I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my journals¬†have held many ridiculous imaginings, fuelled some wild daydreams, and served as a place to sort through¬†my problems (big and small). My journal is the place where I cannot hide from my thoughts or feelings. It is where¬†my deepest truths fall out, even the ones that I’m¬†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 aware¬†of sensations in my muscles and joints that I may not notice (or choose to ignore!)¬†during the rhythm of a typical day. It’s easy to travel¬†through our daily¬†schedules without paying attention to¬†the effect each movement has on¬†the¬†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 focus¬†on my breath, and the framework of the postures, I can’t avoid feeling imbalances or tensions that have arisen in my body.¬†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 thoughts¬†and let the page hold them in plain view,¬†my yoga mat¬†is the space where I¬†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?