ALIGN YOUR STORY
A unique online writing class with yoga, meditation, close readings, and much more to integrate mind, body, and spirit.
Unblock, trust your voice, and write your best work —with more power and ease.
Enrollment is now closed
Join the waitlist to be the first to hear when the course opens for enrollment next spring by filling out the form below.
Tap into creative, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Your story and your voice hold the key to your well-being, your power, and your purpose.
But most of us don’t have the tools to access our full story or to write with our full voice.
Most writing programs focus only on the limited left brain and on the words on the page.
I’m Nadia Colburn, and in this course, I bring together my background as an Ivy-League-educated literature professor and award-winning writer with my training and experience as a yoga teacher, meditator, and activist.
This online writing workshop brings together meditation and optional yoga with powerful lessons and detailed close readings to bring together craft and process, mind, body and spirit.
It guides you to go deeper, quiet the mind, listen to your body, and be inspired by other writers and thinkers so you can write your best work.
It’s a space to reclaim your whole story, to come out of secrets, to embrace your full experiences and the emotional and embodied dimensions of your creative vision and voice.
It invites you to join a wonderful community of supportive and inspiring women writers around the world.
And once you join, you have lifetime access to all the online materials so that you can go through the writing course material again at your own pace and continue to deepen your writing.
Nadia's astonishing class, Align Your Story, marked a turning point in my professional life. I was utterly dejected, lacking the energy and hope to keep going with my writing. I’d published one book but wasn’t sure what the future held. In desperation, I signed up for Nadia’s class, knowing that I needed to reset my mind, figure out what mattered to me, and make some important decisions about my career. Right away, with Nadia's expert and soothing guidance, I started softening my death grip on life and work. I was able to be playful again, to explore and relax. I started chanting (loudly!) and stretching, and playing around with words. My mind opened up again and I realized I would be okay. I decided that I wanted to keep writing, even if I never managed to get my novels published. The rest is history! Shortly after finishing the class, my novel was accepted for publication, and I've now published two best-selling novels, and my third is on its way.
Bestselling author of The Forgotten Hours and This Terrible Beauty.
“For a long time, trying to write felt like poking at a hot bruise of self-doubt and fear. Nadia’s writing workshop for women, which combines yoga, meditation and serious literary work, catalyzed a fundamental change in how I approach my writing, and now, I write with enthusiasm and minimal anxiety. Align Your Story finally allowed me to achieve coherence between my spiritual, physical and creative lives—something I’d been looking for that all of my life without knowing where to find it.
I recommend this course to everyone who wants to take their creative lives to the next level. After all, the world needs creative people to align themselves more than ever these days; we are the superheroes the world needs.”
Simone Grace Seol
WHO IS IT FOR
Find and honor your unique voice.
Align Your story is for novice writers and also for professional writers and everyone in between.
It’s for fiction writers and memoir writers, poets and business writers. This women’s writing workshop is designed for interested beginners and experienced meditation and yoga practitioners.
It is for professional women, mothers, trauma survivors, young women wanting to start your writing life in an aligned way, for retired women who have the time and experience now to bring more of yourself to your writing life. It is for teachers, therapists, painters, activists, business women, anyone interested in healing, growing, and stepping into your full voice.
Align Your Story meets you where you are.
How can this be?
This course gives you tools that most writing schools don't give us and that you can access at any point of your journey; these tools help you deepen your relationship with yourself and your writing life.
The course asks you to reconsider many of your implicit assumptions about writing that don’t help you, but actually might be holding you back and keeping you stuck, unable to listen deeply to your voice or story.
The course teaches through close readings of some of the world's most inspiring literature so that we learn from both
And it gives you the resources, practices, and support you need to get through the blocks and frustrations that have been holding you back so that you can align with yourself and write your best work.
Do you feel that you have something important to say but you can’t quite access it?
Do you wish that writing were not as difficult?
Do you feel out of joint in your mind and your body?
Do you worry that if you write your story you will be trapped by its negativity?
Do you want to jump into your positive memories and experiences, but you aren’t sure how?
Do you worry what people will think of you if you tell your truth and what the consequences will be?
Do you feel isolated and alone as a writer and want a supportive community?
Are you ready to write your best, most original work with your full powers?
Do you love to read and want to learn from some of the most inspiring writers?
Are you ready to fall in love with your own writing?
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story”
— Zora Neale Hurston
30-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
Signing up for this course is a commitment to your voice and to the artist in you. I want to encourage you to honor that commitment. So I ask that you at least try the material. That said, I stand 100% behind the quality of the course. If you’re not satisfied, I offer a 100% money-back guarantee. I only ask that you show that you have engaged with the work for at least the first three modules.
The benefits of Align Your Story can be more profound and long-lasting than a $60,000 MFA program
It’s hard to put a value on this course.
Students have completed books with this practice after being stalled on their writing for years.
Students use this practice to get through periods of illness and loss and thrive during the difficult process.
Students have felt more connected with themselves as a result of this practice than they have in years and have seen more benefits from incorporating this practice in their life than they experienced in years of therapy.
Students be able to manage chronic illness with much greater ease and less discomfort. This course changes lives.
When you take a new practice like this into your life, the rewards are long lasting and priceless.
Susan Falkenstein joined Align Your Story when she was healing from cancer. The course allowed her to get clear on her own story and voice, and now she shares the lessons of clear self expression with students in her classes as a Qi Gong teacher.
Sara Parvinian, a medical doctor, has been carrying the story of her teenage years in Iran during the Iranian revolution for decades. Now, with the help of Align Your Story, she finally has a method to put that chapter of her life on the page in her memoir.
Align Your Story is the only kind of writing workshop for women that brings together writing, close readings, meditation, and optional yoga.
With Align Your Story, these distinct components are brought together through intentional integration. You are supported, week by week, through meaningful exercises, and all for the single price of the course.
The Align Your Story online writing workshop for women brings together my years-long formal training as an academic and creative writer with my deep study and immersion in the insights and wisdom of the meditative and yogic traditions. To that, I bring my own lived experiences, the heart of a mother, and the passion of an activist.
The course gives you the tools to understand and expand your craft with the left brain and also the tools to, when appropriate, quiet that left brain and let other parts of yourself express themselves.
