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Monday, September 24, 2018

How to eat this season....



The hot topic every spring is DETOX and CLEANER EATING, is it not?
Why is that? Because summer is on its way! 

Even if your body is looking swimsuit ready, the ritual and system of eating according to the season is a rite for everyone. Changing eating habits around this time of year is also much easier and we are more likely to succeed and sustain great changes if we learn why and how.

In this article I wanted to share 3 small tips for you to create and sustain healthy changes to your personal eating habits. Just above them, I have also shared about my 30 year search for the secret formula to Eating Right + what helped me make the lasting change. 

Scroll down to see my 3 tips to create lasting change... 

My food journey...

Tracking back to being a 12 year old, I remember fainting because I decided not to eat for a day. Why? because someone said I was on the heavier side with a look of disapproval.

As I grew older, in trying to fit in with the "health fanatics" I tried the 10 day liquid fast, the no carbs diet, no meat diet, fruit fasts and suffered major relapses of emotional eating habits when no one was watching to cope with the anxieties of life. I recall always feeling insecure about my weight, always having a squirmy feeling in my stomach, never feeling satisfied with what I ate and always wanting to be thinner than I was. Yet, I was always eating the things that I knew were misaligned to my health goals, that made me feel guilty and unhealthy. Talk about being a self-saboteur! 

So over time I lost faith in myself because I had created enough evidence that I was never going to change and believed that I didn't have the strength it took to make positive and lasting changes. Oh I also compared my life to Bollywood celebrities, saying "if only I had the whole day to spend at the gym, then I too would be as fit as them" My values were totally out of place!

Later I found others just like me, and got to know it's quite common to go through this before deciding "IT'S ENOUGH" or in my case, I got quite sick while overseas. One day, 9 years ago, I experienced a high fever, my breath felt shallow, I could not move or eat solids for nearly 3 days and I tried to sleep through it, because I told myself I was a "yogi". I was living in Paris then. My weight was great, I was in good shape, and I was practicing yoga daily and sometimes twice a day. So how could I have something going on inside?! On the 4th day I finally made my way to the local GP and found out that my iron levels had dropped so low that if I did not take supplements I would basically become Anemic. Did I know the actual answer as to HOW it got so bad, so quickly? No. Because the doc didn't ask me any more questions. And because I got my quick supplement fix, I was able to move on for the time being.

Shortening it to 4 years ago, when I met my Ayurvedic Mentor, Teacher and Practitioner I finally found out what actually broke my camel's back and became my own research and development project to heal my iron deficiency on a mental, spiritual and physical level.

Now, we all know blood is the juice of life. With good blood flow we breathe. When our breath is great we feel vital. Need I say more about the transformation I have felt healing this way? What helped me get committed though was my realization that I wanted to have a long standing career in serving others to improve their health. I realized that I wanted to live with purpose every day of my life and my nutrition plan needed to match who I wanted to become, so that I could keep serving with vigor, joy and enthusiasm throughout my life and not burn out early in the tracks. I decided to make the changes with new values in place.

Another truth that helped me commit to Ayurvedic eating is when I noticed health is not about quick fixer uppers, or HACKS. Health is the state of the relationship I have with my body and mind.

So while all the public information I was reading lead me to shift my mindset, however to achieve the next level of success I had to personalize my nutrition plan and take responsibility to eating with awareness. 

Now I know most of you reading this article are already health oriented, not just for your body but for every area of your life. I know you value overall well being, and are probably already eating to detoxify to transition to the warmer days ahead. So to help you along your journey to sustaining those healthy changes to your diets here are my 3 Tips that I normally share with my private clients now:

1) Be aware of your digestion. Daily notice, how many times you are eating and if your body has fully digested the food you ate last. Sometimes we eat from boredom or sometimes we ignore hunger pains / sensations in the body for when we are meant to be eating. If you are in the habit of not eating for long periods of time, and then eat something to tie you over, over time this will aggravate your digestive fire for eating incorrectly. So, even if you do eat, the food will not be digested correctly to acquire the sustenance and nutrition your body needs. Or you might be the constant grazer that always eats till they fall asleep, you might also be weakening your digestion over time - it is a good thing to take note of tip no. 2 below.

