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Write it down

Journalling as a part of a yoga practice. By Paula Hines

Do you journal? It feels like, in recent years, journalling has gained a new popularity — though the practice of journalling isn’t really new at all. For me, it is something I have done in one form or another since childhood. What had started as “Dear Diary” style accounts of my days evolved into something far broader and (for me) deeper, though in those days I hadn’t heard of journalling as a concept.

So, long before I found yoga, writing was an integral part of my life and an important way of processing thoughts and feelings, learning and making sense of things. Now, I see journalling as very much a part of my yoga practice, particularly when it comes to Svadyaya – self-study (the fourth of the Niyamas).

Despite this being a part of my personal practice for some time, it’s only over the past few years that I have been incorporatin journalling into some of my workshops. There are a number of ways one might approach this. For instance, in a workshop setting, I’ve found that space at the end of the practice after coming out of savasana, when the mind is quieter, can provide the opportunity for potent self-reflection.

In those moments, it can be helpful to note down what comes to mind. For this reason, I included questions for self-reflection at the end of each restorative yoga practice in my book, Rest + Calm.

For more tips on how to get started in journalling visit our other article this month, The Art of Journalling, on page 88

For some of us, having a prompt or particular question to consider can be helpful. Sometimes, free-writing – allowing yourself to write, uncensored, unfiltered for an allotted time or space on the page – is what feels right. Another option may be to doodle or draw.

Whatever form journalling takes, I’ve found that it can provide surprising insights, realisations, clarity and awareness. I think it’s a beautiful example of how the answers we are seeking (which bring us closer to our true nature) can often be found within when we allow ourselves the space to pause and listen.

If journalling happens to be new to you, or it is something you have been interested in trying but not known where to start, give some of the tips above a go. As you put pen to paper and release any ideas of perfection, you never know what might be revealed to you. As Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra says: “Study thy self, discover the divine.”

The new book by Paula Hines, ‘Rest + Calm: Gentle Yoga and Mindful Practices to Nurture and Restore Yourself’ is out now. Find her on Instagram @ucanyoga1

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