- The meditation quiets the constant chatter and stills the anxiety so that you can listen more deeply to your deeper insights.
- The yoga allows you to unlock the messages of your body.
- Lessons, drawing on my 20 years of experience as an award-winning writer and literature teacher, guide you through a step-by-step process to develop, trust, and give wider range to your unique voice.
- Detailed close readings of work by some of the world's most inspiring poets and writers help you learn new techniques and strategies, read as a writer, and develop your writer's ear.
- Writing exercises guide you on a well structured step-by-step process to deepen your writing, to stretch yourself, to revise, and to create a strong, coherent body of work.
The course allows you to access a fuller range of knowing, emotional well-being, and expression.
In other writing courses, opportunities to bring together your cohesive self are limited or totally absent. At the very best, you can seek out these practices from many different courses, with little interaction between the disciplines and with significant pricetags in signing up for so many separate courses.
With Align Your Story, these distinct components are brought together through intentional integration. You are supported, week by week, through meaningful exercises, and all for the single price of the course.
Plus the course gives you weekly live coaching sessions with Nadia for each module for accountability and support, and life-long access to a wonderful community of supportive and inspiring like-minded women writers around the world.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
— Martha Graham
See what some students have said…
Carol King is a teacher of creative writing herself. She especially appreciated the close attention to other literature that the course offered, but what surprised her most about the course was the way it shifted her own relationship to her body, pleasure, and intimacy. As she listened more deeply to herself, she had a whole new relationship to pleasure.
“For me, writing is a way to process life and connect with my inner voice. I’m a busy professional with a career which doesn’t allow much space for creativity and over the past few years, my writing had gotten crowded out, then pushed to the side. I’m also a visual artist and when I had a few moments to create, this visual work felt easier than writing because it required less thinking. I didn’t realize that the writing was the foundation of the visual work. Over time, I began to feel a little lost without a consistent writing practice but I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in. At about the time that I decided to re-focus and prioritize my creative writing, I came across Nadia’s course, Align Your Story (AYS). I hesitated a little before signing up; I wondered about the practicality of committing that much time and money to my writing. Wasn’t it just a hobby? Eventually, I decided to dive in (I tried one of her free offerings first and it was incredible) and I haven’t regretted it for a second. This course was worth every penny and more.
Since working with Nadia, I have been writing more consistently and deeply than before, but it’s not just that. Nadia’s approach is so much more than a writing workshop – it’s a new way of looking at life and art. AYS combines yoga and meditation along with the study of great works by other writers then merges it all together in a way that opens up new ways of thinking and being. She designed the AYS curriculum to be flexible and easily tailored to each person’s needs and available time. I love that I can go back later to review modules or take a deeper dive whenever I like. Nadia has built a supportive and loving community, and by taking one of her courses, you are welcomed inside with open arms. The atmosphere of the course is safe and encouraging – no judgment, just appreciation for the magic and healing power of creativity. Through Nadia’s live calls and coaching, I found new confidence in my writing. Since taking the course, I've devised a practice which integrates my writing and visual art. This course has been a revelation for me!“
“When I retired , I was determined to move into my most creative self without the constraints and rules of others’ expectations. I just was not quite sure how I was going to get there. To my delight and surprise, this writing workshop for women came along and lit the way.
Align Your Story’s approach to writing as storytelling made me lighter and happier; once I saw myself as a storyteller I also became a story writer. And with that realization came freedom.
I was amazed by how the simple act of writing a new ending to an old memory brought me into a different relationship with that memory. What I have found with Align Your Story is a new relationship to myself!
Align Your Story is a wonderful writing course; I could not have wanted for more content, personal connection, creative support or input. I see its effect in all of my life.”
Retired from career in Human Resources
“I stumbled upon Align Your Story in a moment of sheer desperation. From day one, Align Your Story is a thoughtful, engaging and inspiring series of modules that takes the writer on a deeply spiritual, soul-filling journey, and it shifted my own life dramatically. The yoga and meditation exercises were an unexpected bonus and gave consciousness and clarity to each of the writing practices. I had never before written with so much freedom and personal insight as I was compelled to during Nadia’s course. Her genuine interest in bringing out your authentic voice, and gently teasing out the parts of your personal journey that lend weight and meaning to your work keeps you coming back for more each week.
I look at this course as my own personal spiritual spring cleaning…the fact that I can access the course anytime I want offers endless opportunities to regularly clear out the “dust” that collects in the crawl spaces of my soul. ”
Karen Biscoe, MA
“I had always dreamed of writing, but before AYS my writing consisted of personal journal entries. Nadia’s writing prompts and teaching style gave me the structure to start writing with awareness and intention and gave me the confidence to share my writing with others. It was wonderful to be part of a supportive community and get constructive feedback on my work. After completing the program, I started a blog on Medium, and my first book, The Goddess Solution, (Harper Collins) was published in spring 2021!
I’m so grateful to have found Nadia’s course, which got me on this path of writing my book. If you are interested in adding more structure to your writing practice and integrating it with your mindfulness practice, you’ll love Align Your Story; it might be the first step for your book, too.”
LISA MARIE RANKIN
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
Get comfortable with not knowing, with play, experimentation, mistakes, with the ugly, the beautiful, and non judgement.
We will look closely at a wide variety of voices exploring a wide variety of contents to give you more freedom in your own range of expression.
Includes Mindful Exercises and Unlocking the Spine in Yoga
Studied Texts: Sapho, W.H.Auden, Anne Lamott, Natalie Golberg
In this module of the writing workshop for women, we will write from listening—and then we will practice listening to and reading our own work. In this module, we will practice finding a place of stillness and exploring where that takes our writing. We will read pieces that encourage us to go deep within ourselves.
Includes Mindful Exercise and Yoga of Stretching.
Studied texts include pieces by Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Rainer Maria Rillke
What we can learn from our shadow side so we can embrace our truest power? Sometimes we need to go into the difficult places before we can move forward. This module will give you the tools to approach resistance without fear and to move through it with curiosity and grace.
Meditation exercises and strengthening the lower chakras.
