Illustration of a dark haired woman in singlet breathing and standing on a book

Tip 1: Start with a breathing exercise

Bikram Choudhury (love him or loathe him) is the world’s most infamous yoga instructor who built a wildly successful business based on just 26 yoga postures. So what can Bikram yoga teach us about writing a book?

Tip 1: Start with a breathing exercise

Every Bikram class starts with deep pranayama breathing to warm the body up, increase circulation, clear the mind, expand the lungs and prepare for the work ahead. Sounds like a great way to approach the overwhelming task of writing a book, wouldn’t you agree?

It seems simple, and obvious, but it’s amazing how many of us can go a whole day, slaves to the automatic pilot, breathing shallowly through our chests and failing to take in fresh oxygen – especially when we’re feeling anxious or stressed.

As a journalist, I’ve been fortunate enough to interview some fantastic athletes, including Layne Beachley, Sam Stosur and Maria Sharapova. But it’s something former Australian ironman champion Trevor Hendy once said, during his Ocean Swimming Week on Lord Howe Island, which continues to resonate with me:

“Everyone thinks more protein or carbs is what keeps your body and mind going, but it's actually oxygen – it's the way you breathe.”

Breathing is the single most important practice in life – let alone in Bikram or book writing! No matter where you’re at in the series of 26 postures, no matter where you’re at in your writing, get out of “survival breath” and take some deep belly breathes.

Then tell me: How much more peaceful and clear-headed do you feel?

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Kelly Irving

I’m an editor and writing coach with a love for deep-diving into brains and businesses. Through my one-to-one work and online program, I provide an action-by-action process that speeds up the time it takes to produce your best book, and turns overwhelm and self-doubt into momentum and excitement for writing.


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