A Yoga Conversation About Keeping A Practice Journal (Part 3) with Lynn Burgess, owner and director of Yoga From the Heart in Sarasota, FL, and Bruce Black, author of Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal (Rodmell Press)
Bruce: I’m wondering if keeping a practice journal changes the way you look at the world after you step off your mat?
Lynn: Yes, in a magical way. My perception of the world softens as a result of keeping a journal. After stepping off my mat, I feel myself open up toward a particular situation, or I am able to move through a fear easier. Journaling helps transform my view of the world into a more beautiful and joyful experience.
Bruce: Isn’t it fascinating how exploring our yoga practice in our journals can influence the way we experience the world? Softening is the perfect way to describe it. For me it also involves a process of unfolding. Keeping a journal helps me become more aware of the process of life unfolding, of the moments passing, of my place in the transitory nature of life’s mystery. Both writing and yoga help connect me to this mystery more completely.
Lynn: I agree. The beauty of journaling and yoga is that they are endless processes of discovery and surprise. The more I travel into the inner processes of the body and mind, the more I realize I don’t know. Maybe keeping a journal and practicing yoga help us seek mystery, evoke mystery, and plant a garden where mysteries can bloom.
Bruce: Do you ever journal about the poses and their physical architecture—the process and challenges of constructing a pose, for example? And do you find keeping a journal helpful in exploring the internal challenges a pose might present, as well? Perhaps you can give some examples?
Lynn: I journal about poses all the time! I am fascinated by the physical architecture of the poses and curious about the internal landscape of my mind as I practice. These days my practice and journaling are focused on finding more ease in my body and on creating physical and mental space. I’m curious about how I can focus on just feeling the beautiful movement and rhythm that’s available within and outside of the boundaries of my mind and body.
The other day I was playing with Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana). I wanted to find my ease, to become quiet, like a half moon in the night sky. Physically, I focused on aligning myself on the skeleton of my bottom leg so that very little muscular work was required. For a second I felt as if I was floating in the pose! The rest of the day had that same quality to it. I was able to glide through my to-do list, soar through making dinner, and sink into a deep sleep that evening.
Bruce: What a beautiful and poetic image! I love the way playing with your pose enabled you to find the same quality of playfulness and ease in your life. That’s the kind of discovery that I hope to make in my journal (and on my mat), and it’s a rare gift to experience such a discovery in life. When it occurs, it’s a welcome reminder of the beauty of life, and the deep way that yoga can help us connect to this beauty and remind us that such beauty is always present within us and around us, even when we may overlook it or forget that it exists.
Lynn: Yes, the more I loosen my grip, both in my yoga practice, and in my life, the easier it is to connect with the beauty that surrounds us, and to be satiated and grateful. There is a surrender that comes from the ability to feel more deeply and to be receptive to what is happening (and respond). It’s so sweet to brave this beautiful, crazy life together with a fellow seeker, Bruce. Thank you for the opportunity of sharing. Our conversations have been like a calm breath in my life.
This is Part 3 of a conversation about keeping a journal with Lynn Burgess and Bruce Black. If you’d like to read Parts 1 and 2, visit: http://yogafromtheheart.com/yogapracticejournal/ and http://yogafromtheheart.com/a-yoga-journal-can-enrich-your-practice/ and
Lynn Burgess is the founder and director of Yoga from the Heart in Sarasota, FL, where she teaches public classes and workshops, offers private instruction, and conducts teacher training and advanced-studies programs. You can find out more about her (and her yoga instructional DVDs, meditation CD, and Sanskrit/English CD) at her website (http://yogafromtheheart.com/instructors/lynn-burgess/). She lives in Sarasota.
Bruce Black is the author of Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal (Rodmell Press). His work has appeared in the pages of OM Yoga Magazine, Tiferet Journal and Dogs Naturally Magazine, and online at Yogi Times, Mindbodygreen, Yogamint, and Hugger Mugger. You can read more of his work at his blog, Writing Yoga With Bruce Black(http://journalpractice.wordpress.com) and follow him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WritingYogaWithBruceBlack/) and Twitter (@WritingYoga). He lives with his wife in Sarasota, FL, where he offers workshops on learning how to keep a practice journal.