2) Bring awareness to how you feel after you eat your meals. i.e. Do you feel Energized? Or Lethargic and Heavy? Or Bloated or Acidic? noticing the reaction your food is having in your body is a good sign for whether what you are eating is serving you or not. If you feel dull, heavy, bloated or lethargic after your meals, you are eating foods that are making your digestion sluggish. A sign that your digestive system is finding it difficult to break it down. In case you suffer from heart burns or acid re-flux try to drink warm fennel tea after your meals to help with this, paired with correction in your choice of foods.

3) Take note of what you are eating throughout the day and the time you are eating them. One of our biggest problem is that we don't pay much attention to what we are actually eating at the time we are eating them. Why is this important? Because eating even the right foods at the wrong time translates to poison for the body. Example: Eating curd / yogurt at night is a big No in Ayurveda. Why? because while curd is an excellent source of good bacteria and aids in digestion. At night, it will lead to mucus development and increase allergy flair ups, coughs and colds. But if you can't go without it, opt for buttermilk instead. 

The above steps are what I ask my private clients to take to help them bring awareness to how they might take responsibility, to make informed choices on what they eat, and to stay motivated to stay committed. 

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know how you found my 3 tips and feel free to comment below on any other topic you would like me to write on next.

Until the next one, happy living! 

Supriya Roy (Ayurveda Practitioner & Founder of Seva Yoga)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Time to let go - What do you think?




It's the middle of September and spring is still not here!

Well, it turns out the Australian snow season got extended from August to November so expect a slight delay. However this also means that we can take our time to transition from the cold of winter to a juicy delicious spring this year. 

How has winter been for you this year and what comes to mind when you think of transitioning to spring? What are some changes you are looking forward to experiencing? 

Also, how do you feel when you hear "It's Time to Let Go" of the old? Does it feel like a big lump in your throat? 

Courtney Carver says "Decluttering is not a one-night stand or a sprint to the finish line. It is a day-by-day, step-by-step, inch-by-inch revolution. Instead of a massive spring cleaning, or a big purge, consider the tried and true, proven method of slowly but surely."

Both Yoga and Ayurveda, view change as a part of life and prescribe the slowly but surely method when it comes to creating space on a physical, mental and spiritual level. 

The act of letting go is a yogic practice that falls under the Yama / yogic mindset of "Non-possessiveness or Detachment" also known in Sanskrit as Aparigraha. 

And under the Ayurvedic system each season has it's own cleansing and maintenance practice that support a healthy physical and spiritual life.  

Here are some baby steps to spring clean areas of life that offer a healthy non-possessive way of mind and a peaceful way of transitioning into spring:

Diet
  • Write down everything you want to change about your diet.
  • Don’t eat meat on Monday.
  • Boycott fast food.
  • Eat sitting down.
  • Drink more water and less of everything else.
Calendar
  • Cancel one thing right now.
  • Leave Friday’s open for the unexpected.
  • Do errands on Wednesday instead of the weekend.
  • Track your time.
Money
  • If there is something you buy almost everyday, don’t buy it for a week.
  • Track your spending.
  • Don’t dine out for a month.
  • Read a Money Mindset book.
Work
  • Figure out what you enjoying doing.
  • Connect with other people who do it well.
  • Help people.
  • Ask for help.
Distractions
  • Cancel your cable television.
  • Close your computer and put down your iStuff.
  • Don’t check email in the morning.
  • Turn off all alerts.
  • Remove Facebook from your phone or just be friends with your actual friends.
Stuff
  • Keep a box by the door. Drop something in it to donate every day.
  • Don’t buy anything new for 30 days
  • Maintain a tiny clutter-free zone
  • One in One out
Taking a step at a time and having a plan for each area of your life will mean you will be able to create amazing headway daily. It's not at all about just getting organised or spring cleaning but a way to live life without needing to always be busy or full. All it will take is your commitment to stick to your steps and in no time you will have a habit of keeping your life de-cluttered and ready for change always. 

In 2019 I am teaching an integrative yoga teacher training course, where you will study the sciences and implement them into your life for best health, mindset and lifestyle. It will go for 12 months with mentoring under a structured guideline that will help you integrate your knowledge and wisdom into your daily life. Here is the prospectus. Enrollments and conditions of entry do apply however this program will encourage those that are wanting to take the steps to living Yoga and Ayurveda in daily life. 

