Is it important to keep a yoga journal? Have you ever heard of keeping one? I myself did not even connect the two until I had been practicing yoga for at least 5 years. When I started yoga in 2004 I had no idea what a 'practice journal' was. I was loving the benefits that I was receiving in the physical aspects of my body. Slowly my reasons for practicing yoga started to expand and evolve. I started to see the benefits as more than just a rockin' yoga bod. I felt more at peace with myself, I had more energy. I started to think in terms of "Wow, I would love to bring all of this to others."
So what did I do? I started the 200hr teacher training program. While going through the program, my instructors challenged us all to start and keep a yoga journal. I could see how it could improve my life, and yet it felt out of reach somehow. It was one of the hardest things for me to do. I would stare at a blank page and wonder what to write about. My entries would be a list of the poses that I had done with no other comment.
When I asked what we should write, I was met with encouragement to just write whatever I felt like writing. I smiled at this well meant advice, but I was still left feeling a little lost. I felt that there was a certain way to keep a practice journal, and if I could just find someone willing to lay it all out, step by step, I would be able to start this wonderful journal that would uplift my life!
I think I was looking for an easy fix, or some mold to fit myself in. I am a little embarrassed to admit it! Then a little over a year ago I came across a great book by Bruce Black called Writing Yoga. As I started to read the book I realized that there was not some cookie cutter way to have a yoga journal. I could write about anything and everything. The purpose of yoga was to incorporate it into all aspects of life. So, wouldn't it follow that I could write about all aspects of my life?
This revelation as I like to call it, came at an important time in my life. Soon after I had started a yoga journal two of my grandparents had passed away. Then a few weeks after that my Mother was diagnosed with first Alzheimer's and then re-diagnosed with a form of Parkinson's disease. This was a hard and trying time in my life.
Even though I was met with these emotional challenges, I used my practice journal as a way to fully express what I was feeling without a filter. I didn't have to worry about what I was saying, how someone else might view my feelings. They were mine and only I was going to be able to see them. I can't tell you how freeing that was for me!
A much loved yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar, states; "The practitioner of yoga is always trying to be in the present, which is where reality is, and so perfect present awareness in a given situation is his goal."
I needed to see and understand what I was REALLY feeling right NOW, before I could ever hope to accept what was going on and come to a new understanding, if one was needed.
Personally, I think that a yoga journal will deepen your yoga practice on and off the mat. If you're interested in starting a journal today, check out out Bruce Black's Writing Yoga Blog and Facebook page.
What do you think? Do you already keep a journal?