Friday, October 07, 2011

The Yoga Journal

Originally uploaded by jjpacres
No, no, we are not talking about the awesome magazine Yoga Journal in this post. We are talking about Your Yoga Journal, the one that you keep (or maybe would like to keep) that is all about your daily practice. Now I will be the first to admit it, that way you will not feel bad when you have to admit it to yourself, I am terrible at keeping a journal. Sometimes I do it and I keep it going for a week or so, then I do not do it for a month. And when I do keep a yoga journal I often do not put as insightful things as you will sometimes find here on my blog. Here is a general example of what I keep in my practice journal…

“Today during my home practice I did 8 Sun Salutations Series C then moved on into balance poses that were giving me trouble and tried to achieve Crow again. I was unsuccessful today in my Crow but I completed an awesome Wheel.”

Boring, right? Not to mention not all that useful for improving my yoga. So I started a Google search about what I could do to spice up my yoga journal (besides creating a fiction about my practice). I wanted my journal to be much more then just a list of facts about what I did during my practice. I read awhile back Bruce Black’s “Writing Yoga” and at the time I did not get much out of it and sort of ignored some of the advice he had given in his book. I did not want my yoga journal turning into a diary. I really want it to be all about yoga, my improvements in asanas and my mental and emotional changes as a result. It was not until I decided to do the Yoga Teacher Training Program in September 2011 that I decided to give the journal another go. I have started off pretty much the same way as my old journal… boring, boring, boring.

Last week I took a trip back to my old friend Google to see what others are saying about their yoga journals. As always my Google search was successful in returning something that actually gave me a great direction to go with my yoga journal. I found a “lens” on Squidoo called “How to Keep a Yoga Journal.” It is short and straight to the point. It had a few great tips for how to make your yoga journal more meaningful and a useful tool for the future. Tips like… “Aside from the generic points, write down more specific details about each major notes. These should include mental preparation prior to starting, breathing exercises, other essential points that will enhance your session, among other things that you find is useful to enhance your practice.” This is something that I not only DO NOT often write about it is also something I really do not take the time to think about. I can honestly say that I do not take the time after a practice to ponder why I decided to breathe deeply and start chanting to myself, “You can do this. You have done this,” before challenging poses such as Crane or Headstand. Now that I have it in my mind though it is all I can think about when I sit down with my journal after my practice.

So with the help of a little more research and another reading of “Writing Yoga” I have a renewed interest in my yoga journal. In order to make my journal more meaningful and a useful tool for the future I have set aside a block of time after every practice that I can write and think undisturbed. Since I just started this process I have nothing yet insightful to share (old habits are hard to break) but just like my asanas my yoga journaling will improve with lots and lots of practice.


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