If you found the above article helpful, please share it with someone that you can also practice it with.

Until the next one, take care and have a wonderful spring clean.

Supriya (Ayurveda Practitioner, Integrative Yoga Teacher Trainer)



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sun-gazing to Recharge the Soul






What did you think about my article 6 Highly Effective Habits for More Energy ? Did you find it helpful? How many are you already practicing? 


Now, some of you did read my previous article and told me "But Supriya, those practices are too easy- tell me more" so here it is... 

Surya aka the sun is our benevolent and very powerful friend that gives life and light to all beings on Earth. One of his functions are photosynthesis, which helps plants grow, which in turn keeps us and our animal kingdom alive. We receive vitamin D, warmth and solar energy for power in many of our electronic utilities. The sun is one of the most magnificent, abundant sources of natural energy for our life here. 

In the Vedic system there is a daily routine, called Sun Gazing that devoted students of any age can practice (with caution).  The practice of sun gazing has some truly amazing benefits, not only for the physical health, but also for mental and spiritual development. 

Some of the benefits of sun gazing include:

  1. Increased energy
  2. Boosts production of the feel good hormones serotonin and melatonin
  3. Improved eyesight
  4. Reduces hunger pains –body is completely nourished by the sun 
  5. Stimulation and growth of the Pineal gland
  6. Release of internal emotional blocks
  7. Increase personal potential

Okay while the practice again is very simple there is CAUTION
1) Practice only during the first hour of the sunrise, or the last hour before the sun sets.  
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! IF THE PROPER TIMES ARE NOT FOLLOWED EYES CAN BE DAMAGED BY THE UV RAYS FROM THE SUN. 

The specific steps are listed further down in this article but let's get into a little bit of research and study.


The Man Who Brought Sun Gazing to the West
Hira Ratan Manek gave this practice the name and brought it to our Western world. He is more commonly known as HRM and is the founder of the Solar Healing center. He is famous for his ability to live off of solar energy and water. That is it. Sometimes he claims to have tea, coffee or buttermilk for social purposes however states in his own words that the sun can be used to heal the mind, body and spirit and claims that as a result of sun gazing we can have better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. HRM has gone through three strict long term fasts and during those he was under the supervision and observation of various medical and scientific teams to provide statistical evidence of the benefits to this practice.
  • The first fast went for 211 days in 1995 and 1996 in India. Dr. C.K. Ramachandran, a medical expert on Ayurvedic medicine, directed the study. 
  • The second fast went for an impressive 411 days, right after the last one. That is an astounding time to go with no food at all. 
  • The same study was also directed by an international team of 21 doctors and scientists; lead by Dr. Sudhir Shah in India. 
  • The last and third observed fast went for 130 days, which took place in the United States at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Philadelphia. 
The Studies

A scientist by the name of Vinny Pinto conducted a survey on 56 participants and outlined their experiences in what he called “The First Sungazing List Group Sungazers Survey.” His major findings from the study were:

  1. Health improvements especially among women
  2. People who practiced sun gazing for more than five years and who gazed mid-day (instead of the insisted hour after sunrise and hour before sunset) were more likely to report adverse effects.
  3. 35 out of the 51 participants reported to have “increased or greatly increased energy” while only 1 participant reported reduced energy
  4. The number of people who reported a “decreased need for solid food” was approximately equal to the number of people who reported “no significant change in the need for food.” Only 1 person in the study reported an increased need for food.
  5. People who had sun gazed for at least a year for at least 4 times per week were far more likely to report a decreased need for solid food.
  6. The most common physical/mental/spiritual experiences reported from sun gazing were bliss, joy, peace and calmness.
  7. No one from the study reported a decrease in physical health, everyone reported that his or her health was the same or had improved.
While there are many methods The HRM method is safe and popular: 

If you are going to modify this method please do your research and do not attempt to stare at the sun during the times with UV radiation present, and also do not stare at the sun for longer than the recommended times. 

You can adjust this method with how often you practice it and for your intentions behind it, but aside from that you should try to aim to stick to the general guidelines so that you don’t injure your eyesight or cause permanent retinal damage, this is very serious.

