily go-go-go pace and begin to notice. Lisa, my yoga teacher begins directing us into Child Pose. I lay prone on the ground with my legs tucked beneath my belly, paying attention to my breath. She slowly and purposefully directs us to pay attention to the breath. She says not to change the breath, but to notice. Notice the inhalation and the pause between breath in and breath out. Notice the exhalation. Notice the pause at the end of the exhalation. She asks us, “What is your rhythm? What is it that your body has to say? What is it that your spirit and emotions and mind have to say?” My practice of yoga begins and for the next hour and thirty minutes I notice. Notice my breath. Notice my body and what it can do and not do. With the noticing, the witnessing of my physical voice began.
I began the practice of yoga at the beginning of this year. It was the beginning of my finding a new way to express my physical voice. I am a person who is very in touch with my mental domain. I relish my professional life—my work is fulfilling and I am driven. My emotional life is full of friends, and, within the boundaries of my introverted nature, I have a full social life. I am reflective and have developed a spiritual life that revolves around ways to give to others. The gap for me is in the realm of the physical. Within the intentional space of yoga practice, I have begun to notice my body. I have begun to have a physical voice. I notice what is difficult for me physically and what is easy. I have difficulty with anything that involves shoulder strength and I am flexible with my legs. Going up and down within yoga movements makes me dizzy as I began to practice yoga and has decreased as I have built my physical capacity. My body endures some of the core work that happens with Warrior positions and celebrates as we move to the floor and work on inversions and leg stretches. It is in bliss when we go into the final Shivasina. In that final prone pose, I refocus before I go back to my go-go-go world. I pay attention one last time to the breath. I listen to my physical voice.
Finding voice in the practice of writing is much like finding voice in the practice of yoga. It is in the listening. It is about the noticing. Voice is natural, and it grows with the noticing. With practice, the writer notices how words are used, how humor or poignancy is expressed. With practice, comfort within a style is recognized. It takes a still voice of noticing—of discovering, to uncover the voice of the writer within. As a teacher of writing, I provide the space and the words for my students to hear their breath of their voice—the inhalation and pause with the exhalation and pause that is uniquely their own.
Through the breath. Through the noticing. Voice is discovered.