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?
‘Whatever happens, just keep smiling and lose yourself in Love.’ - Rumi
You’ve got your legs off the ground, arms outstretched like a plane, grimacing through one of the hardest poses (Full Locust) – and then your yoga teacher asks you to smile.
You’ve got to be kidding, right?
It’s like when you’re having your photo taken, when you really don’t want to have your photo taken, and someone asks you to: ‘Smile!’
Therein lies the secret.
When you smile, you relax.
When you smile, you see the funny side, the lighter side.
You may giggle or start to laugh.
Or even have some fun!
Like yoga, writing a book is an arduous task, filled with physical and emotional pain.
Sometimes it’s serious business, and it’s OK for our face to reflect that serious work.
But often, writing is enjoyable, as you transfer your thoughts into words, and distill your IP down.
When you stop taking the task so seriously, you relax and enjoy the practice.
When you do all the Hot Tips – like Start with a Breathing Exercise, Set your Intention, Lean in to Fear, Trust your Guide and Accept Nothing is Perfect – it gives you creative space to naturally enjoy yourself more.
The journey is not only about the writing.
It’s the ideas you bounce off with trusted people you’re working with, the big-picture discussions, the jokes you share, the laughs and the cries of frustration you have.
It’s a bold adventure of sorts.
As award-winning travel writer Pico Iyer puts it:
‘We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.
We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed.
And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.’
The same can be said for your book.
It’s a journey of discovery.
It’s everyone and everything that happens along the way.
So make it fun!
Enjoy the laughs, the smiles, the grimaces, the panic attacks and the setbacks.
Enjoy the successes and the failures.
As Dr Seuss said: ‘Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.’