The Practice
It is an important part of the practice that you stand barefoot on bare earth. This helps to keep you grounded and enhances the benefits of sun gazing.
As you are staring at the sun visualize the energy from the sun coming into your body and filling your body and cells with rejuvenating light.


Here is the method that HRM recommends:
Day 1
Begin by spending a maximum of 10 seconds on the first day by looking directly at the sun during the safe hours.   

Continue this daily until you have reached 44 minutes. This should take between 9-10 months depending on the weather. 

DAY 2 - DAY 10+On the second day aim for 20 seconds, each day after that continue adding 10 seconds to the previous day. So at 10 days you will be looking at the sun for 100 seconds, or 1 minute and 40 seconds.
CONTINUE & DEVELOP
According to HRM this is all you need to gain the benefits described above from sun gazing.
After this you will need to walk for 45 minutes each day for the 6 days following the completion of the 9-10 months of sun gazing.
From there on out, make a conscious effort to continue to walk barefoot on the earth, preferably in the sun whenever you feel like it or get the time.
During this time it is important to stay centered and see what comes up for you. 



JOURNAL
It is also a good idea to keep a journal to track your progress and keeping note of how you are physically and mentally feeling. 


There are many resources for sun gazing on the internet for the spiritual effects of sun-gazing as well the physical benefits. You might consider watching this documentary called “Eat The Sun.” This documentary follows a man's journey through the HRM practice of sun gazing. 

The best part about the whole journey (should you choose to embark upon it) is that you are making sure you are spending time doing something energizing every day and in nature. This is a highly effective habit builder as well and can transform your health and well being in a very short amount of time! 

There you have it Yogis... and let me know how you find this practice for you.

There are many other Yogic practices you can study with me next year. If you are keen to study yoga and actually follow a methodical personalized practice, registrations are now open for 2 very specialised training programs I have written starting in January 2019. 

They both speak directly to an individual's personal well being, health and practice goals utilising Ayurveda and Yoga as the frameworks. 

One of the programs are accredited and the other is for strictly to develop and advance in health & energy. 



If you are intrigued, send me an email here.


Supriya Roy (Adv. Dip Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Founder of Seva Yoga)




Monday, August 13, 2018

5 Signs You're No Longer a Yoga Newbie



There are tell-tale signs that you’re ready to come off the yoga newbies bench and some of them are quite obvious but we think it’s worth noting for the wins:

Always on Time
You might still remember coming to class late and not worrying about what others thought, since no one knew you back then. Now though, you’re one of the first ones in, ready on your mat, with an ease and greet your fellow yogis as they arrive. You even have a lie down on your bolster and set yourself up in the front row so you didn’t miss a cue. Yes, these are great signs.

Stop the Clock Watch
Back up to last quarter, the 60 minute classes used to feel like an eternity, especially when in Tree pose hold, you would smile wide eyed, feet burning with your eyes wandering over your shoulder to check the clock. Oh and much to your surprise we were only 20 minutes into the start of class. But now you’ve learned to breathe slower, move your body intelligently and can hear the finer instructions that help you relax every step of the way. Eg: SMILEASANA and SIGH like you need it. But also know that they work.

You Won’t Miss Restorative / Yin
Restorative and Yin yoga have always been challenging for the Urban Yogis to take up in the beginning of their yoga journey. Do you remember how hard it was having to hear your mind yap away while you’re being told to relax and find the pleasure in being physically still? It was so hard, because you had never laid down without falling asleep before. It was like being sent to the naughty corner as a big kid. But now you can’t wait to find yourself on your mat just BEING, LAYING STILL, and following your inner bliss for an hour. It’s your weekly staple and are finding this a treat at the end of your week.

It’s about Quality Time
On your first month you were focused on getting on the mat at least 4 times a week. Life was still a little out of control and your schedule was never too planned. So you made it to the studio 4 times but at varying times of the week to realise that a regular practice is essential. Gradually you’ve been scheduling yourself to finish work on time, and be on time for yoga. You realised that the time on your mat is about quality not the number of times you got on it. Your schedule looks a lot more intentional and you’re living life more vibrantly.