Studied texts include: Maxine Hong Kingston, Charles Bukowski, Rumi
The good, the bad, the funny, the ugly, the beautiful, all can be found in childhood. This module will give you the tools to connect with the source of your own power as a writer by reconnecting with your power as a child.
Meditation exercise and heart opening yoga
Reading includes texts by William Wordsworth, Virginia Woolf, Jacqueline Woodson
What have been unexpected moments of joy in your life? When have you had sustained periods of joy? Find your true voice, even if it is deeply sad or hurt or angry; there is joy in the creative act itself. This module will help you come into a more nuanced relationship with joy and bring it into your writing life in new ways.
Meditation, chanting and yoga to open your throat chakra
Studied texts include: Leo Tolstoy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver
In this module, you will experiment with revising, rewriting, re-seeing. Try on different hats: play, experiment, align. We won’t stress perfection, but will be open, curious, and diligent in the process of writing and revising our work so that it can be polished and shine on the page.
Meditation and yin yoga
Studied texts: Basho, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop
How do you narrate a story, whatever genre you're working in? Where do you start? What is significant? What do you put in and what do you keep out? What tone do you take? What images do you use?
In this module, we’ll put together the pieces in a variety of different ways and come into alignment so that we can write polished, finished pieces.
Meditation and yoga flow
Studied Texts: Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, Walt Whitman, Hafiz
So how do you keep going? In this final module, you will have the tools to keep your writing practice going for as long as you like–perhaps your whole life. Full of inspiration and encouragement, this module will make you fall in love–if you haven’t already–with your own writing.
Meditation and heart opening yoga
Studied texts: Malcolm X, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Emily Dickinson
EACH MODULE COMES WITH THESE SEVEN COMPONENTS
Each lesson— on themes such as resistance, joy, childhood, revision and more—will explain and develop the theme of the module, bring together the different elements of the course, and help you connect to your voice and to the full range of your story and creativity. The course takes you on a step-by-step process to write with more power and ease, get clear on your story, and write with a fuller emotional range. Course material is delivered in downloadable audio so that you can listen at your convenience and also read as text.
2. CLOSE READINGS
Good writing comes in part from good reading. Many of us write because we love to read. Each module offers carefully chosen close readings of literature that illustrate the module’s theme. The close readings offer lessons in craft, technique, and literary vision. We read and learn from writers such as Sapho, Rilke, Proust, Rumi, Maya Angelou, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary Oliver, Rebecca Solnit as well as inspiring thinkers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Raine Eisler, and many others. A bonus section of extra suggested readings is also included in each module so you can go deeper if you want. Course material is delivered in downloadable audio so that you can listen at your convenience and also as readable text.
3. WRITING EXERCISES & PROMPTS
Each module contains numerous in-depth writing exercises and prompts that guide you on a step-by step process. Extra prompts are available so that you can come through the course again and again. These prompts are designed for writers working in any genre and can be adapted for writers working on a larger writing project.
In each module, I guide you through a carefully chosen meditation to help clear the static from your mind and come into greater concentration, clarity and insight. The course guides you to establish a home practice that integrated meditation and writing. Material is delivered with a short teaching video and audio to practice with.
In each module, I lead a carefully selected yoga set to complement the theme of the week, deepen the focus of the lesson, and bring mind and body into integration. Our bodies as well as our minds carry our stories, and the yoga is designed to help you listen to your body, release what you no longer need, and heal and harness the power of your body’s wisdom. The yoga can be rigorous for those looking for good physical, emotional and mental strength building and stamina, but it can also be modified for all body types and be taken very gently. Yoga is optional. Material is delivered with a teaching video and audio to practice with.
6. LIVE ZOOM COACHING SESSIONS (RECORDINGS AVAILABLE) 75-90 minutes
The course comes with a live (optional) Zoom session for each module (10 in total). This is a time to ask questions, engage in discussion, get personalized coaching, and practice together. There will also be time at the end to go into breakout rooms to connect in smaller group with course members, share work, and engage in conversation. This is an amazing opportunity to get coaching at an amazingly low price (ten one-on-one sessions with me cost $5000.)
All sessions will be recorded. If you can’t make the sessions live, you can email questions in advance and watch the recording later. Some people prefer to take the course as a writing retreat and not participate in the calls. But you can always write your questions in and listen to the recording. If you're looking for community, these lives sessions are a great way to connect with other women writers and I always offer a chance to join small break-out rooms at the end of the session.
This year, I'm offering two extra sessions, one in July and one in August, so that you have more spaciousness to work through the course material. This is especially helpful for teachers or others who have a busy spring.
7. FACEBOOK GROUP
There is an ongoing (optional) Facebook group of engaged, supportive, inspiring women writers around the world. We have students in Israel, England, Germany, Australia, India, South Korea, China, Canada, California, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Maine and many other places. Share work, ask questions, get support, offer feedback, be inspired.
Some students prefer not to be on Facebook. If that’s you, don’t worry! Everything on Facebook is optional. All the course materials are housed online on a website.
But if you're interested in more community, in sharing your work, in getting feedback, in having accountability, and in connecting more deeply, this is a great place to be. I'm very active in the Facebook group and am there to guide you and support you. And many students have made lasting friendships and ongoing writers groups from this group. And unlike other courses, this is an ongoing community that continues from year to year.
Renee Chandler has found a new relationship with almost every aspect of her life through the transformative method of Align Your Story, which she has worked through for several years. As Renee listened more deeply, she found a new relationship to spirituality; she came to love herself in a new way; she started dating again; and even her physical health improved. At the same time, her creative life blossomed.
Since joining Align Your Story, Monica Lehner has been meeting regularly with a group of other AYS students to share work and experiences as writers and has stepped into her full commitment to herself as a writer.
Yolanda Crawley is grateful that she took Align Your Story before starting an MFA program in Fiction. She's much better able to receive comments now and is even teaching her daughter some of the methods from AYS!
I offer Align Your Story only once a year. Enrollment opens each spring.
I release the self-paced modules over 11 weeks (there will be several catch-up weeks). PLUS, this year, I'm adding an extra coaching session in both July and August to support students continuing to work through the summer.
