The biggest challenge is my yoga practice is being confronted with myself. My thoughts, my insecurities, my ego. There is no escaping and what I learned about myself wasn't always positive or good. Writing a journal helps me pay attention to my way of thinking. I started a few years ago when I received some homework after a coachings session.
How it all started
A few years ago I received some homework after an intensive coaching session. Part of that homework was to keep a journal. Fortunately, I came across a great book, The Artist’s way by Julia Cameron, which was a blessing because I had no idea how to start. This book helped me to start and I haven’t stopped since. Writing in my journal has become a daily habit. In this blog I would like to share some tips based on my personal experience. This might help you to get started.
Writing without stopping
This is the most important tip I want to share with you. I learned this from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. Writing without stopping. As soon as your pen touches the paper, keep on writing without thinking about what you are going to write. Write your thoughts down, no filter. Even if doing that means that you have to write: “I don’t know what to write, I still don’t etc.” It will help you get in to a flow.
You may start writing a to-do list for today, or something that happened yesterday, how you reacted to something someone said, and so on. It’s all good. “No filter” means you don’t judge and select what you write down, you just write it down, no screening or censoring. Some days you will come into a flow where you just keep on writing and other days it won’t come. That’s fine. You can also ask questions and you might write down the answers a few minutes later, ask all you want.
Quality versus quantity
It does not have to be good. Better yet, it can be really, really bad. It’s not about the result. Let that go. The only person who will ever read this is you and only you. Nobody else is allowed to read your journal, not even your partner. This is extremely important to allow yourself to write without filtering first. Trust your friends and family that they will not read it. This is for you only. Discuss it with your partner, family or roommates and trust them to respect your privacy.
A journal is not a logbook
It’s nice to write about events, but that’s not what makes it interesting to read later on. In between the lines you read your own mind-set at that moment in time, how you felt, your thoughts. However, writing about events can help you to get started and get in the flow. So go ahead, write about your experiences, how you experienced it, what you felt, what you missed, what you are proud of, grateful for or worried about. If you read this later, you will relive to those feelings. So don’t think you must write down everything you did, just write whatever comes up.
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ― Brené Brown, The gifts of imperfection.
That mind-set is very interesting. You will get to know yourself. Are you aware of what you are writing? If you truly follow the first tip (writing without stopping and no filter) you might actually see your own thought patterns on paper. Your thoughts have great impact on your life, however we are not always aware of our thoughts. If you don’t know what you are thinking, then how are you going to change it? Maybe you will come to realize that you are writing a lot about negative things. What can you learn from that?
Are you writing about the yoga class you didn’t go to instead of the class you did take? (Obviously, a personal example ;-)). Are you expressing a lot of worries? Where are they coming from and what can you do about it? Are you expressing gratitude or maybe regrets? Maybe some aspects are missing in your journal. Did you hide some issues because you can’t face them at the moment? There are endless examples and they are different for everybody, you get my point. Get to know YOU. No filter.
What I would like to say is, write in your journal daily. I say almost daily on purpose, because it shouldn’t become an obligation for you. Something you must do everyday. You write because you want to, not because you have to. Make it into a habit.
I write almost daily, sometimes I skip a day, or a week or even three weeks and sometimes I write twice a day. And enjoy it. I love going to a nice café and sit there with a cappuccino and write in my journal, I love the liveliness around me. I always carry my journal with me, in case I have an extra 20 minutes somewhere. If you prefer, you can create you own personal space at home where you like to sit quietly with your cup of tea. Do it whichever way you prefer and make it enjoyable for yourself!
Don’t read it just yet!
Not until later (months, years) it becomes interesting to read back. Also because you don’t want to judge your writing on its quality, that’s not important. I sometimes grab an old journal and randomly open it. I read a page and that’s it. I have never read a lot more than that. What I notice, though, when I read is how much I have changed in the meantime. You notice this in the way you write and the mind-set at that time. To witness your personal growth is great!
Start right away. If you have always wanted to start a journal, but for some reason never did, then start now. Directly after reading this blog. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Start now.
Finally, and this may come as no surprise, NO FILTER!
Have fun writing!
Enjoy your YogaHabits© today!
Beril her first yoga class allowed her to experience her body in a different way than ever before. She did not know exactly what it was, but it was the start of her yoga practice. Meanwhile, her yoga practice has a consistent place in the life of Beril since 2009. After a few yoga teacher trainings and teachinng yoga, Beril nowadays especially helps people with awareness with regard to finances. Because also with regard to finances is mindfulness something that could help you a lot.
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