Yoga has many functions. For many of us, it is a staple part of our weekly routine, allowing us to move our bodies in ways that our desk jobs restrict us from doing. For some of us, it is a distant land, never explored or delved into consistently. However, if we look back to the origins of yoga, we find that the series of practices were designed to help achieve a form of enlightenment, using the physical body to do so. Similarly, if we look at the recent popularisation of journaling to help better our mental health, we can see similar beliefs embedded in the pair. This post will encourage you to use the duo to your advantage and develop healthy ways to further enrich both your mind and body.
Before jumping straight into the ways we can do this, it is crucial to lay out what we mean by journaling and the benefits of both yoga and journaling on the mental and physical.
In its simplest terms, journaling is reflecting through writing down your thoughts and feelings. Yoga is an ancient form of practice that aims to connect the body and the mind through a series of breathing practices, stretching and movement.
Both can uplift your mood.
Consistent practice of yoga and journaling can allow both your body and mind to destress, which can lead to more positive moods as well as an ability to regulate potentially harmful habits.
Both strengthen your self-awareness.
Yoga can allow you to have a deeper understanding of your body and the internal feelings that surround this. In addition, journaling can help identify patterns and behaviours that you exhibit.
Both boost your immune system.
When stretching and moving around, it can allow for lymph drainage (which can help fight infections). Similarly, in journaling, studies suggest that it can help strengthen the immune system through managing stress.
Both encourage prioritising self-care
The two practices allow you to spend time with yourself and genuinely appreciate the time spent on this.
Using them in conjunction can be extremely helpful to get the most out of the pair.
Here are some ways to do so:
Journaling before a yoga session
- Journaling before a session can allow you to fully understand how you are feeling that day. It can help bring awareness to any positive or negative emotions you have encountered and allow for your yoga practice to be more focused on taking care of those needs.
- This may be beneficial for those who find comfort with physically writing their thoughts and processing them physically through yoga.
- As a tip, try to allocate 10-15 minutes before a session and write, write, write. For those who are not a fan of writing, verbally using the Voice Memo app is an excellent alternative to let it all out.
Journaling after a yoga session
- Similarly, journaling after a session can help identify what brought peace to you during a session and what did not. This can help you develop an understanding of how yoga can truly bring you to a balanced place.
- This can be helpful for some if you find you are more introspective after a yoga session than before.
Using your journal as a guide
- If you regularly journal, using your journal as a guide for the type of yoga practice you would like to indulge in can be helpful too.
- For example, if you have noticed feelings of exhaustion in your journal, having a focus on self-care in your routine may be beneficial.
- A handy trick is to write in bold the most potent emotion you feel that day, so you can notice trends in your week when you are looking back.
Don’t be afraid to use prompts.
- Everyone experiences some level of writer’s block or just mental block. It can be super frustrating when you have put your mind to working on yourself, but your brain is at a standstill.
- One way to combat this is using prompts that can help warm up your mind.
- Some prompts are:
- How do I want future me to feel after this session? Why?
- Name some moments of your day that went well. Why did they meet your expectations?
- Name some moments of your day that you were disappointed in. Why were you unhappy?
- Which yoga move made you feel best? Are you able to pinpoint a reason why?
- Is there anything that could be done to make your yoga experience more fulfilling?
Use journaling as a reminder to trust yourself.
- At the end of the day, journaling and yoga should enhance your own self-awareness and faith in yourself.
- Allow yourself to tap into your intuition by using journaling and yoga as a tool to understand more about the unique ways you move in this world.
We live in a world that is incredibly fast paced. Each of us has to deal with multiple responsibilities, and with the advent of social media, it can be highly overwhelming to simply check our phones, let alone step outside. For many, mental and physical health is becoming a more prominent aspect of our lives as we grapple with the constraints of the modern world. Through using yoga and journaling, I hope that you are able to combat these factors and achieve an inner balance that is healing and restorative. If you need somewhere to help start your journey, check out Myga’s yoga collection, it has everything for all skill levels.
Nelle Osei is a lifestyle blogger currently working on mindfulness, university life, and travel content. Her newfound love of self-care has prompted her to go on a deep dive on all things yoga and now spends her free time attempting to try out all the different styles of yoga.