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New Times / Art

The following article was posted on April 3rd, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [] - Volume 27, Issue 36

The pose is mightier


A poet, dancer, Cal Poly writing instructor, and yoga teacher, Leslie St. John has long explored intriguing ways to blend the physical and the mental. St. John is also quite possibly the only person in town qualified to teach something as unique as “Prose and Poses,” a five-week workshop in yoga and creative writing.

It makes complete sense, if you think about it: Writers sit hunched over in chairs all day, freaking out over deadlines (or am I just projecting?), so practicing yoga is a great way to stretch out those joints, strengthen the muscles, and clear that busy mind. And if you already do yoga, well, here’s a totally new twist that just might deepen your practice.

Each class starts off with a series of poses, or asanas, followed by a series of specific writing exercises. Classes are held Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 8 to May 6, at Smiling Dog Yoga, 1227 Archer St. in San Luis Obispo.

“Each week we will explore different qualities of movement—twisting to remove stagnation; balancing to achieve equanimity; inverting to experience new perspectives; and back-bending to open the heart—to create a receptive, fertile environment for creative writing,” press materials read. “We will discuss the craft of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction and allow time for participants to share their work.

“However, the emphasis of the workshop is not to polish final drafts but to cultivate a practice of using yoga to open windows for inspired writing. Wear comfortable, layered clothing, and bring your favorite writing materials.”

The course is open to all levels of experience and costs $100 ($90 for Smiling Dog members). Sign up online at, call 546-9100, or come to the studio.