What do you consider a daily ritual?
It might not seem like it, but each one of us already has certain daily rituals. Each morning, we brush our teeth, without thinking, because having clean teeth is seen as a basic necessity for a good-feeling body. We also usually have a shower, and get dressed. All of these things are part of our daily rituals of caring for our body.
But what about our mind and spirit?
It’s important that we consciously take the time care for our inner selves. That is, the mental, emotional, and spiritual, in addition to our physical well being.
A committed daily ritual means exactly this. It’s the act of taking a step back from the noise and bustle of our external circumstances, to deeply acknowledge and care for ourselves.
Choosing the right rituals for you
An idea repeated through various Eastern traditions is the idea of committing to two practices; a stillness practice such as prayer or meditation, and a movement practice such as yoga, or jogging. A combination of the two, will promote a sense of balance. The two kinds of practices will have overlapping but different teachings.
A stillness practice can allow a learning to just tap into the truth of how you’re feeling, to experience the present moment and to observe the movements of the mind – promoting a sense of gentle detachment. On the other hand, a movement practice will allow you to find your grounding, to connect with your body and the earth.
What’s most important here is that you choose practices which you resonate with, so you’re willing to make them a daily practice. For example, if you’ve been drawn to yin yoga and daily affirmations, then definitely explore them! Notice what happens when you give yourself fully to them.
Some stillness practices…
- Daily affirmations
- Gratitude practice
Some movement Practices…
- Martial arts
- Movement expression
- Ecstatic dance/ 5 rhythms dance
Which rituals do you think may benefit you? Which areas of life do you need a boost? Does any one particular ritual resonate with you? During retreats at Happy Buddha, you’ll have the chance to experience a combination of stillness and movement practices – with meditation and yoga classes, as well as our (ridiculously fun) drumming circle!
TIP: To make commitment a little easier, consider your practice as the supreme act of self-care, a restorative act. Try to look forward to it!
If you choose to create some new rituals for yourself, it’s important to:
- Decide why you are starting this new ritual: what are the benefits?
- Set aside the same time each day to practice the ritual
- Make a commitment to yourself that you will do it each day
- Practice your ritual and notice how you feel afterwards and throughout the following day
- Don’t try and begin ten new rituals in one week; instead, try incorporating just one or two and then adding and subtracting others slowly until you have some rituals in place that work for you
- If you fall of your ritual wagon, don’t berate yourself, just pick it up again the next day
- At the end of the week do a check-in with yourself and see how you are feeling. How did your daily ritual change your outlook, if it did?
Focus on the bigger picture
We’re all guilty of resisting the commitment to exercise, healthy eating…and all sorts of other things that we know are good for us! Daily rituals are no different. The ‘trick’ here, involves a perspective shift. If we ‘surrender’ control, our ritual simply becomes a non-negotiable part our day.
Once you make this commitment, your life will start to change. Your daily rituals can create a balance, which carries on into other spheres of your life. This might not happen overnight, but eventually you’ll get there! You’ll find yourself in a place where you can feel a difference after skipping even one day’s practice.
Then, one day you will simply arrive. Circumstances might be exactly the same, but they’ll feel different somehow. Within you, there will be a new space of quiet acceptance and peace, which carries you through, without the need for anything else to push you forward. You’ll achieve a sense of truly being present within the moment, the effects of which you can carry with you for the remainder of your day.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018… but we’ve added to it!
Michelle is a writer, musician, meditation and yoga teacher based in Melbourne. She teaches mindfulness courses and leads yoga retreats. She runs her own business called Inner Alchemy and is available as a coach and mentor.