Do you Journal?

Yoga Journal (c) 2013 Fredonia NY
Yoga Journal
(c) 2013 Fredonia NY

I have kept many journals over the years and I have found that there are at least two reasons for keeping a dedicated yoga-meditation practice journal.

Yoga journaling can be an important aid to your practice for two reasons. The first is that the act of remembering what and how you practiced  provides a running diary of asana in your life. As time passes, this record can become a tool for motivation, celebration, and insight.

A page from carolyn's  Yoga Journal (c) 2013 barefoot photos
A page from carolyn’s Yoga Journal
(c) 2013 barefoot photos

The second way that journaling assists your yoga practice is that as you reflect back on what you have done, how you felt, what changed or remained the same, the practice deepens. Yoga, at its heart is about  self-reflection and self-growth/ self-awareness.

When recording a yoga session, I include the poses I did as well as my thoughts and insights, what came easily, what my breath was like. See the photo of a random page from my little green book.

Your journal can become a great tool for a personal journey in SATYA, or the development of truthfulness in your life. Try to look at your practice dispassionately, using Witness Consciousness.

A very specific way to keep a mindfulness journal is to record your insights immediately after a practice session, whenever you can. Keep a pen and notebook handy, at the ready, so that it’s easy to remember to write for a few minutes after you have practiced. Dedicate the notebook to this effort.

When recording meditation sessions, include what specific practice you were engaged in. Walking? Sitting? Or did you practice Deep Relaxation? What was your posture?

For any session, it’s helpful to record what challenges were faced, how the poses worked together, and the cumulative effect of regularly practicing. Include a general description of your emotional and physical states at the beginning and ending of the practice.

There are many ways to keep a journal. Consider all of them a part of your mindfulness training. You can ask yourself questions and then free write responses. When you free write, resist the urge to edit yourself so that the unconscious thoughts can freely arise. The pen is not to leave the paper. Just keep the writing flow going, even if what you are writing is gibberish. In the midst of the junk, insights often appear unexpectedly. You may be surprised at what appears on the page!

Another is to record observations using the Witness Consciousness. and then reflect back upon what you’ve written.

You can try different methods on different days as the spirit prompts.

Many students like to draw in their journals and attach photographs.  There is no set length or format. If you can only pen a couple of lines, that’s AOK. Sometimes, however, you may feel an inclination to delve deeper as you reflect on your state. Go for it! It’s your record, so personalize it and make it work for you. Marble composition books work great for journals. They are cheap, and easily available. If you work with me through Yoga Coaching, I’ll ask you to send each week’s journal to me in an email.

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2 Responses

  1. Priscilla Bernatz

    I like writing in my yoga journal. I keep a special journal upstairs right next to my yoga mat, but I need to be honest and say I am not consistent about writing every day.

    Although not journaling, writing out my intentions and sealing them up for a year is another way for me to become mindful of my feelings. I have done this activity for a couple of years now. I give my sealed envelop to Carolyn. She keeps it for me and at the beginning of the new year she gives it back. I enjoy reading what I wrote and thinking about whether or not I followed through with my intentions. I find if I take the time to write down my intentions I actually think about them over the year. On January 19, 2013 I wrote the following 1) Practice listening to my inner voice. 2) If something is bothering me fix it, DO NOT let it fester. 3) Be present to the moment. 4) No drama. 5) Try to see things from another point of view.

    Nothing earth shattering, just some thoughts to improve my well-being. It’s fun. Give it a try. It’s only March.

  2. Perce, Thanks for sharing your very wise intentions. They are inspiring.

    Let’s see if we can get some momentum on/out of our intentions this year. How? By reminding ourselves before we get out of bed each day, and as often as we think of them during the day. All intention work should be focused and soft. No getting down on ourselves because we thought we had fallen short!! These are PRACTICES, and as such should be practiced with JOY.

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