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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
For The Youth Market
UCLA Extension – Writer’s Program Online
MEETING THE MUSE: BUILDING A WRITING PRACTICE
with Virginia Frances Schwartz Available: Fall Semester 10/5/11
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 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.
with Canadian Review of Materials at University of Manitoba -
Writer's Tip: View