The course offers enough support so that you have structure and accountability but also enough flexibility for it to fit your own schedule.
Because you have lifetime access to the course, you can go at your own pace and don’t need to worry about “falling behind.” The lessons and close readings come in audio format, so you can enjoy them while you go for a walk, do the dishes, drive, etc.
Most students spend 2-4 hours per week on the course. But some spend only an hour and some spend much more if they want to go deep into their own writing and practice.
The course offers guidance about how to work with the materials based on your schedule and interests (do you want to focus on yoga or skip the yoga, for example). You can use the course to write all new work or to go deeper with a writing project you’re already engaged with.
And once you enroll, you have lifetime access so you can come back to the material whenever you want and can participate in the live sessions each year when I offer them.
See more about the course in the video below:
See what some people have said…
A video from Erin Mitchell and her husband Stephen Mitchell about Erin’s experience in Align Your Story and how it helped not only her writing, but also their relationship and family life.
“People often talk about how tortuous the writing life is. That was my experience as a professional novelist. This writing workshop for women offers a different path, one that incorporates community, physical exercise, meditation, readings, writing prompts, and Nadia’s own gentle, insightful presence and listening. I loved the diversity of resources I found here and how the course (quite literally) strengthens the muscles needed for a regular writing practice.
I now incorporate the yoga exercises from this course, as well as meditation exercises, into my daily writing schedule. It puts me in a better mood and reminds me of the rest of myself, the entirety of me, on days that feel frustrating at the computer.
I’ve made exciting progress on my second novel, and I’ve felt a lot less alone. AYS has given me the chance to re-examine my relationship to success and self-worth, in a way that serves not just my writing, but the rest of my life, too. It’s been an important way for me to honor and embrace my own voice, both on and off the page.”
author of Home Leave
“At last I discovered a writing mentor, Nadia Colburn, who dares to value both the craft of writing and one’s personal journey of body, mind, spirit and voice. What I did not expect was how intentionally and lovingly Nadia would hold herself, her students, and the world to that vision throughout Align Your Story.
Her profoundly powerful lessons, readings, supporting yoga movements, meditations, and guidance in the weekly phone conversations, met me exactly where I was on my own path. Her insight and candor reached directly to parts of my own unconscious.
I responded to Align Your Story with an unexpected and welcome shift in a long-standing, difficult recurring dream. And this shift, in turn has been the start of a long series of changes. I now am working professionally myself as a dream-worker, helping others interpret and shift their dreams. Working with Nadia through Align Your Story allowed me a depth of internal movement and self-integration that infused new life and strength into my path and voice.”
mother, meditation teacher, dream-work facilitator
“Align Your Story is an amazing course. I was recently divorced after 40 years, and AYS provided me a safe space for exploring and writing about tough memories. Being part of a community of women working hard to find their voices and invest in their own healing through writing has been an important part of the journey. The course has helped me write more fluidly and opened up a process of deep healing.
I am stronger, more authentic, and have more love for myself as a result of Align Your Story. And my writing has improved, too! I write every day now. I can now write more objectively and compassionately not only toward myself, but also toward others. Thank you for this transformational course!“
“This will be my fourth time through Align your story, and every time my story becomes clearer and clearer. I thought I was crazy for spending this money on a class for writing. But in reality, it’s been the best money I have ever spent.“
“I’m a professor of modern languages and literature and do a lot of academic writing, but I wanted to work on my creative writing, so signed up for Align Your Story. I found that connecting the mind/body with the act of writing creatively helped me to find my own voice within my body. To my surprise, this method of writing from a place of connection not only helped me write creatively, but also helped make my academic writing more productive. I wrote chapter drafts for a book I have in progress while also working on several creative pieces. I learned that finding time for my creative work is absolutely possible and that these two types of writing can actually coexist. And I now have two creative pieces that I've finished.
I really enjoyed the literary pieces chosen for each module and the ways they connected to the writing prompts. The yoga and meditation blended in a way that encouraged me to write every time I sit down in front of my computer. This course has really changed my relationship to my writing.
Thank you so much, Nadia, for a beautiful experience!“
professor of modern languages and literature
Concerned you don’t have time to participate fully in the writing course?
I've added two extra sessions this summer to continue supporting you as you work your way through the course material over an extended period with live (and recorded) coaching sessions.
Don’t worry: once you enroll you have lifetime access to the online materials so can go at your own pace and come back through the course as many times as you want.
– MY STORY –
Hi, I’m Nadia Colburn, founder and creator of Align Your Story.
I believe that your voice and your story matter. I’m passionate about helping women share their unique stories and their creativity with the world.
I was always a good student. I got straight A’s, went to Harvard and then to Columbia where I got a PhD in English. I was rewarded for my good writing. But the truth is, I didn’t really know my own voice or my own story. And while I looked “good” on paper, I wasn’t really expressing myself fully. My goodness was its own kind of trap.
I needed not just to express my story, but also to understand and heal the places that were wounded. I needed to learn how to be my own best witness. To do this, I stepped away from a successful academic life to do the hard inner work of healing and growing and of showing up for myself—and also for my children.
I didn’t want to just have things to teach from my mind. I wanted to learn how to live as myself with all my complexities in our complicated world. I needed to learn how to put the different sides of me together, the mind and the body and the heart and the spirit; they all felt fragmented.
There wasn’t a model for me to do this: my creative writing community focused only on what was on the page; my healing and yoga and spiritual communities focused on the inner work, but I didn’t have a way to integrate that work with outer expression or with coming back into the public world. I needed to create my own method.
It was a long and bumpy path. In addition to my training as a an award-winning creative writer and PhD in English, who has been a literature professor at MIT and a creative writing workshop leader at the University level, I also got trained as a yoga teacher, became a serious student of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, and have experience in ten day silent Vipassana retreats.
When I integrated these different modalities for myself, amazing things began to happen. I found that I could write from my center, with more ease and more power. Because I knew better who I was, I could access my own authority and write about my authentic experiences as a woman.
I came to love my own difficult, twisty, painful, wonderful, joyful, unique story. I came to write about what it means to me to be a woman with a body, a woman who was once a girl and is now a mother, a citizen, a survivor, a lover, a thinker, an animal. In the process, not only did I feel less anxious, but also, many of the health problems I had had for years also cleared up! I began to bring these methods to my students. I’ve now taught thousands of students and have seen the exciting transformations that this process brings to them.
