Upon starting a committed practice (i.e. in my opinion to step on the mat and practice at least 4-5 times a week, and more if the schedule allows), I always felt something was missing – be it to remember quotes shared by yoga teachers in class, alignment tips or just thoughts and emotions that I want to jot down somewhere before I forget how that practice felt (because all classes, even if the sequence is the same, is still different.)
I bought a Leuchtturm small-sized dotted notebook from Kinokuniya in mid-October and decided to embark on a personal project – a yoga journal. Here’s a post dedicated to share on how it works for me and to enhance my practice.
What should I include in my yoga journal?
Past Class Schedule
This acts as both a record as well as a self-reminder. The numbers on the top row represents the date while the left column represents the months. I started recording since 10 Oct 2018 so it coincides with the number 10 on both the top row and left column.
I use acronyms to record the classes I attended.
A: Ashtanga, HH: Hot Hatha, HF: Hot Flow, VF: Vinyasa Flow, ANU: Anusara, YIN: Yin, YB: Yoga Basics, SC: Special Class
You don’t want to end up being too skewed towards attending only your favorite classes so this gives you a good gauge of what classes you’ve been attending.
Color codes are great when you want to find certain records easily. Here are some of my tricks:
Legend for Highlights
Blue: Special Classes
Pink: Yoga Journey with HOM
Purple: An inspiring or fruitful class/conversation
It took me a few months to realize something was off and this is probably the most important part of my yoga journal – Details of the Journey.
- Class(es) attended
- Details of the class (e.g. new poses, new breakthroughs, inspirational/meaningful quotes, emotions)
- Conversations with teachers/experienced practitioners to deep-dive into certain topics
- Calories burnt – might as well if you’re wearing tech on your wrist
Featuring my notes from a conversation with Andrea about my rounded back and how I have difficulties sitting up straight while keeping my legs forward. I might not the best artist around but doodling is a pretty efficient way to refer quickly to what words might not describe well.
As the saying goes, ‘Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.’
Yoga is more than just getting on the mat and doing some postures, hence the goals shouldn’t just be about achieving that perfect crow pose or headstand. Goals can be internal too.
For me, I categorize them by asana, experiences, habits and usage of props. Again, this is entirely personal, depending on what you’d like to gain out of your practice.
List of Books
I’m not a bookworm kinda person but the interest for yoga kickstarted my research for books to read. The first book I read regarding yoga is ‘How Yoga Works’ by Michael Roach and Christie McNally which provided a deeper understanding of Yoga and how it is more than just asana (postures.)
Moving on I started reading up on the crowd-favorite – Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar and the list goes on.
Titled ‘Reads’, I categorize my books to ensure that I’m exposed to a well-rounded set of knowledge. The list is still pretty clean, so if you’ve any great books to recommend, hit me up!
I spent my past times reading up on beautifully worded quotes, be it about love, passion, motivation, career… and of course, YOGA QUOTES. It might be a quote that I chanced upon in a book, on social media (Pinterest, Instagram), or from a class. It’s always therapeutic to glance through these pages of beauty and realizing how inspirational yoga can be, and how it can help us to tide through the bad times.
I’m an absolute Lululemon addict! Yes, a significant portion of my pay goes to my yoga wear in certain months. This is the most unnecessary page but I guess it’s good to keep tab and not to over-purchase. Buying 3 pairs of tights priced between $138-198 in a month isn’t that normal right?
Finally, just remember that this yoga journal belongs to you and only you. You’re not obliged to write based on others’ opinions or follow what others are doing. A yoga journal, in my humble opinion, is a retreat from the world and a commitment I set for myself – to make me feel good while ensuring discipline at my own pace and timing.