As an author, I have spent my life teaching. What gave me the most pleasure was teaching writing to teachers and their students in Grades K-6 at a Magnet School of Writing & Publishing in NYC where I was the Writing Staff Developer. Throughout that long career, I kept my own writer’s notebooks, began writing fiction and studied ways to keep myself creative by practicing yoga to settle my body and clear my mind. Along the way, I published 5 novels for YA. Just before I retired from my busy job, I thought I would miss teaching. So I took a position with UCLA Extension online where I now teach creative writing to adults from my desk at home, connecting to writers from all over the world to help them shape their own writing practices. That course, Meeting The Muse, gives writers an apprenticeship to build on.
Recently, I developed another course, Moving Into Stillness, which explores the symbiotic relationship between yoga, physical discipline and writing. With a 35 year background of training and practice in yoga in a variety of approaches ( Sivananda, Integral, Iyengar and Kripalu), yoga teaching certification from the Sivananda Ashram (1976), I adapted my writing courses for the Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas, where I am a writer-in- residence. I am also a personal Writing Coach offering writing consultations at the ashram, my home in NYC and over the internet.




Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas

Please join Virginia Frances Schwartz for daily writing sessions (10/15/16-10/19/16)
in a beautiful yoga ashram in the Bahamas. Bring a notebook, bathing suit and an open heart. This is part of the Yoga Vacation Program.
Infuse Your Writing with Yoga
Experience how yoga can be a writer's most powerful tool. Allow your words to find their own path onto the page without interference by practicing ahimsa, or non-judgment. Learn how to shift tamas (lack of inspiration) and rajas (over-thinking) so you can write from a pure sattvic center of calmness. Employing simple yogic principles in your writing practice can help to quiet your mind and enable you to enter an expansive state where new ideas flow. This program is offered as one evening satsang and four daily hour-and-a-half workshops. Enjoy daily freewrites in the garden with simple yoga poses, breath work, meditation, and intention. Unleash your creativity and awaken the muse within.
Experience how yoga can be a writer’s most powerful tool.
View Course:
6/24/15 - 6/28/15 Infuse Your Writing with Yoga

View Course: 10/29/15 - 11/1/15 Infuse Your Writing with Yoga
View Course:
10/15/16 - 10/19/16
Infuse Your Writing with Yoga
View Course: 10/15/17 - 10/20/17 Infuse Your Writing with Yoga


UCLA Extension – Writers’ Program Online
*** MOVING INTO STILLNESS: a Yoga Based Writing Course with Virginia Frances Schwartz Available:
Fall Semester 4/5/17 - 5/15/17
*** "Meeting the Muse" is recommended but not required prior to taking this course,
This course is designed for students with some background in yoga or another physical discipline and interest in Indian philosophy. It is 6 weeks in duration.

https://www.uclaextension.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=168066

MOVING INTO STILLNESS Sample Podcast: "Releasing & Moving into an Open State", which leads students in an exercise combining a meditative Thich Nhat Hanh walk and yogic breathing with a word game. Click To Listen

Course Description:
Between the breath, that pause between the inhale and exhale, is our still center. This is the creative mind, where words and images dwell. When writers gain access to this core, they contact original mind and their work is changed, charged with heat and energy. Such writing is infused with such strong emotion and naked truth that writers often feel overwhelmed in all the turmoil. Writers are persistent warriors; they need techniques as sharp as swords to allow their own voice to spill onto the page.
Designed to bypass the distracting monkey mind, restlessness and the many obstacles we all encounter, this course helps writers focus and consciously gain access to the wide open spaces of their own inner being. This course will examine disciplines like breath control, meditation, intention, ahimsa, visualization, mindless activities, and physical disciplines like yoga asanas and Thich Nhat Hanh's walking meditation. Students will experiment with these various spiritual tools, discuss their obstacles in a supportive milieu, design their own daily practice and post work in any genre along the way. It will conclude with a final piece discussing one’s personal spiritually based writing practice.

