When you discover a love for yoga, you may find that you want to keep developing and improving your practice. Learning more poses, breathing effectively, and achieving a meditative state are all satisfying, but they might not give you the sense of mindfulness that you are looking for.
One great way to seek this out is to start writing a yoga journal. Your teacher may keep one himself/herself as it is a practice often used during yoga teacher training. Even if no one around you is recording his/her experience, you may find it life-changing and transformative.
How should you approach this?
There are several ways that you could start a yoga journal. If you are a lover of writing and it comes naturally to you, you may simply allow the words to flow onto the page after your yoga practice. Record any thoughts or feelings that come up and then reflect on them. It may be that you already keep a daily journal but have not thought to include your yogic practices in your writing. In this case, you will be able to add your thoughts about yoga to the flow of your day in whatever way seems most natural.
If you like things to be a little more organized or are not a natural writer, you can create more structure. Start by writing before your practice. Record your intention for the class and how you are feeling both mentally and physically. When the class is over, return to your journal and reflect on whether your intention was met. Consider how you are feeling now and whether this has changed because of your class. You could also record details such as your alignment during the class, your awareness of your breath and energy, and any changes you felt within your chakras. Finally, record any poses that you found particularly challenging and any breakthroughs that took place on the mat, even if they were something small.
How can the journal improve your yoga practice?
Over time, you may become aware that the poses that you used to find difficult have become your favorite poses, or that you have reached a state of enlightenment in your meditations. You can also actively look back at your journal to see the changes that have occurred. You may not be aware of how far you have come until you start to actively question it.
However, the things that have not changed are just as important as the changes. If there is a particular pose that is always on the challenging list, consider how this is affecting your practice. Do you love to try it each time and push yourself, or is it becoming disheartening to write it down every day? If it is the former, you could continue as you are or seek help from a teacher to really conquer the pose. If it is the latter, however, you may want to avoid the pose for a little while and tackle other challenges.