Vision Book Project

Living Yoga Themes

I recently taught back-to-back Hatha & Yin classes at South Granville YYoga for 3 weeks in a row. Through the 6 classes, I explored different categories from a Vision Book project. My friend Heidi Fitzpatrick, a local massage therapist, shared this project with me, and as promised, I am sharing it with you!

Vision Book Project


Journal about and write goals for the six categories below:

1) Health & Wellness
2) Social & Cultural
3) Financial & Career
4) Education & Mental
5) Home & Family
6) Spiritual & Ethical

Write the goals in the positive (articulate what you want rather than what you don’t) and in complete detail (for example, instead of “a new home”, specify “a 2-bedroom condo, on Main Street, with a balcony and garden, etc.). Write goals that really allow you to visualize what you want to move towards. You want to give the subconscious mind a detailed set of instructions to work on.


Answer these questions:
1) How do these goals reflect your values?
2) Do your values come through in some areas and not others?


Gather items to create your Vision Book – the book itself, crayons, markers, paint, words and images from magazines and newspapers, drawings, etc.


Focus the Vision. This step is about heart-centred discrimination, selectivity, and choice making. You’ll likely gather a mass of stuff to create your book. Ask the question of each image, word or phrase: Does this express my innermost wishes, my values,  and my heart?  Only use it for your book if the answer is yes.


Compose the design of images and pictures (keep words off until Step 7). Assemble them on the pages without glueing them yet.


Create! Go ahead and glue, draw and paint images, etc. The project doesn’t need to look any specific way – make it your own!


Articulate the vision. In Visioning, it isn’t quite enough to simply make a collage of images – you want to gain deeper insight. Stepping back and looking at all the images and pictures after they’re compiled can be like reading poetry or deciphering symbols; you might see all kinds of things you didn’t notice before! Sit back, reflect on the images you’ve compiled, and contemplate: What does it say? Any surprises? Any resistance?

One question to avoid is: How am I going to make this happen? Anxiety and fear block creative energy. Allow the dreams to materialize. Journal writing activities can be used here for further clarification.


Reinforce the vision/dream. As with verbal affirmations, the vision book establishes and reinforces a desired goal or experience. Add the words in or phrases.

Step back and review and reflect again answering these questions:

1) What visual elements did you choose and how do they reflect your goals?
2) Which image stands out the most to you and why?
3) How are the patterns and themes of images in connection of each other?
4) Anything new or different meaning to you now from what you intended?
5) What has changed for you after spending time focusing on your goals?

Listen to the Story of Your Heart

Awareness Living Yoga Svadhyaya

Sarah Jamieson Yoga

How do we stay committed to moving our lives in the direction we want to go?

From a yogic perspective, we begin with a practice of svadhyaya (self-study) – specifically, by attempting to clarify what we really want. This clarifying can be a challenging practice because as you probably already know: what you think you want isn’t always what you actually want.

In our lives, most of us are regularly bombarded with messages suggesting that we should want and value things like youth, thin bodies, fancy clothes, expensive cars, and electronic gadgets. If we aren’t consistently clarifying what we value, the primary messages we receive about values may be the suggested values around us. And, as a result, we might set goals based on these values – rather than ensuring they arise from our own values.

Facebook is ripe with opportunities to feel desire based on things you don’t actually value. I see people posting pictures and telling stories of glamorous lives, and sometimes I am overcome by a sense of inadequacy. I feel discouraged about my own life, and I think that I must have made mistakes in life because I don’t have what some of my Facebook friends have. A sense of scarcity and lack fuels my thoughts and my reactive desires.

In moments like these ones, I have to consistently remind myself of my own values.

I recently read the book Words Can Change Your Brain, and in this book, the authors encourage their readers to actively and regularly reflect on this question:

What is my deepest, innermost value?

Reflecting on your answers to this question is an example of how you might practice svadhyaya. When you take time to define your own values, the influence of suggested values begins to decrease, and the story of what your own heart desires begins to take shape. Clarifying your own values needs to be the foundation for setting your directional goals, so that your goals reflect what you actually want. When this is the case, suggested values are less distracting, and the perception that your Facebook friends have fancier lives becomes less distressing.

Staying committed to moving your life in the direction you want to go becomes less of an issue when your goals align with the way your heart desires to move. The times when you do struggle to move with your values are an opportunity to deepen your practice of svadhyaya. Some things you might consider include:

Are other values arising?

Goals are decisions you make, based on your values, to guide your life in certain direction. But life is not black and white, and different values might guide you in different directions. I might have a goal to lose weight to support my value for health and well-being. But I might also choose to indulge in a potluck with friends because I have a value for connecting over shared experiences. We practice yoga so that we can arrive presently in each moment and act according to what we believe and to what we value.

What am I feeling?

When we are too young to physically leave a situation that causes us pain, we often cope by shutting down our feelings or by turning to something that soothes us. For many of us, those patterns become deeply ingrained habits that we carry into adulthood. If you consistently find yourself engaging in behaviour that doesn’t align with your values or support your goals, consider that it is an attempt to soothe yourself. Time spent addressing and honouring your emotional landscape will help you move away from mindlessly and habitually engaging in coping behaviours.

What is my deepest, innermost value?

Values change and evolve in response to life experience. For example, life threatening experiences can profoundly shift the direction people want to move in their lives. If you are struggling to stay committed to a goal, consider the possibility that you have had a change of heart. Maybe what mattered to you when you originally set the goal isn’t as important to you any more; maybe the story of your heart has changed since you last sat down and listened.

As you explore these possible obstacles, bring compassion to the process and honour that svadhyaya (self-study) is a life long practice. Your obstacles are simply an opportunity to more deeply understand yourself.


Sarah Jamieson

Photo Credit: Chris Yakimov