I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my journalsÂ have held many ridiculous imaginings, fuelled some wild daydreams, and served as a place to sort throughÂ my problems (big and small). My journal is the place where I cannot hide from my thoughts or feelings. It is whereÂ my deepest truths fall out, even the ones that I’mÂ most afraid of facing. The act of writing gives me perspective, and allows me a space to explore both the most mundane and the most intense experiences.
But I have another journal of a different kind: my yoga mat. Each time I step onto the mat, my body tells a story. I become awareÂ of sensations in my muscles and joints that I may not notice (or choose to ignore!)Â during the rhythm of a typical day. It’s easy to travelÂ through our dailyÂ schedules without paying attention toÂ the effect each movement has onÂ theÂ physical body, not to mention the emotions we hold within. I can ignore a slight pain in the hip, some stiffness in the neck, or a nagging tug at the hamstrings as I go from one activity to another. But on the mat, as I begin to focusÂ on my breath, and the framework of the postures, I can’t avoid feeling imbalances or tensions that have arisen in my body.Â And as I move through my yoga practice, I can consciously work towards bringing my physical (and mental) self back into, or closer to, alignment.
The days when I least feel like rolling out my mat are often the days when I need my yoga practice the most. Just as my journal provides a place where I can sift through my thoughtsÂ and let the page hold them in plain view,Â my yoga matÂ is the space where IÂ can sort through what my body needs at any given time.
Do you use your yoga mat as your physical journal? What story does your body tell?