Journaling your Way to Truth: The Evolution of a Yogi

By Sabrina Moscola

This month at mang’Oh, we are diving into the healing power of journaling. In our upcoming Story and Flow Workshop, Djuna Passman is teaming up with Sabrina Moscola for a beautiful afternoon of self healing. Using the creative expression of journaling, coloring, and yoga, it is a journey into deep connection and self awareness.

In NY Yoga + Life Magazine, Sabrina has written about the importance of journaling in her life, and she interviewed Djuna about it hereRead along below for a glimpse into Sabrina’s personal journal and how she has used it to distill her own experiences in a powerful way.

April 21, 2013

Dear Journal, I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately. My doctor told me to try yoga and meditation. I rolled my eyes. I prefer active exercise and don’t want someone telling me to relax. I was reminded that I currently live across the street from a yoga studio so I don’t really have an excuse. The studio is called mang’Oh. I like the play on words so decide to try it. I set up my mat near the door in case I want to bail in the middle of class. At the end of the class, I decide that I don’t really like this yoga thing, but for the last hour the anxiety seems to have dissipated. I think it was something about the breathing. Maybe I’ll go back next week.

July 1, 2015

Dear Journal, I’m doing it. I’m booking the yoga retreat to Italy that mang’Oh is hosting. I realize that mid-breakup is the worst time to spend money — I have to find a new place to live and all the expenses that come along with that, and maybe this is a form of denial or avoidance, but something deep inside that feels bigger than me is telling me to just do it. Or maybe that was the Nike commercial I just heard on TV. Either way, I’ve been staring at the flyer for the retreat every time I enter the studio for the last six months feeling pulled; drawn by it. The voice inside my head keeps saying that a) I shouldn’t spend so much money on myself, b) I don’t know anyone going, c) I don’t know a word of the language. But now more than ever I realize that life doesn’t always go as planned, so maybe I should stop hesitating and eat the pasta, drink the wine, savor the cannoli. Maybe I’ll even stay an extra night to explore Milan. I’m doing it. I’m going to Italy.

August 23, 2016

Dear Journal, I’m freaking out. Heart racing, tears-pricking-at-the-corners-of-my-eyes kind of hysterics. I’m in the middle of the rainforest of Costa Rica on Djuna’s yoga retreat. I know this doesn’t sound like cause for a meltdown but there are tarantula-like spiders EVERYWHERE. In the yoga shala, along the paths to the yoga shala on webs which one needs to duck under, in my *gulp* room. I am completely out of my comfort zone and if I didn’t bring my friend Kristin along, who seems to be the only one in the group not having a conniption, I would be on the next plane back to New York. Djuna talks about Santosha during class tonight, which apparently means contentment. I’m not sure if she planned it, but what a fitting topic since most of us are anything but content. It starts to rain. At first it sounds pretty from inside the shala but then we realize we don’t have proper shoes or ponchos to get back up to the main house. After waiting it out a bit, we realize it’s not letting up — this is the rainforest, afterall — and we’ll miss dinner if we don’t get moving. We drape our mats over our heads and down our backs to shield us from the rain and slowly walk one by one with a hand on the shoulder of the person in front, flashlights in tow to get us through the dark, wet jungle. For a moment, I feel myself looking at the scene as an outsider — watching this line of women marching uphill with yoga literally protecting them from the storm in the form of rubber mats in a jungle. The irony makes me smile for the first time since getting here. Santosha.

December 3, 2017

Dear Journal, I’m writing an article about journaling for NY YOGA + LIFE Magazine’s Truth issue. I’ve been journaling since I was 13, it’s the only time I’m truly unguarded, so the topic suits me. I interviewed four women in the wellness space to discuss their own journaling methods, one of whom was Djuna. Based on the interviews, journaling and yoga seem to go hand in hand, which I’ve never thought about before. There’s something about spilling the thoughts that come up during asana onto the page that feels like tying a neat little bow on a present. I’m not sure how I will incorporate this into my own practice, it’s not like there’s tons of teachers offering journaling at the end of classes, but the thought of combining the two sounds nice.

November 23, 2019

Dear Journal, Djuna and I are leading a workshop at mang’Oh in two weeks. Story and Flow will combine coloring, journaling, vinyasa and pranayama for a creative way to turn inward and cultivate self-care. This isn’t the first workshop I’ve led, but this one feels more special than the rest — like I’ve come full circle. It’s funny, this thing called life. Six and a half years ago, I had no interest in yoga and stumbled into mang’Oh reluctantly. If someone would have told me then that someday I’d be certified to teach Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga and leading workshops, I would have spit out my water with raucous laughter. The journey hasn’t been linear: anxiety and heartbreak and spiders, oh my! Yet…santosha.

by Sabrina Moscola