Monday, January 13, 2014

Quantifying Yoga Practice

Yoga doesn't really seem like something that should be recorded and measured. There are no goals in being present. That being said, there is usually something a yogi is working toward that brings them to the mat. This motivator might be a specific asana, an overall physical improvement like increased flexibility, or a life improvement like better stress management. Changes resulting from a yoga practice can be subtle and best realized over a period of time. Keeping a practice log or journal can really help bring awareness of and celebrate the progress practice brings.

I'm most interested in a better understanding of my human connection with nature. What are seasonal affects on my practice? I want to discover how different types of yoga (ashtanga, intuitive, restorative, etc) specifically affect my moods. I also want to recognize what is happening physically. To accomplish this, I created a simple spreadsheet to record the following:

  • date
  • day
  • practice type
  • pre-practice mood 
  • post practice mood 
  • flexibility
  • balance
  • strength
  • creativity
  • flow
Entries rated using a scale of 1-5:
5 - unusually on, practice milestone
4 - improved, better that usual
3 - normal, usual (my own baseline, not based on age, gender, etc statistics)
2 - less than normal, a little down
1 - extremely low, unusually off

I have designated notes fields to be more specific about my mood, physicality and other things I am noticing. Flexibility, balance, strength, creativity, and flow are both physical and spiritual aspects of humanity so it will definitely be interesting to notice the connections and changes over time. 

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