The New You Is Reflecting
You’re on a new year, and you are at a cross road between the old you and a possible other you. You learned a lot about your past self in the last year/s of your practice. Truth be told, you haven’t been tracking anything specifically but you were passionately regular.  You’ve fulfilled your aim of being regular and that says a lot. It must be working for you. It’s a new year now though and you are feeling a little intrigued about what else you could learn about yourself? Could you be more self-aware? Physically Stronger and Flexible? Take deeper practices to access more energy?

How do you feel you're tracking on this list?

Supriya Roy 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The 6 Highly Effective Habits for More Energy




You’ve all heard of the old used up sentence “Humans are all creatures of habit” often connoting that we are somehow bound to our habits. It might even feel very convincing that you are bound, because for some a habit could be supporting other habits. A common example is keep showing up to work, which pays the bills, which keeps things moving and you make it through the week without stopping then you spend the entire weekend living. When moving through the motions, only some ask how can I do this differently or better?   

The Seva philosophy understands and advocates taking small steps, which create big changes. The steps when taken regularly become highly effective habits that have the capacity to move life in the direction of our personal desires.

Have you ever asked yourself, what might you eat, think, feel and act like if you were living your dream life? And what are some of your habits that stop you from aligning your actions (with ease)?

Below are 6 science based steps, prescribed by Ayurveda to make it easier for you to practice them as habits. You’re probably already aware of most of them, but just need to commit to take small and consistent steps to turn them into living habits.

Those habits will then develop you to make better choices with greater ease and you won't even have to talk yourself into it. You will feel better for doing them, than not.

Its a lot like brushing teeth - no one ever said "I'm so glad I didn't brush my teeth today!"

These 6 steps are habit building steps, which will prepare you for personalized habits that will create more effective changes in your life. They will start moving you in the right direction straight away. Think of it like this, they are small changes without it feeling like you're moving a mountain.

To give you a bit of basis for my advice here, both Yoga and Ayurveda are researched and trialed sciences that prescribe individualized lifestyle habits for best health.  The following steps will improve your capacity to adopt more personalized changes with ease and will not have any harmful side effects by practicing without guidance. 

What these sciences both advocate is that health and vitality are no longer at the mercy of external factors but an inner power that we can cultivate for ourselves. You will always know your center, how to maintain your connection to it and how you can keep topping up when life pushes you off kilter.

So are you ready to get started? WARNING: These steps are very simple but very potent. 
Don't let the simplicity and ease fool you. If you can do them for an entire season, you will be ready to take on deeper practices taught at Seva. Are you ready? You must promise to do these daily. Like brushing your teeth. Here they are:

1.     HYDRATION - Upon waking drink 2 litres of warm water. Water rehydrates your organs and gets the toxic waste moving in the right direction.

2.     TONGUE SCRAPING - Gently scraping the white coating off the tongue each morning promotes better oral hygiene. You will also enhance your taste faculty improving your choice in foods.

3.     NASAL RINSE – As a Yoga practitioner you need access to both your nostrils for best breath practice. Nasal rinsing clears the mucosal bacteria and dirt from the sinus cavity that not only helps with an improved sense of smell but your ability to manage your energy better. Your alertness, mood, appetite, speech depends greatly on the rhythm and quality of your breath. When your nasal passage is clear you feel clear minded and make better choices throughout the day. You will dream more frequently, that will aid in clearing subconscious mind clutter.

4.     EAT TIMELY - Eat your heaviest meal at 12 and an early dinner by 7pm. Besides eating high quality foods, eating at the incorrect time is a bigger cause for imbalance. Even if you feel you have a high metabolic rate (I hear this one a lot) eating at the wrong times will put digestive organs under strain. All the undigested food will sit in the digestive tract becoming toxic waste that will weaken your digestive fire. This is a cause for much of your mental lethargy, stress and long term health issues.

5.     QUALITY REST – Yoga practices help with rejuvenating the body and mind’s fatigue and prepare your body to sleep well. But to have optimum energy in waking hours, without losing focus, or needing to caffeinate, wake up before sunrise and don’t stay up past 10pm. The energy before sunrise in nature increases peace of mind, and adds freshness to the 5 senses. Getting 8 hours of sleep will provide adequate physical rest and improved mental energy.

