Poetry as Meditative Practice

Poetry as Meditative Practice

Exploring the Intersection of Poetry, Yoga, and Mindfulness - By Ailbhe Wheatley

Reading time: 4 minutes

We often think of poetry as something we sit down to read, or write - as something to ponder and dissect. But how can the practice of yoga, mindfulness and meditation generate poetry in the mind? Can the act of writing poetry be a meditation in and of itself?

What I have found through years of meditation and yoga practice, is that it de-clutters and expands the mind, creating space for active dreaming and deeper listening.

As yoga practitioners and teachers, we recognise the importance of slowing down. As a writer, my mornings often begin with a journaling practice (often accompanied by a trusty cup of coffee or green tea). This is followed, most mornings, by a seated visual meditation, which I shall detail below along with ways in which you can use your meditation practice as a portal to the Divine - your wild, unique and wonderful imagination.

In turn, we often turn to poetry in times of crisis as a means of making sense of (or indeed escaping from) reality. It is also often the case that in times of heightened anxiety, grief and trauma, we allow our meditation and yoga practices to fall by the wayside.

That's when poetry comes in. Some of my personal favourite poets for exercising the imagination are the beloved and ancient Rumi, Thich That Hanh, and Yung Pueblo  - some of whose work I shall include below.

A Visualisation Exercise to Practice for Embodied Creativity

Sit down somewhere soft today. Surrender your shoulder blades, and open the space between them. Unlock and loosen your jaw. Notice the space between the eyebrows.

Now draw your awareness to the soft draw of the inhale, the slow release of the exhalation. The air, as it flows in and out through your nostrils - how it tickles. Witness with your whole being with love and care.

Try to to see yourself from a higher perspective. If you are in a place where there is enough space try to see the path ahead -  the older, wiser you. How do you live? How does it feel, on the inside? Are you well? If there is a lot of noise around you - whether its road rage or human rage or expectations and demands - find a quiet corner, perhaps in nature, and sit. Sitting and watching  - you can keep your eyes open - you begin to feel.

Where is your breath? Is it soft or are you holding it. What about your jaw, are you clenching? What about your hands? Open them wide. Do it everyday. Close your eyes and imagine yourself from the perspective of your highest Self - the one that is already whole, fresh, forgiven. You are brand new.

Using this visualisation exercise you may go out and receive the world in more colour and vibrancy than you deemed possible. Pigeons turn to angels, the ground beneath your feet glitters when you walk upon it. The grass, as it blows circles in the breeze, dances through your eyes. Witness and continue to dream, to ebb and flow within the vastness of experience.

Then return to poetry. Take a notebook and carry it with you into your day with newfound awareness. Note down colours, conversations, and interesting things you see. Or, if you have time, use the extra moments straight after your meditation practice to write - don't worry about it being 'poetic' just write, see what flows in.

Below I will share three poems I have written about the meditation journey. These are but guides. Close your eyes and allow your mind to take rest in dreaming.

Three Poems for Meditation


Finding Yourself


‘Finding yourself’ does not require any effort

or schemed searching 


It requires breath

and listening

falling into unconditional love 

with your wholeness 


Take your awareness to the space

Between the ‘stuff’

Life is made up of 

Thoughts, tasks and to-do’s - 

ife is made up of stuff

but you are made of stars. 


In stillness

we trust


In listening 

we learn


In the quiet times

we hear ourselves


And build a bridge

to otherlands.




Your strength lies in your ability to bend

in roots well planted.


This is where you grow 

and this is where you lift

when all around you

the wild winds of experience

sing and caress and breathe about you. 

Book Recommendations for Your Poetry and Meditation Practice:

Rumi's Little Book Of Life: The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit*

Clarity & Connection, Yung Pueblo*

Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh.*

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron.*

*commission earned from this link.

Ailbhe Wheatley

Ailbhe Wheatley is a writer, artist and yoga teacher based in the west of Ireland.
She graduated with a B.A in English Literature in 2019, and completed a Masters in Authorial Illustration at Falmouth in 2023. She completed a 200hr Hatha yoga teacher training in Dublin in 2017 and a 100hr prana training in 2019. Her background in yoga teaching and mindfulness informs her artistic practice. Find her on instagram @albalanna.