Have you been looking for a way to enhance your yoga practice? Keeping a yoga journal can improve your focus, celebrate your successes, and create strategies to overcome your challenges. These tips will help you start your journal, whether you're attending your first class or have been practicing yoga for years.
Choose the Right Journaling Method for You
Do you picture a thick, leather-bound book when you hear the word "journal"? Luckily, you don't have to buy an expensive journal if you want to record your thoughts and feelings. In fact, you can just as easily write a few lines about your daily session in an old notebook or on your laptop. Choosing a method that makes journaling easy is the key consideration when you select a method.
Set Aside Time for Journaling
Whether you journal immediately after class or prefer to write about your thoughts and experiences at the end of the day, it's important to make a journaling schedule. If you allot yourself 10 minutes to write in your journal after dinner or first thing in the morning, you'll be less likely to forget about your journal.
Staring at a blank page can be a little daunting, whether you're writing a report at work or an entry in your yoga journal. Often, getting started is the hardest part of writing. Don't worry about spelling errors or composing complete sentences when you write. Since no one else will read what you write, every sentence doesn't have to be perfect.
Think About What You Want to Include in Your Journal
Yoga journals are extremely personal. Your friend's journal may look nothing like yours, and that's perfectly fine. Your journal might include thoughts about:
- Your Emotions. What did you feel before, during, and after your class or home yoga session? Were you stressed or preoccupied when you arrived? Did you feel calmer afterward? Did you experience any "aha" moments as you moved from pose to pose, whether those moments of clarity were about perfecting an asana or solving a difficult problem at work?
- Your Body. What sensations did you feel in your joints and muscles as you performed each pose? Were your muscles loose or stiff as you moved from pose to pose? Did you notice that it was easier or harder than usual to perform certain poses? Did you finally master a challenging asana?
- Your Day. What kind of day did you have before you walked through the doors of the yoga studio or unrolled your mat at home? Stress and problems in your personal and work lives can affect your yoga performance, but you may not realize these factors are an issue unless you write about them in your journal every day.
- Your Breathing. How hard was it to practice yogic breathing during your yoga session? Did the breathing make it easier to perform complicated poses or clear your mind?
- The Future. What do you want to work on in future classes or home practice? Could your instructor help you improve a particular pose?
- The Little Details. What time did you begin your yoga session and how long did it last? Was the room too hot, too cold, or just right? Reviewing these details can help you identify issues that may affect your yoga abilities. For example, you might discover a definite link between muscle stiffness and a cold room, or notice that you experienced less stress on the days when you devoted a full hour to yoga instead of 15 minutes.
Writing in a yoga journal may not seem like a life-changing practice, but might be surprised at the way it helps you improve your yoga abilities and process your emotions. If you've been thinking about attending yoga classes for the first time or perfecting your movements in an advanced class, give us a call. We offer a range of classes for all skill levels.
Yoga International: 5 Journaling Tips for Yogis
Yoga Basics: How to Start a Yoga Journal, 5/3/16
Forbes: Five Reasons to Keep a Journal in 2018, 12/29/17