6.     DAILY JOURNALING – Journaling your thoughts in a prescribed context like maintaining a Meditation / Yoga / Pranayama Practice can benefit in becoming better at what habits you are practicing. Journaling has science backing its benefits on the mind and body and proves to be a highly effective habit for self-awareness and making highly informed decisions. You can read my blog article on "5 benefits of keeping a yoga journal" for the benefits.

So, there you have it. The 6 science backed highly effective habit building steps for anyone wanting to generate higher levels of health and energy, for a better performing Body and Mind right away. 

Supriya Roy (Adv. Dip Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Founder of Seva Yoga)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Adulting - Could we do it another way?



On the very first day of our Beginner’s Yoga Course, we sit in an open circle and introduce ourselves. We share our personal big why for starting Yoga now. When asked what self-care looks like for each person, many (surprisingly) smirk and share “I showered before I came today” or “Went to the beach last summer and that felt good” and “sleeping in whenever I can” is a popular response.
Some are hilarious to hear and hard to believe but it is a big reality for many working, parenting, highly committed and very dependable adults these days. There are many reasons why Self-care is not a conscious item on our To-Do lists and one major reason research has found is the person’s unconscious belief system on achieving success.
Have you recently asked yourself how success feels and looks for you? What might you eat, think, feel and act like if you were successful? How close are you to feeling like the best version of yourself? Do you regularly stop and check-in on how you are feeling? 
Many adults believe sacrificing attention to their own wellbeing is a greater demonstration of their love and commitment to others. Although self-sacrificial, this is how majority of us train ourselves to be “better performing" people in our careers and personal lives. Albeit, mostly unconsciously, this way of thinking also becomes a major reason for failure in performance and enjoyment of success in life.
Self-care is probably commonly associated with signing up to a gym to get "stronger", eating healthy to keep "extra weight off" or enjoying a remedial massage for "pain relief". However self-care is a lot less reactive to health problems, and concerns more with the person’s current state of being. Self-care in fact does not worry about the look, but it delivers better physiology, greater mental clarity and self-awareness that helps navigate through stressful experiences of life. It helps us generate positive states in mind and body to enable better or best overall performance and enjoy the successes of life on a long term scale. Self-care is a tool for perpetual wellness.
If this resonates with you, and you are ready to learn how, we have some useful tips for you to get started right now. We want you to go to the gym and the day spa and we also recommend you spend 10minutes every hour of your day to stop and notice your breath. If you notice that you’re breathing through your chest alone, shallowly and fast we recommend you do this: 1. Sit up straight, 2. Relax your shoulders, 3.Take very slow and long breaths using your abdomen and chest. 4. Mentally say “I am relaxing”.
Do this for 10 minutes every hour of your day for at least 3 days in a row. And check back with us to let us know how you went. One of the fundamental pillars of a Yoga practice is consciously taking deeper breaths giving immense benefits to all its students.
So, self-care ultimately boils down to taking small steps to develop lifelong skills which give you time and energy back with greater appreciation for what really matters. With regularity, each time you practice your self-care routine, you create a perpetual change toward positive emotions and a physiology that gives you a sense of success, regularly and naturally. 
Here at Seva, service begins with service to ourselves. 
Supriya Roy (Adv. Dip Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Founder of Seva Yoga)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

5 Benefits of Keeping a Yoga Journal



Your yoga journalling will be of most benefit if you keep it timely and spend no more than 20 minutes a day. If you are curious about what it takes to start, you can start with 1 x A5 sheet of paper and a pen. 

You don’t need to be good at spelling or grammar. In your Yoga journal you will write specifically about your practice experiences. Take my practice journal as an example and you would find pictures, stickers, scribbles, random words, sentences, poetry and even letters through the year’s experiences. So don’t think you’re limited to just pen on paper.

A Yoga journal is like your very private, open green field, and you can run on it however you like with your pen. It’s your time, and space for you to write about anything you like. At the end of this article you can find a guided journal entry page, to help you track your yoga practice, if you should want to use it, like many of my private clients and students do.

Right now I want to touch on WHY I recommend you keep a practice journal for your yoga journey.