I’m the author of the poetry book The High Shelf and my second book is forthcoming in early 2024. My poetry and prose have been published in more than 80 publications, including The New Yorker, Spirituality & Health, American Poetry Review, LA Review of Books, Tiny Buddha, Lion’s Roar, Truthout and many other places. My essay “The Language of Silence: Listening to the Body” is published in The Anatomy of Silence: 26 stories about all the sh*t that gets in the way of talking about sexual violence.” I’m a founding editor at Anchor Magazine: where spirituality and social justice meet, and have taught workshops in a wide variety of places including Copper Beach Institute, The Muse and the Marketplace, The MA Poetry Festival, The Harvard Divinity School, Northeastern and many other places. I founded Align Your Story to help women step into the full power of their voice and it has been an honor to work with the thousands of women who have come through and grown inside of my programs.
Each writer has a different story, but the unique method that I created first for myself and now share with others helps can help you access your true creativity and authentic voice–and authority.
I created Align Your Story as an act of love and also as a form of activism, and I want to share it with you. It is my mission to bring together two worlds that are often separate: the best of the head and the heart, and to help my students harness the power of more holistic, mindful writing and story telling. The stories we tell, about ourselves and about our world, shape us into who we are. And more than ever, we need our stories, the power of our imagination, and our creative visions. This is powerful, transformative work that regenerates us not only individually but also collectively. It is the change we need and the change the world needs.
IF YOU SIGN UP EARLY, YOU GET:
AMAZING PROGRAM BONUSES to round out your experience
CHECKLIST TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY AND LOVE YOUR WRITING: GET OVER WRITERS' BLOCK WITH THIS POWERFUL TOOL
Do you ever sit down and find that, whatever you do, you can’t get out of the way of your nasty inner critic, even after meditation? This check-list, available only as a bonus to Align Your Story, will give you some powerful tools to shift those voices.
AFFIRMING THE POWER OF YOUR VOICE: MEDITATION RECORDING FOR WOMEN TO COME INTO GREATER EASE AND POWER
This beautiful audio meditation and writing prompt is designed especially for women to empower you to access your inner feminine power and allow it to emerge.
SAVASANA FOR WRITERS: GUIDED MEDITATION RECORDING TO DO AFTER YOUR WRITING SESSION
This bonus recording is like a savasana for writers. Finish your writing session with a calming, integrating wind-down meditation. Integrate what you've written, be ready to put it down and go about your life, and come back to your work fresh the next writing session.
REVISION CHECKLIST : A PROVEN METHOD TO THE REVISION PROCESS
We’re more successful at asking the inner critic to get out of the way if we have a plan for what to do when she comes back during revision and editing time. This revision sheet will give you the tools you need to make sure you’re doing your most successful editing.
FINISH YOUR PIECE MANUAL: BRING YOUR PIECES TO THE FINISH LINE
This guide will give you the steps you need to put the finishing touches on your piece so that it shines and you can confidently finish what you're working on and move on to the next piece of writing or project!
PLUS: GET THIS EXTRA BONUS:
WRITE THROUGH THE HARD PARTS OF YOUR STORY (With More Ease!)
We all have difficult parts of our story. Align Your Story guides you to write through every area of your experiences, to transform them, and to tap into your creative imagination.
This bonus takes you even farther. It gives you the research and extra tools and resources to write through the difficult parts of your experiences so that you have more freedom. Even if you are writing fiction or creative nonfiction, this resource can help you get through blocks and come into greater ease as a writer (and person).
I offer ALIGN YOUR STORY only once a year;
once you enroll you get lifetime access.
THE 30-DAY “Align Your Story”
100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE
When you sign up you can feel fully confident that if you’re not happy with the course, I offer a full money back guarantee for 30 days after the course begins.
Here’s how it works:
When you sign up for a course like this, you’re making an investment in yourself. I’m here to support you. If you do the work for the first three modules of the course (and can show me that you’ve done some of the work) and if you aren’t satisfied for any reason, I’ll refund your money.
I don’t offer a money back guarantee if you sign up but don’t have time to do the course work. Once you enroll, you have lifetime access to the online material, so if you can’t start right away, you can come engage with the material and community later.
When you sign up you are making a commitment to yourself that you’ll invest at least some time and energy into your own life as a writer, and I want to help you make that commitment to yourself. Just try the material.
Frequently Asked Questions About Align Your Story
Do you have questions about Align Your Story?
I go over the most common questions below.
And if you have a question that went unanswered,
please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are some of the most common questions I hear:
There are great benefits to online writing classes that in-person classes can't offer.
In this online course, you get more teaching material than could be delivered in in-person classes. You get not only writing instruction, but also meditation and yoga instruction.
You can take your time with the course and keep the materials for life, going deeper and deeper into them with time.
You can go through the course at your own leisure and on your own time-table.
You get to focus on your own work and not spend lots of energy on other student's writing.
Students benefit from repeating the material in this course many times.
Like an in-person class, this online course also offers a community of supportive, dedicated writers—but you have ongoing, lifetime access to this online community of women writers around the world.
This course also offers direct access to Nadia in the Facebook group and live calls so that all your questions are answered.
While one of the benefits of a writing course can be the feedback from the teacher, that is only one benefit of a writing course–and sometimes that benefit has its shadow side.
In Align Your Story, students are often amazed at how much more free they feel in their writing. Even if they didn't feel "worried" about teacher feedback in the past, they realize that they've been accustomed to write for affirmation, for feedback, and judgment.
This class, instead, will encourage you to experiment and explore the limits of your writing, understanding, and voice. Students feel free to put things on the page they never would have written for a more traditional class.
And at the same time, they become better readers, editors and witnesses of their own writing. They learn to listen to themselves and give themselves feedback more fully.
The unique format of AYS, guides students to unlock their creativity and authenticity, connect mind, body and spirit, become better readers, editors, and writers. .
