Tips for a Daily Practice
By Rachel Grey
The advantages of a daily practice are demonstrated in spiritual practices of almost every nature. Playing an instrument or learning a language are best learned through regular practice. So how to keep up practicing regularly without “falling off the wagon?”
Being kinder to ourselves, not overly demanding or expecting perfection or constant progression all of the time. Acceptance for how and where we are is the first step to real growth
Like in nature, plants have a flowering period and periods where the growth is less. This allows the ebb and flow to fluctuate creating a realistic, practical approach.
Grow with the seasons
Like the change in seasons, so there is change in the body. Allow the changes to take place instead of aiming for eternal summertime. Allow winter to bring us into our core to replenish and contain energy, before expanding out and flowering into springtime. A woman’s cycle can be likened to the seasons, and surely men have their rhythms too; observe and allow them to happen.
Don’t be afraid to try something new, if it’s done gradually enough anything is possible. Tiny steps lead to bigger steps. But tiny steps can only happen with regularity, otherwise you have big dramatic leaps, which aren’t easy to face each time!
Open the mind
If something is deemed ‘impossible’ in the mind, it can cause the body to follow suit, first open up to possibilities in the mind, which in turn gives the body a chance to follow.
If the mind is overly striving for a particular goal there can be some loss of awareness and integrity in and of the journey itself (not yoga). Sure there can be a goal but beware it doesn’t cloud the joy of the journey.
Just having a goal that is acknowledged in a relaxed state at one point during the day / month can lodge the goal (Sankalpa) into the higher aspect of the mind trust the higher mind to take care of it, enjoy taking small steps each day.
- Have a practice space and time that is set aside for you.
- If practicing in the morning try setting out equipment and clothes the night before.
- If practicing in a cold climate, taking a warm shower and warming the room can help.
- If practicing in a warm climate, taking a cooler shower to wake up beforehand can help.
- Organize time around practice in advance so that life doesn’t interfere.
- Make the practice shorter than you hope it to be on the first day, by half.
- Sustain the short practice regularly for a week.
- Then, build up a few minutes onto it each day until it’s full.
- Don’t be afraid of cutting the length down if necessary (non attachment!)
- Eat foods which are highly nourishing, super-foods can help.
- Drink plenty of water and slowly to hydrate to optimum levels.
- Become conscious of breathing during and outside of practice.
- Identify and eliminate unnecessary drains of time and energy from life.
Practice from the heart!