in depth


Seeking Serenity

Journaling for Mindfulness

When I first started practicing yoga, I had to learn how to set a strong foundation in each pose, otherwise I’d flail and flounder, tipping one way, then another, unable to stay in the pose (even when seated) for very long. Once I was able to set a strong foundation, I found I could reach higher, bend deeper, sit longer and open my heart wider.

What does it mean to set a strong foundation? It’s a reminder to prepare mindfully for your practice. A tool for setting your foundation in yoga (and life) is to use a journal to cultivate this mindfulness. Writing lets you see the pose in your mind’s eye, revealing what you need to know to reach your full potential. With the help of a journal, each pose becomes a doorway into your innermost self and brings to light any fears, doubts, and inhibitions about moving through that doorway.

Use a journal as part of your yoga practice to help you discover a deeper awareness of how to find balance mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are some questions you might like to journal about as you bring your writing to the mat:

Am I too rigid in a pose, too impatient in a relationship?
Am I taking my work and my life too seriously?
How can I live each day to its fullest?

Try this fun journal practice (write on each topic for 5 minutes):

Stand in Mountain Pose and notice where you place your hands, shoulders, hips, feet. What happens if you shift your weight, move your knee, or turn your head? How does your foundation change? What do you need to do to create a strong foundation?

Consider a relationship in your life, or a situation at work or a hobby. Notice your foundation or lack of foundation. Where is there passion? What is out of balance? How can you set a strong foundation so that your relationships, your hobby and your work feels more stable, more secure?

These are the kinds of questions that your journal (and your poses) can help you answer so that you feel securely rooted on your mat and in your life.

Bruce Black
Writer, Editor, Teacher, Yogi
Writing Yoga with Bruce Black
Author, Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal (Rodmell Press)

Recommended: Bringing Yoga to Life - The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living by Donna Farhi


Anonymous commented on 12-Jun-2012 03:53 PM5 out of 5 stars

It makes me wish to start a journal.

Anonymous commented on 16-Jun-2012 04:26 PM5 out of 5 stars

As a yoga teacher writing a yoga journal helps me and my students to stay longer in mindfulness and to be conscious of our progress.

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