Yoga teachers often talk about the body's fascia, a layer of connective tissue that surrounds and connects various muscle groups. Over time, fascia can stiffen or harden, especially because of stress and injury. As a result, our bodies experience pain or restricted movement. Yoga asana (poses) is one technique for releasing tension in the body's fascia.
But because yoga poses do engage this connective tissue, sometimes the process of breaking up these knots and old places of tension can be uncomfortable. In yoga, there's an idea that the body stores emotional trauma as well as physical--an idea that seems very common sense in the context of the stressed out body that clenches its jaw or wears its shoulders high up like earrings. Working with the fascial tissue in these areas of the body, then, may bring those feelings back to the surface.
Similarly, certain pieces of writing may contain old traumas. First book projects that began as dissertations spring immediately to my mind. But pieces that received unnecessarily and unprofessionally cruel feedback may also be traumatic. Working on these pieces may bring old, bad feelings rushing forward.
When working with a piece of writing that bears the vestigal traces of a traumatic grad school experience or other horror, it can be important to establish a safe space for working through the writing, much as the 2x6 mat is a safe place for working through trauma in the body. Creating "safe space" for writing might involve a supportive writing community, a comfortable chair and cup of tea, a freewrite about why the writing project is important and interesting, reviewing recent writing successes and so on. The point is to exorcise/exercise out the old demons so that the new work can go on.
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