How I Use Yoga to Achieve Writing-Life Balance

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on December 6, 2017 1 Comment • views: 412

by Melissa McPhail

When I think of the greatest challenges I’ve had to face,
time is often a factor within them.

Time to finish the manuscript. Time to coordinate a hundred varying logistics. Time to deal with an emergency. Time to write.

Time is one of the greatest hidden stressors of our lives. We often don’t pinpoint that the true reason we’re so stressed over a project or goal is because we have a limited amount of time in which to complete it, carry it through, or pull off a miracle.

Yet time, being time, is rather indifferent to our feelings about it. It clocks its constant regardless of our needs.

Unfortunately, isolating time as the stressor rarely points us to a solution for moderating the stress of our lives.

But balance can.

We Seek Balance in All Areas of Our Lives

The process of living life successfully, healthy and well is an interchange of energies. When those energies are balanced, we feel safe, happy, content. When they’re out of balance, we feel stressed, frustrated, fixated.

In every part of our lives, we make an effort (conscious or not) to create balance. Work/life, career/family, relationship/friends, goals/responsibilities, or perhaps balancing more than one career, such as a day job with a passion for writing.

Time is also a factor in each of these. Too much time at work means not enough time with family, friends or our beloved characters.

Too much time in a writing chair means that at the end of the day we’re trying to compensate for eight hours spent in a relatively static position with a thirty minute run.

I learned the value of balance through my yoga practice.

How Yoga Helps You Practice Maintaining Balance

When you’re on the mat, your focus is on balancing the body’s effort against gravity through the establishment of dynamic tension—that is, by reaching opposing muscle groups in opposite directions to establish an equilibrium of forces.

But you’re also balancing your breath with your movement. You’re finding an equilibrium of tension versus relaxation in every pose.

You’re balancing your effort to achieve a pose against your body’s limitations. You’re balancing a spiritual awareness of self against a corporeal pain or discomfort while holding a pose or stretch.

I learned that all of these equilibriums need to be met in order to fully embrace my yoga practice. And it’s the same in life.

Imbalances Stack Up and Create Strain in Our Lives

Imbalances stack up. Too much time at the office, not enough time spent with our families, no time for relationships, friends or outings.

When our lives are lived with the scales always too heavily weighted in one area of interest or pursuit, the other parts of life become strained. We feel that strain, whether or not we label it correctly for what it is.

Then, when the last straw snaps, our lives are so heavily weighted in one direction or another that we cannot easily correct course back to the mean.

I had many of these imbalances when I first began my yoga practice, but over time, as I began applying yogic concepts to my everyday life—when I began actually balancing each area of my life to give it attention commensurate with its needs for growth—then I began to see how useful this concept can be towards finding health and happiness.

Sometimes All We Need to Find Balance is a Change in Mindset

Perhaps your health is where the greatest imbalance in your life manifests. Ask yourself, “What factors can I change to better balance my efforts in this area?”

Do you need more time to exercise? More time to make healthy meals? More time to rest or decompress?

Instead of thinking of the problem of your health with time as the prime factor (“I just don’t have time for…”), try flipping the card around and asking yourself instead how you can bring balance to that area of your life.

Often, the most life-changing efforts can begin by simply changing our minds about how we think of them. Balance in mind, as well as action.

* * *

Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid fantasy reader.

A long-time student of philosophy, she is passionate about the fantasy genre because of its inherent philosophical explorations. Melissa loves sailing, skiing and discussing books and philosophy—not necessarily in that order.

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her husband, twin daughters and four very large cats. She is known for being an engaged author on social media and welcomes your thoughts on her work, the fantasy genre, or independent publishing. Look for her on Twitter or Facebook, or via her website.


Cephrael’s Hand: “All things are formed of patterns…” And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross:

In Alorin… three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him.
In the kingdom of Dannym… the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord.
In the Nadori desert…tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them. Honor-bound to serve the First Lord in return for his life, Trell continues on his appointed path, yet each day unveils new and stranger secrets that eventually call into question everything he knows.
Available at Amazon.

The Dagger of Adendigaeth: At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin’s Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unmake the universe itself?In T’khendar…Prince Ean val Lorian has forsaken his companions in blood and battle to join the traitorous Fifth Vestal in T’khendar in the hopes of gaining some insight into the tragedies that plagued his Return. Now he must confront the man he’s long thought of as his enemy and discover the role he is meant to play in the First Lord’s darkly magnificent game.

The Vestal Raine D’Lacourte has followed his traitorous oath-brother Björn through six kingdoms and into the distant realm of T’khendar seeking explanation and atonement. But the condemned realm harbors shocking secrets, and Raine soon realizes he’s facing his greatest enemy yet—not in Björn, but in the truth.

Elsewhere in Alorin…the young truthreader, Tanis, faces a new villain in the fiery-eyed man he followed from the café in Rethynnea; the soldier Trell struggles to reconcile his growing feelings for the girl he rescued from the river against the guilt of his unknown past; and in Tambarré, another truthreader named Kjieran van Stone treads the incense-filled hallways of the Prophet Bethamin’s temple hoping to uncover a plot of treachery and betrayal before the Prophet demands his soul.

The time has come for each player to claim his role in the First Lord’s masterful game. All will be tested, but only time will tell how many can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.

Available at Amazon.

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  1. Kara Post-Kennedy says:

    I consider my yoga practice part of my job! Essential for my emotional and physical health.

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