My Philosophy:
As writers, we need to find and develop discriminating tools that allow us to access our creative mind regularly, even daily. These tools, like a warrior’s stance and his sword, aid us in bypassing writer’s blocks, dead ends, procrastination, doubt, fear and other obstacles that daily insert themselves in our lives, blocking our true potential. These tools are quite specific and tailored to our lifestyle and needs and will become, with time, a part of a daily practice, so that everything we do, from washing dishes to walking down the block, observing a tulip, meditating, playing golf, or even waiting in line at the supermarket can become vehicles to allow us access to the self residing within. This still center is the creative mind. The more we are in touch with it, the more we can connect to our own creative core. From this, our writing will grow like a seed given soil, sunlight and water. The work we begin here will be work for a lifetime.


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Writers in the Mountains
WORKSHOP: HOW TO BUILD A WRITING PRACTICE
7/20/14 @ E-CENTER, MAIN STREET, DELHI, NY,

is a local writing group whose mission is to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Our workshops are informal, meeting from three to six sessions. Each participant has the chance to read aloud either a new work, or a work in progress. The instructor and the other writers in the workshop will critique the writing, offer constructive criticisms and suggestions for improvement.

The number of participants in a workshop will vary from as few as six to as many as twelve. We want to be sure that each participant has an opportunity to read and receive evaluations. At the end of the workshop a public reading is arranged so that the work can be shared with the community. Some of our participants have no writing experience at all and others have written for years. There are workshops geared toward all styles, genres, and experience. All that is required is a love of language and the desire to tell a story.
View onwritersinthemountains...

 

Writer in Residence at Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas
Please join Virginia Frances Schwartz for daily writing sessions 6/23/14 - 6/27/14 in a beautiful yoga ashram in the Bahamas. Bring a notebook, bathing suit and an open heart. This is part of the Yoga Vacation Program.
Writing from the Spirit

Unleash your creative self. Learn how to fuse yoga with writing. Daily freewrites in the garden with easy yoga poses, breathwork, meditation and intention. Discussions, sharing of work with mild critique. Allow your stories to find their way onto the page without judgment. Writing from a spiritual perspective increases our awareness of original mind and develops patience, persistence and self acceptance (ahimsa). This is what it means to build a yogic writing practice.

View Course: Writing from the Spirit



AUTHOR EVENT:
Join the author at the Windsor BookFest in Ontario on 11/5/11 where Virginia will be discussing her historical fiction novel about slaves who crossed into Canada, Crossing to Freedom. A reading and signing will follow the event.

http://www.bookfestwindsor.com/node/225


Talks About Writing
Writing For The Youth Market
Riding The Wave


UCLA Extension – Writer’s Program Online
MEETING THE MUSE: BUILDING A WRITING PRACTICE
with Virginia Frances Schwartz Available:
Fall Semester 10/5/11
http://www2.uclaextension.edu/writers/instructors.php?recordID=230

Course Description:

General Interest
For beginning and intermediate writers, all genres. 10 weeks in duration.
The secret of strong writing is staying connected to it; regular writing begets good writing. Practice lies at the core of developing craft. In this course, you acquire techniques that defeat the tyranny of the blank page and build, as B.F. Skinner says, a circadian rhythm that automatically generates better, more consistent writing. You will learn how to use a Writer’s Notebook to grow “seeds” of story ideas to develop into future projects, engage in exercises that dig deeply into character/voice, memories, place and also experiment with writing exercises to tap into the subconscious. The course goal is to provide a supportive immersion into the writing process, providing a set of strategies and tools you can use in your ongoing regular writing practice. An ongoing Journal keeping track of your writing practice will also be maintained. The course culminates with the submission of revised entries in a variety of genres for class discussion.

My Philosophy:
My goal is to help students nurture their writing practice. To be a writer is to develop a relationship with your creative self, balancing the wildness of the subconscious with the clarity of the conscious mind. Writers use their daily practice to confront barriers: lack of time; fear that nothing will come, or that thoughts cannot be expressed the way they blaze in your mind. When you establish a regular practice, making a commitment to a consistent time and place, resistance softens. By continually facing the unknown through the disciplined art of notebook writing, an inward shift occurs. Stories find their way upwards from your gut onto the page. When you sit patiently, you call up the muse, a wind that breathes fire into your imaginings. The muse is inside you. This is what it means to build a writing practice. It’s practical, mysterious, always changing. Anything can happen.

 



Interview with Canadian Review of Materials at University of Manitoba - View Site


Writer's Tip:
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