Rita Knorr teaches Hatha Yoga in classes on Florida’s West Coast–in St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, and Sarasota–as well as on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago.
She has studied with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga, Swami Chidvilasananda (Gurumayi), Barbara Benaugh, John Schumacher, and James Flaherty.
“I like James’ philosophy of life because it works from the assumption that there is nothing to ‘fix’ about our lives,” says Rita. “We are perfect just the way we are, just as the yogic scriptures imply.”
She began keeping a yoga journal years ago and was kind enough to share her thoughts about her journals with us.
JP: When did you start practicing yoga and what inspired you to begin?
Rita: I started in 1975 on the beach in Negril, Jamaica. To use an expression that was popular at the time, it was a way to “be mellow.”
JP: Do you use a journal? If so, when did you begin using the journal and what prompted you to try journaling?
Rita: Yes, I use a journal. I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, and discovered that I could work through lots of emotions and daily problems just by writing it all down. The yoga journal was a natural continuation of that work.
JP: How do you use your journal with your yoga practice? That is, how long do you journal each day? Do you keep more than one journal at a time? Do you journal on the mat or off, between poses, before or after poses?
Rita: I am very erratic with my journals. I have many, and each journal relates to a different aspect of my life, and, at any given time, I am working on lots of project ideas, behavior aspects, and things that inspire me.
When I first started journaling, I journaled with a cup of coffee every morning and wrote three pages following Julia Cameron’s advice. Right now the only time that I am consistently writing is just before I go to bed. That’s when I try to identify the “golden nuggets”– that is, the most life-changing or life-affirming things that happened to me that day. Right now, I rarely have a journal by my mat as I practice.
JP: Can you provide an example (or examples) from your journal that show the kind of things you write about in your journal?
Rita: Here’s an example from yesterday’s journal. I was exploring the idea of the guru–why I have one–and the different gurus (albeit not called that) who have walked into my life. It was my Guru’s birthday, so I was especially thinking of the teacher/student relationship and discipleship.
JP: How has keeping a journal helped deepen your understanding of your yoga practice?
Rita: I think that yoga for me right now is about going deeper into very subtle stuff, like getting to know the body. When I begin to see the subtle changes in breathwork, in postures, in how I work with poses, my mind opens wide. It is the longing for that spaciousness in my mind that deepens my understanding of the process of yoga.
JP: What advice can you share as a result of your own journaling experience that may help other yogis begin their journals?
Rita: Don’t edit. Don’t be profound. Do write down whatever happens in your thoughts, no matter how whacked-out the thoughts. Nobody places judgment on what you write.
For more information about Rita Knorr and a schedule of her classes, visit her website: http://www.fulcrumblu.com/index.htm