Students in AYS learn to become their own best and first witness. This is essential for our long term health as writers (and people). Even if we get feedback, we need to have the tools for how to receive feedback, what to take and what to let go of because in the end, we are always the best authority on our own work.
Writers have told me that they have grown in this course more than they have in complete MFA programs because of all the tools they are given and the ways in which the course invites them to trust their own voice, develop it authentically, and get the skills to be their own best reader.
If you want to take this course as a private writing retreat, that is one option, but if you want support, there is lots of community and support.
Students can also share their work in the supportive, active Facebook group, where I am also there reading and commenting. Students learn to ask for the kind of feedback they want--and to learn what they don't want. There is also time to share work in the breakout rooms on Zoom.
Students have often formed writers groups and lifelong writing friendships with other women in the community, so while this course does not offer traditional teacher feedback, you will feel held and supported by the community. And I'm there every step of the way to answer questions and guide you through the course and journey.
If you can make the live calls, that’s great. They will be offered at different times on different weeks to fit as many people’s schedule as possible. But if you can’t make the live sessions, don’t fret!
Everyone will get a recording of all the live sessions. You can email me your questions in advance and I’ll be sure to answer them in the session.
You will also have access to the (optional) private Facebook group, where you can also reach out for support.
No new material will be offered in the live sessions. All the material for the course is housed online where you have lifetime access!
Yes! If you want to deepen and align your writing practice, this class is for you.
I find that experienced writers are often the people who most need this class–we need to get out of our heads and reconnect and re-integrate our writing with our hearts, bodies, and souls. We need to reconnect with our authentic purpose as a writer–writing not just for others, but for ourselves.
Often the most experienced writers have forgotten that it’s okay to be vulnerable in their writing. But the vulnerability hasn’t gone away–this is a place to explore that vulnerability with grace, compassion, wisdom, and humor. And ultimately to allow that vulnerability to become your greatest strength.
Absolutely! This class is perfect for novice writers. It will give you a step-by-step guide to get started. You don't need to know what you want to write about. Just follow the prompts, and they will guide you on a journey of discovery through different topics and genres.
You never need to worry about being judged, and you have the support of a community and coaching calls if you have any questions.
While I want to support people of all genders and backgrounds, and in other places do, (my other classes are all for people of any gender identification) I created Align Your Story as a sacred place where women could come out of hiding and tell their full truth in a safe, supportive community.
For millennia, women's voices have not been given the support or encouragement they deserve. AYS is a place where women come into the spotlight.
I also created a class for women because for so many women, as we begin to listen more deeply to our bodies, we often encounter experiences of threat and abuse. To unearth these experiences in a women-only space often feels safer. I think of the space a bit like an all-women's locker room: it's easier to take off our clothes without looking over our shoulder.
Here's what some students have said about the space:
"There is magic, safety, and wisdom shared when it's just a circle of women"
"There is a level of freedom and vulnerability I was able to go to with an all women group that I was not able to get to in other classes"
"I was able to share things in this class that I've never shared before"
"I didn't realize how much being in a gender-mixed groups was holding me back until I entered this supportive, magical space with other women, and suddenly I felt a level of trust—of others and myself — I'd never before experienced in a writing class."
In this class, we study writing by both men and women; I want the history of literature and its full scope to be available to us as women writers. And we encourage and support one another to shine in our fullest light.
Although this course is not exclusively for people who identify as a woman, it is intended for people who face assumptions based on and cultural baggage related to having a woman's body. If you identify as nonbinary but feel that this group would be a good place for you, then it probably will be. You can also feel free to contact me.
If you don’t want to do the yoga or meditation, don’t do it. They are optional; it’s all optional.
But you might surprise yourself and try–and just see what happens….the yoga and meditation will deepen your writing practice, and your experience of yourself, your body, your mind and the world!
All yoga can be modified, and I offer a special chair yoga practice for those who can't do the more rigorous positions.
This course is about listening to yourself. You’re not being graded. You can do what you want to do and leave the rest. That said, I encourage you to at least try all the topics and see where they take you. This course has a step-by-step method to get you writing your best work.
If you are taking the course to help you with a pre-existing project that you are already working on that has nothing to do with childhood, following the course will still guide you to go deeper with any project.
For example, even when you are writing about a completely fictional bank robbery, some part of you is writing from your childhood self. Many of our best details come from being able to connect with our own childhood experiences, even if we then use them in different ways in our final drafts. So take the time to really dive in and explore writing from all the different modules. The course guides you through a process that will give you new levels of energy on and off the page.
If you come to the course with a project that you’re already working on, I have specific steps in the course to guide you to use the course for those purposes. (See more below)
My course is similar in some ways to Julia Cameron’s excellent Artist’s Way method and different in others. Much as I admire that groundbreaking book and method, my course offers much more than it, and truly integrates mind, body and spirit, going more deeply into each of these three areas. And my course unfolds in real time with a community of real people and a live teacher, me!
So that said, here are some of the ways our work is similar:
Like Cameron’s work, my course gives you tools and encouragement to tap into and stick with and value your creative self. Like Cameron’s work, my course helps you move through blocks, and like Cameron’s work, my course also has a spiritual dimension.
And here are some of the ways my course is different:
First of all my specific method and insights are different from Cameron’s.
Second, You get to have live check-ins with me and a community of supportive writers, with whom you can have a life-long connection.
Third, my course is released module by module, so that you can chart your own progress, and really develop a writing practice over time.
Fourth, while the Artists Way focuses mainly on writing exercises, my course also develops deep reading skills. I believe that good writing comes from good reading. And I also believe that good reading awakens and fuels our creative selves. Included with each module is suggested reading of great published texts and close readings of those texts, that help you understand both content and technique.
Fifth, my course also offers a true mind-body-spirit integration and includes yoga and meditation along with the writing exercises and close readings.
Yes! The course will lead you through a process and prompts so that you get comfortable with writing and create a body of work.
Yes! Most people who are working on a long project find this course very helpful. If you want detailed feedback on your project, this course is not for you. But if you want to deepen your relationship to your project, to come at it from some slightly new angles, to get through blocks and to invigorate your writing, then yes, this course is for you. You can work through these modules to fit specific writing projects that you are already working on. If you want some support doing that, feel free to reach out to me for some suggestions about how best to do that. Other students have taken this course as a way to get through a memoir-writing project or other book-length project and have had great success.
