Illustration of a dark haired woman in singlet reading a book while crying

Tip 17: Embrace the pain

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?

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’
―  Ernest Hemingway

There are times, lots of times, during a Bikram class that you feel like throwing in the towel.

You want to sit a posture out, excuse yourself to fill up your water bottle, or lie down and pass out right then and there on your mat.

Sometimes it’s shit. Like, really, really shit hard.

It’s exactly like when you’re writing, your brain melting from the pressure, your body fighting to hold back frustration or tears.

Will this EVER get any better?

Whether you’re in a Bikram class or writing a book, you need to redefine how you see and respond to this pain.

We've been conditioned to think all pain is ‘bad’, but the opposite is true.

Pain is not a problem.
Pain is personal power!

One of my favourite thought leaders on this topic is birth educator and empowerment coach Rhea Dempsey. In her work and book Birth with Confidence she explains that pain is an opportunity for profound personal growth:

The dancer, athlete, aerial performer, swimmer, runner, mountain climber, yoga practitioner – all push beyond their existing comfort zones, experiencing their bodies in the intensity of personal-best, peak-performance activities.

Effort-filled and often painful, these episodes are expressions of our body working towards behaviours that exceed our average performance.

We celebrate all that has gone into the achievement: the determination, the commitment, the skill, the work, the hours – the pain.

To transform from a good athlete to an athlete we admire, you have to embrace the pain.

To transform from a good author/speaker/educator/thought leader to one we value, you have to embrace the pain.

It’s not easy birthing your book into this world.

But the real challenge is to listen to your body, and be curious and open to what it’s telling you. Recognise when you’re having a crisis of confidence and take a break, savour Savasana (Hot Tip 14) or just breathe.

Then find the right people, your support team, who can help you push on through.

Pain is personal power!

So when it feels like shit, embrace it.

Push on with your practice; push on until the painstaking end.

You’ll feel more alive when you do.

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The secret to a successful book

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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