Yoga Journal Guidelines
WHO ? YOU are the one and only one who will benefit from outside practice sessions. The additional time spent will reinforce information covered in class practices as well as begin the integration of YOGA into your daily life.
HOW MUCH ? A minimum of 30 minutes per week constitutes ONE practice session.
WHEN ? Many people find that practicing early in the morning helps to ensure that they actually follow through with their good intentions to do the practice. However, be aware that your body is probably less flexible at that time of day, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Later in the day you will be more flexible from having moved about, but statistically, you are less likely to actually DO your practice at all, if you wait until the end of the day. Be sure to practice on an empty stomach. After eating a light meal, it is advisable to wait two hours and after eating a heavy meal, it is advisable to wait four hours, before practicing YOGA.
WHAT TO DO ? Be sure to include practice in the following areas: Breathing exercises, postures and relaxation exercises. FORMAT for each journal entry should include the following:
a) Start and Finish time
c) List Breathing exercises; Reflection….
d) List Postures: Choose from sitting, standing, prone and/or supine;
Reflect upon each one…
e) Relaxation exercises; Reflection
*Be sure to reflect upon what you experience or learn while working on breathing, postures and relaxation.
WHERE ? You will want to find a place that is comfortable and relatively quiet and free of distractions. Non-skid carpet is a good surface for practicing yoga, but if your carpet is slippery or if you do not have carpet, use a small rug or a Yoga “sticky mat” like we use in class. It is also important to have enough floor space in which to fully stretch out without bumping into furniture, children, pets, etc…
HOW ? In your home practice, continue to employ the principles that we discuss in class and that are outlined in your textbook. Work to improve your YOGA (whatever that means to you), but be gentle with yourself. Yoga should NEVER hurt. Learn to distinguish between the possibly mild discomfort of a stretch to near the edge of your capability (which is good) and PAIN (which is bad).
THE JOURNAL : Keep a written record of your home practice sessions in a journal or notebook. The entry should follow the above mentioned format under WHAT TO DO… You may want to add anything else about the practice session that seems significant to you. Feel free to be creative, express poetic imagination as expressions of their experiences with YOGA.
GRADING CRITERIA: Your journal will be graded according to the following criteria (in order of importance):
1. Is there at least one journal entry per week for fall/spring semesters; and two per week for summer semesters ?
2. Does it represent a variety of asanas over the course of the semester ?
3. Does each session include breathing, postures and relaxation exercises?
4. Does it reflect any learning/reflection ?
5. Is it legible ?
The home practice journal will be weighted as 10% of your semester grade.
DUE DATES : See Course Syllabus for specific dates. Journals will be returned to you.
Yoga Journal Format (Example)
Date: Monday,July 11th Location: My Living Room
Time: Began at 6:15 pm / Ended at 6:45 pm
A. Breathing Exercises: 5 Minutes
I sat in Easy Pose (changing legs after 2 ½ minutes) to work on Ujjayi Breathing. I am having difficulty breathing just through my nose. My sinuses have been acting up lately. I closed my eyes to help focus on my breath and tried to inhale & exhale for 4 seconds each. I became aware of myself and felt more connected and centered afterwards. I think I will light a candle and play soft music next journal practice.
B. Postures: (Sitting Postures)
1. Dandasana (Staff or Stick Pose) 5 Minutes
I noticed that I have extreme difficulty in flexing my ankles to pull my toes toward my knees. My calve muscles have always been very tight. I had my little brother hold my feet in a flexed position for 30 seconds – three times each foot to help improve my calve flexibility. My lower back also tires rather quickly. Perhaps I should sit against the wall to build up my lower back strength. I also used my belt as a strap to hold and sit upright, trying to create the letter “L”. I spent ten minutes working with my brother and on my own to improve this pose.
2. Pascimottanasana (Seated Forward
Dandasana, I decided to transition into Seated
3. Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose) 5 Minutes
This is a very difficult pose for me. My inner thighs are extremely tight, but it is my lower back that prohibits me from performing this pose. I chose to sit against the wall to support my entire spine. I pressed my hands against the tops of my thighs to increase the intensity of the inner thigh stretch. I had to really concentrate to keep my entire spine in contact with the wall. I used the commercials on TV to help time myself. I would rest for approximately thirty seconds between each of my three repetitions.
C. Relaxation (Savasana) 10 Minutes
I chose to close the blinds to make it darker so I could relax. I laid a blanket on the floor and used my bed pillows to support my knees. I also covered myself with a light blanket. I positioned myself as we did in class
(I believe) knees over pillows, pressed my elbows into the floor by my hips to elevate my chest so as to draw my shoulder blades together. I focused on my breathing, inhaling and exhaling for 4 seconds each. I used Ujjayi breathing where I could hear myself breathe. Hearing myself breathe was extremely relaxing. I had to really concentrate to not fall asleep! I noticed my upper chest, middle chest and abdominal region rising with each inhale and falling with each exhale. At the end of my relaxation phase, I felt revived and ready to go. I was alert, so I decided to read ahead in my studies.