If you have no interest at all in writing, this course is probably not for you. But if your primary interests are yoga and meditation and you are curious about how to bring writing into those practices to support them and to deeper in your own personal growth, this course is for you! You don't need any writing experience, and the course is very flexible and guides you to develop your own personal interests and pursue your own growth.
I use the word story to point to any meaning-making system. Stories come in every form: in our bodies, in our emotions, in our dreams. They need not only be narrative. Any time we have an act of creative expression and meaning making, we’re tapping into some story. This course encourages you to go deeply into your art, to let go of a traditional path, and to open up to the creative process.
I am a serious student of Thich Nhat Hanh, who teaches breathing meditation and meditation in everything we do in our every day lives. I also have a lot of experience with Vipassana meditation and have sat 10 day silent retreats and I’m a certified kundalini yoga teacher. I bring all of these practices together and offer a variety of teachings in Align Your Story, pairing individual teachings with the focus of each lesson. For example, in our deep listening module, we practice attention to our breath. But in the module in which we are overcoming resistance, I lead students in an uplifting chanting meditation that helps break through old habit energy and blocks and quiets the mind in powerful ways.
I practice a mixture of hatha, vinyassa and Kundalini yogas personally and bring a mixture of these practices into the course. I focus on kundalini, especially for writing courses, because of Kundalini’s powerful ability to help us break through old energetic blocks and come into greater awareness of the movement and power of our own internal energy systems.
That’s a great question, and I have many people ask me that. Align Your Story is almost infinitely flexible. Even half an hour a week can help you start a writing practice and home meditation or yoga practice and get your creative juices flowing. What is great about the course is once you sign up, you have access to the material forever. So whether you want to take the course as an intensive retreat during a sabbatical or in retirement when you can devote several hours a day to the course, or whether you want to just dip your toes in, this class is for you! What is important is that you make this first commitment to yourself; the first step is always the hardest internal barrier to get over, but once you do, the course will give you support you need to keep going
No need to be on Facebook to participate in the course. All the material is housed on a website, and all the facebook conversations are completely optional. The course is very low tech. All you need is a basic computer to access the website–and much of the course material can be done off-screen! I want to create a rich experience that doesn’t depend on being on a screen for hours.
Taking the course as a self-guided retreat is a beautiful way to interact with the material. While the community of women in this course is a strong and vibrant one, the main focus of the course is listening to yourself, which you may feel you can do better on your own. Many students have chosen not to interact with the facebook group and the conference calls. Do what’s right for you. And if another year you want to interact with the course differently, you can do that, too.
COMMIT TO YOUR CREATIVITY AND ALIGNMENT TODAY
“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity… It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action….The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems”
— Audre Lorde
WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK?
Is there something in your own story that is holding you back? For the past 20 years, I’ve worked with both novice and professional writers who know they have something important within them to express but also sometimes find the writing process frustratingly difficult or not completely realized. Even if we're not primarily interested in writing, we might feel that there is some feel ready to shed an old protective layer and step more fully into ourselves and our story.
But we don't. Why? Often, we don’t allow ourselves to take ourselves seriously.
We think there is something wrong with us. We become slightly ashamed. We think writing must be easier for other people. Or we buy into the myth that writers and artists are supposed to struggle. We buy into the idea of the “war of art,” that creativity is a struggle, a battle. We think this is just how it is.
This is a problem for all writers, both novice and professional. But it’s especially a problem for women, who have been taught for years to contort our natural experience to fit into other people’s ideas of ourselves.
I get it. It’s not surprising that we have these antagonistic experiences with our creativity and our creative voice. After all, we’ve been taught to speak in other people’s voices. Whether it's the parent’s voice, the teacher’s, or the boss’s, usually there are external voices that have been internalized. Those voices might tell us that we’re not good enough. Or they might tell us that we’re “perfect.” But they don’t really see or hear us.
Many of us have rarely been really given the space and freedom and tools to explore the full range of our story and our own voice; to put our mind and bodies together and listen deeply; to make mistakes; to try new things; to play and discover; to get quiet; and also to lovingly push ourselves to expand beyond our comfort range. Often, the fancier our education is, the less of this space we’ve been given.
When we are given this space, we come to see that creativity does not need to be so difficult. And we come to know that the places of resistance, if we listen more closely, are really places of growth.
In fact, with the right tools, your creative process can become a source of great pleasure and exciting insights and you will have the tools you need to write the work you’ve been wanting to write. You’ll learn those tools in this writing workshop for women.
Align Your Story gives you a whole range of tools, from practical tools of craft to embodied practices and writing prompts to help you come to love your writing.
And you might come to find that you recognize yourself when Marianne Williamson says: “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
When you align your story, you can come to love your own unique woman’s story and to share your full story and creative voice with others. I can lead you through this process because I’ve also lived it myself. And I’ve helped thousands of women unlock their authentic voice.
Unlike so many online writing courses, the primary focus of Align Your Story is not on getting immediate critique and feedback from the teacher or peers, a practice which keeps people stuck in immediate judgment and criticism mode.
Instead, this class asks you to go deep inside and to learn to listen to yourself and to become your own best witness within a community of support.
Students in this class take risks, grow, explore, discover, go farther.
In Align Your Story, students develop their own inner-ear, their own ability to be with and edit their work, and their own unique voice in which they can have confidence. And they come back to the material again and again for different iterations. Again and again, students have told me that they've written some of their best work in this course.
It’s exciting to see the breakthroughs students have! I’d love to see you in the course.
Your story and your voice matter!
Align Your Story gives you the tools and support to unlock the full power of your creative vision.
MORE EXEPRIENCES INSIDE THE COURSE
See what students have said…
A video from Bettina Ricks about her experience in Align Your Story, how the course helped her come to more peace and ease with her own story and show up more fully for her physical wellbeing.
Align Your Story was the first online course I’ve ever taken, and I am so glad I took that leap. Nadia is an amazing facilitator – so warm, welcoming, and inquisitive. Her generous style lends itself well to learning and inner growth. I felt completely held by the group, even though I never met anyone in person! I am deeply grateful for having had this opportunity to combine my interests in writing, meditation, and yoga. I now have a new way to approach all three.
