This is a story I’ve been keen to share for a while as I’m very proud of what I helped co-create along with a fab team of designers.
Recently, I was invited to write the content for a Yoga journal ‘My Yoga Companion‘,as it’s now called, which is on sale exclusively in Paperchase.
I’m so excited. I get a real thrill when I see the finished product in store or read the recent reviews online.
I actually did the writing work for this last year and surprisingly it didn’t take me as long as I thought it would. I think that’s because I was working to a clear deadline, so I stayed really focused and carved out time from my regular one to one support work to be able to focus on the creation of this Yoga journal.
So where did I start and how did I do it?
Initially, I did some research – always a favourite thing of mine. I looked at other journals for inspiration, decided what I liked, considered what I didn’t like and thought about what was missing.
I’m a keen journaler and Paperchase is like shopping heaven for me, so when I was given the opportunity to create the content for a journal for them, I wanted it to be special, but I also wanted it to be really useable and insightful for the people buying it too; something that would take them on a little journey of self discovery.
To me, I think journaling helps us get in touch with hidden aspects of ourselves, giving those aspects a voice and allowing us to get more real with ourselves about what we like and don’t like, what we need more or less of and what our deepest desires and dreams are. We may be too scared to voice these thoughts with others or even ourselves verbally… but somehow it seems safer when we write these thoughts down as words on paper. Somehow we can dig really deep when we write which can help us transform through blocks and see aspects of ourselves that perhaps we don’t like so much and want to keep hidden, helping us to see where we might need to go next with our choices and plans or in getting the support we need.
This journal also needed to be supportive, so unlike one with blank pages for Morning Pages and freeform writing of thoughts and ideas, this journal was specifically designed to help you with your home Yoga practice; something we all need.
It needed to inspire and excite you to get onto your mat, giving you new ideas for ways to develop and explore your practice, perhaps change your practice. I also wanted it to inspire people to take the awareness they create on their mat out into their daily lives, so I left plenty of free writing space in the journal and posed some contemplative questions to get you looking deeper into how your Yoga practice could support your life and ways the two might interact with each other.
My first steps in creating the journal were to research and gather ideas, images and quotes I loved. I created boards on Pinterest, prepared documents of Yoga practice support tools and collected information on areas such as the chakra system and how it relates to Yoga. I thought about the things that inspire me in my own practice and teaching and in the one to one work I offer, reviewing the things I know my students love. I then started to build a rough outline of the different sections that would go into the journal, breaking the sections down so they took the reader on a journey that flowed.
The journal is written in such a way as to enable you to connect to your true self, your authentic voice, and gives you the time and space to connect with and deeply listen to your own body and your own needs.
Complete with an initial contents page, this Yoga journal has space at the beginning for you to reflect on where you are in your Yoga journey and where you want to go with it.
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
The journal then moves into lots of useable (and useful) sections such as:
- Lessons from the mat – a space for you to reflect on your own practice.
- 30 day challenge – to encourage you to try different things and add some spice to your Yoga practice.
- Little guide to chakras – I loved writing this section. It’s an overview of the chakras and the poses that can help you access them, along with lots of reflective questions around where you might be blocked or need to work more with particular areas of your body .
- My yoga loves – a space for you to reflect on your practice, goals and challenges while learning more about your body and breath and being guided by inspirational quotes and yogi wisdom.
And there’s more, but I don’t want to spoil that lovely feeling you get when you open a book and uncover the contents for yourself.
Strangely, the writing process itself came pretty easily. I was quite strict on time with myself and although I did end up having a couple of late nights in the last few days before submission, it was not as much of a struggle as I thought it would be… In fact, once I’d started, it all just poured out of me. I just knew what types of Yoga pose and chakra images might go nicely in different places of the journal to support the writing, and then the amazing designers took my rough notes and turned them into something way more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. The lettering, fonts and images are all divine and the whole journal has a beautiful old school book feel to it which I love with the most amazing exposed stitched binding.
My hubby needs a mention here too for grammar and spelling and general initial editing support, as do the publishing team as this area did need some work!
To say I’m proud of my efforts is an understatement really. When I finally got some copies to hold and read, it made my heart fit to burst. There’s something special about turning something from computer screen and text into a real book you can hold in your hands, and it’s even more special seeing it in the shops or with Yoga clients at classes.
So far, I haven’t really talked about this widely other then mentioning it on occasion in classes, during one to one sessions or at the studio where I teach, Yoga Kula Leeds. But now I’m sharing the process with everyone and hope you will feel inspired to go and buy a copy for yourself or as a treat for a friend.
It’s been lovely when students at class or on retreats or workshops have turned up with a copy and asked me to sign it. J It made me laugh, but I also really appreciated it and was glad they were enjoying the journal itself. I’ve also spotted some Yoga teachers on Instagram with one but I haven’t dared contact them to say “Hey, I wrote that…” It’s great to see nice reviews and know that people are making good use of it.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity of participating in this creative process. The designers and publishers at Paperchase have done a fantastic job of turning the journal into the beautiful book it is. I learnt so much from the process and now have the desire to create more. I would love to do a Pregnancy Journal or a Well Woman Cycle Charting Journal in the future, so watch this space. What journals would you like me to create next? Let me know?
If buy a copy online, please add a review to the Paperchase website and I’d love it if you could send me an email to let me know your thoughts too.
Order your copy of My Yoga Companion from Paperchase
I’m also thinking of creating some shorter mini journaling workbooks to sell on my website to support your practices at home. Let me know if this would be of interest to you and the areas you’d like support on. Maybe I’ll start with a more in-depth Little Book of Chakras…