You love yoga, know that you are growing in your yoga journey, and you want to grow more. A yoga journal can be wonderful tool to document your development, help you get more out of your practice, and help you flourish in life too.
During teacher training, we were asked to keep a journal and it proved invaluable in recording and reflecting on what was a transformative period in my life. As someone who loves to write, I just let the words flow, vinyasa-style, and nine months later, I can see how much I’ve learned and changed.
Not everyone loves to write, but it is worth investing even just a few minutes after a class or regular yoga or meditation practice, and a little longer after a workshop or retreat, to jot down feelings and observations - taking stock of where you are at on your journey – no judgment, of course.
How to Get Started
1. Class intention or Sankalpa (affirmation resolution) – record it and reflect on whether the class helped you achieve that intention (whether it be balance, focus, peace, deeper breathing or whatever).
2. Mental awareness – what thoughts were going through your mind? How did you arrive into the practice? Did you dump your day down on the mat? Did you have any recurring thoughts of worry or distraction, or where you able to calm your mind and create positive thoughts? Just notice, don’t judge.
3. Emotional awareness – how did you feel walking into the class, during the class, and afterwards? Yoga doesn’t always make us feel better immediately and we need to value the opportunity it gives us to express emotions through our bodies...even if it doesn’t feel good at the time.
Just try to record how you feel with emotional distance, like a scientist. Of course if you feel like crying into your journal that’s ok too.
4. Alignment awareness – did any alignment cues ‘speak to you’? Did you gain any subtle insights that allowed you to go deeper into an asana (grounding the outside edge of a foot, dropping the pelvis down for example).
5. Muscular skeletal awareness – did you notice a stronger (or weaker) standing leg in balance postures, or perhaps you felt your core really switching on in plank or a subtle opening through your left hip in half pigeon?
6. Breath awareness – was your breathing deep or shallow? Did you accentuate the inhale or exhale, was it even, did you notice moments when breath helped you through movement or calmed agitation?
7. Energy awareness – how were your energy levels and what was the energy of the room in a group practice? Did you notice an energetic shift from standing to floor practice?
Did the energy feel more yin or yang or a balance of both? Did you notice yin or yang energy within different asana – were you pushing or surrendering?
8. Chakra/meridian line awareness - did you notice activation of any of the main chakras? Did you feel your heart or throat opening, for example?
Did you feel any subtle flow of energy along the nadis or meridian lines (for example, the heart-lung lines in Triangle posture or the flow of prana or chi up your spine through compression of the kidneys/adrenals).
9. Challenging asanas – did you find certain poses challenging? Perhaps you have a particular posture that always presents a challenge and you can reflect on subtle changes – remember no judgement.
10. Breakthroughs (however small) – did something just click—whether it be the right combination of breath with movement in a certain asana, a firm locking of a standing leg to help balance, or a greater sense of stillness in Savasana. It’s ok to celebrate these little insights.
The power of journaling is that it both helps you go deeper into your practice as you go along, and allows you to reflect more fully with the passage of time on how far you’ve come in yoga and life.
Through journaling you can bring a depth of awareness that will enrich your yoga experience and enhance every aspect of your life. Happy journaling!