“I was in the final stages of putting together a manuscript when I first signed up for Align Your Story, so I wasn’t sure it was the best time to start the course. I was soon to discover, this course is so adaptable to any stage in which you find yourself that there is truly no wrong time to take it. Align Your Story meets you where you are.
The writing and revisions I’ve done since taking this course have seemed so much truer to my own voice, from which I had felt fairly removed for a while. Nadia’s teachings helped me find a renewed joy in writing. I feel overall freer, and my work is much more powerful as a result.”
Poet and Teacher author of Rough Knowledge Tallahassee, FL
“I have a couple of fused ligaments in my neck, so I am deathly afraid of chiropractors who want to twist my neck, which is always stuck , which gives pain to my shoulder. Several years ago I found a Chiropractor who practices a gentle form of alignment called Nuca, it is a way to align my way without pain or twist. What does this have to do with Align your story for Women ? Align your Story was the first course I did with Nadia. It is a remarkable journey into self through writing, yoga, meditation and community. I started to realize a life long ambition of being a writer, of learning good habits of becoming a writer. I learned to value my story, and share it with others. And I’m now finishing up the first draft of my memoir that I started as a result of Align Your Story. Nadia is an extraordinary guide for these troubled times, she is my guide for my creative soul. One of the perks of being in the class is it goes on forever, so if you sign up you might see me there, I hope so. “
At the time I registered for “Align Your Story” I was in my second year of retirement from corporate America and struggling to recover the creativity I’d had as a child. In particular, I was drawn to writing poetry and creative non-fiction, which I was doing in fits and starts with little to show for it. I questioned whether I even had anything of value to write about.
When I discovered Align Your Story it was an affirmation to myself that I deserved to take my interest in writing seriously, and I’m so glad I made that decision. “Align Your Story” immediately gave me the structure and support I needed to practice writing, including a weekly one-hour live conference call led by Nadia and the community of the facebook group. When I registered for the course, I was afraid that anything I wrote might be criticized and nit picked. My experience was just the opposite. Nadia was supportive and gentle with everyone, helping us see our strengths, providing feedback that further fanned our creative sparks. We followed her lead and treated each other’s efforts with the same respect. Align Your Story showed me I do have a story to tell. Thanks to Align Your Story and Nadia’s support, I continue to write, determined to own my power and let my voice be heard.
I went into Align Your Story unsure about doing another group focused class but the possibility of finding my way through some tough decisions about my writing life made the promise of a mindful experience with AYS and Nadia appealing.
I was unprepared for what happened during my first reading in the group. I felt this familiar welling up inside that I knew would lead to the one thing I tried to avoid at all cost – crying in front of others. I couldn’t get my words out because my voice was trembling so uncontrollably. I had a choice – quit and hide, as I normally would do or allow what was happening to happen. I chose to give my voice an opportunity for healing. The encouragement and level of acceptance I felt from Nadia and the group allowed me to move past the embarrassment and deal with this unresolved trauma around being seen and heard. My authentic voice had been buried under all of this fear and was ready to come alive and Align Your Story was an opportunity to come out of hiding. The course gifted me the opportunity to heal what was in the way of my own inner sense of knowing my own emotional voice.
Nadia and our group showed me the value of group support and how to follow what really needs my attention without needing to force a direction. The course taught me to mindfully step back and be still and just allow what needs to happen to happen, and this is a lesson I will forever cherish and take with me throughout my life. Nadia’s high level of emotional and spiritual maturity has prepared her to provide that light and supportive wisdom we most need to interrupt our fears of becoming.
I am truly grateful for Nadia and the AYS group!
I’ve now taken two courses with Nadia —the 31 Day Course and Align Your Story —and in both cases, the experience was transformative. I was going through a hard time personally, healing from illness, and was in the middle of a long-form writing project that I was struggling with when a dear friend introduced me to Nadia and her offerings. I knew writing would reconnect me to myself, but it certainly wasn’t happening on my own. Align Your Story provided the necessary accountability and helped me show up to my writing each day and got me through this difficult time in my life. The combination of meditation and writing was potent, and I continue the practices on my own and have now finished my book. I love that participants have lifelong access to the courses. I urge any writer who finds herself blocked to gift themselves this gift, right away–and then, once she’s experienced it, to gift it to another woman writer who finds herself stuck. Because we’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there again.”
Portia Durbin used Align Your Story to process a difficult time in her life, and through the course came to love her writing more and integrate it with her work as a visual artist.
Robin Clifford Wood joined Align Your Story soon after her first book came out for publication. She was thick in the weeds of publicity and author appearances and worried that she had lost the spark to her own creativity. In Align Your Story, she had a path back to her writing.
Why Does Align Your Story Matter?
At Align Your Story, we believe that our narratives shape our lives and our world and that we have the power to change our lives and to change the world through our stories.
For centuries, it was assumed only some people could tell their story and be heard.
We want to take back the power of story telling.
For centuries, it was was assumed only some people could be the storytellers and history makers.
We believe that creativity is an inherent human characteristic.
For centuries, it was believed that only some people were the truly "creative" ones--and most of the time, those people were, ironically, male and at the top of the artificial social pyramid.
We believe there is no contradiction between “good” art and health, between the study of craft and mindful attention.
For centuries, it was assumed that “good” writing came from the head alone, that people worked either on craft or on process.
We believe that the stories the world needs now are connected to our bodies and spirits and can lead towards personal and social wellbeing.
Take a Tour Inside the Course to See How It All Works
Learn more in the video below
The benefits of Write From Your Center can be more profound and long-lasting than a $60,000 MFA program
It’s hard to put a value on this course.
I’ve had students who have completed books with this practice after being stalled on their writing for years. I’ve had students use this practice to get through periods of illness and loss and thrive during the difficult process. I’ve had students tell me that they feel more connected with themselves as a result of this practice than they have in years and have seen more benefits from incorporating this practice in their life than they experienced in years of therapy.
When you take a new practice like this into your life, the rewards are long lasting and priceless.