So, there are HEALTH BENEFITS to it, Yes! You get to own free space to dump the load of your brain and it’s very good for your overall health! Okay I’ll get to the scientific findings on it:
“University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker argues that regular journalling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research also indicate that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events help you come to terms with them, acting as a stress management tool, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on physical health.” – Purcell, 2018

With all due respect to research and the science of journalling though, I have personally benefited from it and now use it as a therapeutic tool with my private clients. My intention is to reduce their stress, connect them to their mind and body, and increase their capacity to understand their own potential in achieving their wellbeing goals backed by evidence.

The top 5 benefits I would like to highlight are:

1)      Improved Self-Awareness – If you’re thinking that someone else has the answers about what makes you special and the best person to be around. You need to get in touch with the person inside of you and see how much s/he knows about you. Journalling offers a chance to reveal to us our real emotions, opinions, views about how we individually perceive our experiences. You might be shocked to see how wonderfully wise or different you are and how valuable your standpoint really is for the life you are wanting to live. Journalling your real thoughts will help expose your false beliefs and give you a closer look at how the most important person sees you - Yourself. The better your self-awareness the higher your chances to change what you don’t like.

2)     Expose the Censors  – When journalling your practice, you gain a different perspective on how you are being. As in are you engaging with your experience or does your engagement waiver from time to time? And why? You can write down your deepest fears, what triggers you to hold back or perhaps you feel sensations you’ve never felt before? Write down what you are finding inside of your body, and you will get to know your actual strengths and barriers are toward making change happen.

3)      Up your Self-Care – While Yoga itself is a part of your self-care routine, the journal is a sacred tool to discovering new goals, inspirations, and identifying your personal hardships and most importantly uncovering your true needs. You are your main carer and possibly for another 5 people who need you and your energy for their life to function properly. To best serve those you love, don’t you think meeting your own needs has to come first? Truth is most of the times self-care is at the bottom of the to-do list for any person leading an average life. But if you’re looking to live life more vibrantly, you need to up your self-care. Having a journal with your very personal needs list actually is the ULTIMATE best step. It will help you make sure you get your actual needs met. As we say it here at Seva, small steps create big changes.

4)      Solve Problems Effectively – For a very long while I recorded the number of classes I took per week, how I felt after each class and what I wanted to heal in my life. And one day when I looked back at my practice journal entries for the past 6 months, I found a tonne of personal data about WHY I could never maintain my engagement through a 90 minute class. The problems were clear to track, and I was able to take accountability for my own shortcomings. I saw that I had to learn to relax more and stop trying to blame it things outside of myself. You too can track your journey and have a place to gather data from to solve actual problems.

5)      Gain Clarity- The act of setting some time to contemplate a subject matter is a meditative act. My practice journal has been hands down one of the best companion tools to progress my meditation practice. When you write down everything that is sitting in your mind, this itself is so therapeutic and freeing and with that extra space in your mind, you hold a powerful chance to shift the needle of your life to wherever it is you are meant to be going.

GUIDED SEVA YOGA PRACTICE JOURNAL ENTRY:
Print these questions, and write down the answers in your journal anytime you take a class or do anything Yoga related. This includes reading a book, listening to a podcast, taking a developmental workshop, masterclass, course or retreat. Once you’ve answered those, use the rest of the page to free write about anything else that you felt like writing down. Don’t dismiss thoughts or questions you had come up in your awareness – write them all down. The space is all yours, so let it FLOW out of you! Free that Mind Up! 

Date & Time of class:______________

1.       Rate your engagement from 1 to 5 (1 = disconnected, 3 = semi-engaged, 5 = connected):            1            2            3            4            5

2.     Type of Class taken: _______________

3.     Write down 3 main observations of your experience like mood, energy, motivation and limitations: _______________________________________________________________             

I hope this article has touched on something of value to you. I’d love to hear about your experience, thoughts and feedback about keeping a Practice Journal. All Seva Yoga courses recommend purposeful practice journaling and it has been a wonderful tool of self-inquiry, self-awareness and evolution for many of our advancing students.
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     Supriya Roy (Adv. Dip Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Founder of Seva Yoga)

APA Reference
Purcell, M. (2018). The Health Benefits of Journaling. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/