Friday, June 6, 2014

Comma yoga

In my long career as a yoga practitioner, I’ve been a slut—a one-night stander, a two-timer and a serial monogamist. For an hour or a year, I’ve done PE yoga, gym yoga, power yoga, restorative yoga, flow yoga, Lyrical yoga, hot yoga, cold yoga, Ashtanga, Integral, Sivananda, fusion, Anusara, Atmananda, Jivamukti, kundalini. While others dived in deep or quit the water entirely, I splashed in the shallows.

Forty years in, I think I’m ready to take the plunge into copy editor yoga. That’s what a colleague aptly called Iyengar yoga when I described its attentiveness to detail and precision. There is a right way and a wrong way in Iyengar, just as there is in a respectable grammar manual. Sloppy writing, sloppy yoga—why bother?

It has been said to me by some writers that they have no patience for the pickiness of copyediting. They’re more interested in the creative process, they say. But grammar is the sinew and bone of writing. Without it, words are mere disgorgement.

I once had no patience for pickiness in yoga. Handstands, headstands, forearm stands—I was a thrill seeker who let her limbs fly. But for a while now, I’ve been tackling yoga’s grammar through Iyengar. And there’s a thrill as ecstatic as inverting heels over head in getting a simple pose precisely right.


A said...

Absolutely wonderful, Mia, that you'll be combining the two disciplines. Many writers on yoga will value the precision and verbal/grammatical finesse of a professional copyeditor who is herself a yogini.

Mia said...

Thanks A.

Barbara said...

Though I'm not a yoga practitioner, I so love your analogy and could so relate to your description of copy editing that I'm tempted to give Iyengar a try.

Mia said...

Oh, you would love it! Iyengar is transformative.