I happened upon this statement a few months ago. I’m not sure where, but it attached itself deep in my psyche … “my life is a ritual.” I placed those words on my message board so I could ponder them for a while and I’ve concluded for myself that the statement is true, but my thoughts around ritual are different now. The dictionary defines ritual in this way: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order Essentially, what I believed ritual to be in the past: a long, elaborate set of rules and actions, has changed. The statement also made me ponder ritual vs. getting stuck in my ways, in life … going through the motions. This is something I wish least for myself. As I ruminated on the statement, I thought about my daily morning ritual. I look forward to the morning more than any other time of day. The freshness, the possibility, the gift of ‘beginning again’ each day literally ignites my soul. I also love the idea of honoring the rhythm of the days and seasons and a morning ritual invites that. My morning ritual consists of naturally rising at sunrise, slowly, mindfully making tea, standing…
I found these beautiful mantras in Mantra Magazine and just knew I needed to include them in my Commonplace Book. Whenever I'm feeling down or less than, I flip to my mantra page for an attitude adjustment.
I have collected and filled notebooks for years, mostly recording things I was learning, other times journaling or Morning Pages. Beginning in my teens, I continued sporadically, and by my late twenties, I was deep into yoga and yogic philosophy, filling several notebooks with wisdom. I didn't know there was a name for what I was doing until a few years ago. I ran across the Bullet Journal concept which covered bits of it, but it didn't address all of the note-taking I had been doing for years. A Commonplace Book is the name given to small notebooks that house notes, learnings, anecdotes and more. I consistently keep a Commonplace Book with Bullet Journal elements so all of my stuff is tidy in one space.
My mornings are sacred—hot tea, meditation, reflection, gratitude practice, reading, journaling. Its my favorite part of every day & I am ‘off’ if I go too many days without this time. Its a ritual I started about ten years ago as I began to teach yoga, and I’m so glad i did.
Another chant I learned a few years ago that still sticks with me is "Om Namah Shivaya Gurave," the Anusara Invocation, though I'm not an 'Anusara Yogi.' To me it's beautiful, and I love the meaning. Find the chant, translation and my version below.
A few years ago I learned to chant the Gayatri Mantra with the intention of doing so for my students during Savasana. I did so just before I stopped teaching group classes. Since that time I've continued to chant it simply because I think it's beautiful. To learn the chant, I found a few versions I liked online, learned the lyrics and melody and just started practicing. I thought I’d write a post in case anyone else is interested in learning it. Below are the words, translation and my version of the chant.
"letting go doesn't mean forgetting; it means we stop carrying the energy of the past into the present" (yung pueblo) Yes, yes and more yes; this resonates deeply but how do we actually DO IT? From my experience, it seems something 'just happens,' a shift suddenly occurs OR we struggle for so long that we eventually must ritualize a new energy into our consciousness ... we must physically do something different, poetic, scary, out-of-character.
Weare creatures of habit. We go about our days unaware of the stuckness of routine until it feels hard to break free. Yet it’s in the breaking that real change occurs. A certain level of sameness is good. Morning routines make us more productive. Moving every day is great for physical and mental health. Particular sleep schedules that are optimal for us individually should remain. But what routines do you keep that don’t serve you? In what ways are you going through the motions? If you “do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.”
Ever reach the end of the day and wonder where it went? Do you feel exhausted by lunchtime? Or feel like all you do is run around catering for others when you get home from work? Family, school, work and extracurricular activities fall top of the priority for most of us. But what about you? Shouldn’t YOU be at the top of YOUR list too? How are you meeting your self-care needs? “I don’t have time,” or “I guess I never really thought about it,” are the top answers I hear the most with my students and clients. My immediate response? “If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how well you are really taking care of everyone else?” Constantly going, working from a never-ending to do list without any rest is taxing on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Our bodies are beautifully designed to achieve balance and the ANS is a fine example of it. On one side is the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which elicits a ‘rest and digest’ response, and the opposite is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), aka the “fight or flight” response that automatically kicks in during an emergency or a crisis. Unfortunately, in our Western culture, many of us constantly…