How many times have you started teaching a yoga class only to realize you forgot to create a theme for the class?
Or in the middle of your class your mind goes blank for what pose is best after Pigeon pose?
Or you left the quote you were going to end your class with on a sticky note in your car?
Although these scenarios are extreme and managing them can become second nature as you progress through your teaching since you will be able to easily move from one pose to the next, whip up a theme on the fly, and have a few quotes handy in the back of your mind, this isn’t always the case.
What I’ve found helps me is journaling.
Just knowing I have a backup for these scenarios helps boost my confidence to manage anything that comes up.
Keeping a journal has many benefits for mental health, staying organized, and reducing stress.
Keeping a yoga journal helps in all of these ways by having a space to keep track of what worked and didn’t work in class, offering a well of inspiration to pull from, and having a reference point to go back to in the future.
For some, it is easy to start a yoga journal or many yoga journals, but if journaling isn’t your thing, here are a few tips that I hope will help.
Keeping a Yoga Journal to Benefit Your Teaching: What You Need to Know
Decide What You Want to Keep Track of
Do you want one journal or many? I personally have many.
I have individual journals for each yoga training I take so I can take notes during the training and leave space to add my thoughts and ideas for putting the teachings into practice.
I also have journals with only themes and quotes and journals with lesson plans.
One of my favorite uses of my journals is to keep track of the different lesson plans.
Once you start teaching multiple classes it can be easy to forget what you have taught in each class, especially if they are the same form of yoga and draw a lot of the same students.
So, it’s wonderful to be able to reference my journal to see what I taught on Tuesday, so I don’t repeat it on Thursday.
Also, it’s helpful to have a journal of themes and quotes for those times when you start to feel low in inspiration or the time to prepare for class.
By having a record of themes and quotes it’s just a matter of a few minutes to renew your inspiration.
Let Your Personality Shine
Get a journal that inspires you! Whether that is the outside design, inside organization of the journal, or both find what will inspire you to keep using it!
Once you have your journal, organize for your success!
When you take the time to organize your journal(s) in a manner that supports your needs, it is easier to want to use your journal.
You can organize with tabs, colored pencils and pens, sections…the options are unlimited!
Set The Mood
Find a space, day, and time to regularly add to your journal and keep the inspiration flowing. This can be in your cozy, creative spot at home or in your favorite coffee or tea house once a
week or daily, but the key is making sure it is as often as necessary to be fulfilling and not one more thing on your never ending to do list.
I’ve found a great way to use my journal is to take It with me. I always have one journal in my car and one in my yoga bag so that I always have it accessible for when inspiration hits.
So, once you get started, how do you stay motivated to continue journaling?
Well, that’s a personal preference to settle into. However, the following have been great sparks to keep my inspiration flowing when I’ve started to feel stuck, tired, or bored.
As Jenn Williamson states, “Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.”
Remember Your Intention
Remember what your reasons were for starting a yoga journal. Tune into the energy of those intentions and even your end goal if you set one.
A good way to do this when you feel the need to return to your intention is to set aside a few minutes to visualize reaching your end goal through your intentions.
As yoga teachers, we are fortunate to have a variety of these techniques at our disposal, so tap into what works best for you, breathe into that space, and allow the inspiration to flow freely.
Let Go of the Stress of Journaling
Sometimes having a journal can feel like one more item to maintain in your busy life. Keep it simple in order to avoid this feeling and stay motivated.
This can be done in a variety of ways. Let yourself write lists and stream of conscious entries that can be used at a later time to put together class themes and lesson plans.
Set a schedule that works for you but if you have a week that is busier than usual, don’t worry about adding to your journal on a daily or weekly basis.
Simply know that your journal is available for any moment.
By making your yoga journaling experience a personal, fulfilling, and beneficial part of your routine, you will start to see the positive results flow into your teaching.
Having a journal to refer to at any time will help reduce stress when preparing for classes, allowing yourself to have a backup for the forgetful moments that arise during class, and creating a vast library of inspiration to refer to.
To complete this journey, I’d like to offer one of my favorite quotes about keeping a journal -
“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” — Hal Elrod