Weight loss journals are a proven way to drop pounds, but do yoga journals improve your practice?
Author Bruce Black was first encouraged to keep a yoga journal in 2007, by an instructor whose class he had recently started attending. Up to that point in his life, he had kept journals on and off, not very religiously, and not with any type of theme or regularity. Soon, however, he was writing daily in that notebook -- not only about poses he'd tried during class, but also about how yoga was affecting his everyday life and his relationship with himself and others. [Source: Black]
Black's journaling led to a class, co-taught with his instructor, on how to keep a yoga journal. It also led to a blog and a 2011 book, Writing Yoga, in which Black advises readers how to start their own yoga journals. "The journal and the mat are places where I can think through problems that I'm facing without judging myself and without feeling pressure to solve the problems," writes Black in Writing Yoga. Oftentimes, in the process of simply writing and reviewing, he says, "I'll see something that I hadn't noticed before, the hint of a path, the suggestion of an answer." [Source: Black]
While journaling is not a typical part of every yoga class, many instructors think it's a good idea to keep a written record of your thoughts and emotions surrounding your practice. The mind-body connection in yoga is strong, and journaling may help you tap into those nagging thoughts that disturb your practice "It's not something I'd do after every pose, necessarily, because you don't want to disrupt the flow," says Sophie Herbert, a Brooklyn-based yoga instructor. "But if you can do it after class, or at the end of the day, in a way where you can connect the class with how you processed the rest of your day, I think it can be very powerful."
Annelise Hagan, a yoga instructor in New York City, says that blogging can also be a modern-day form of yoga journaling. "More and more people are writing about their experiences online, and finding a whole community of other yogis to share with, and I think it's a really great way to learn and grow as a student," she adds.
Choosing your medium -- whether it's a notebook or a computer -- and your subject material is a matter of personal preference. If you need some help getting started, though, we've got some advice for you.