So, here’s the thing. A daily practice is where the magic happens for those that are Yoga practitioners. So there’s no point rolling out of bed with no clear plan in mind. Before you know it, you’ve started answering emails and hey, wait, you’re hungry! And that’s the day steam rolling ahead without any SPACE for your practice. You might think ‘I’ll do it later’ but later you’re tired. Once you’re tired, moving things out of the way and asking family to leave you alone and then finding some music. Where’s that bloody lighter for the incense?? It all seems like toooo much work for a little relaxation. Surely, it would be better to stick Broadchurch on and put your feet up? Yes, that’s a much better idea than moving furniture, hunting for missing items and providing lengthy explanations about why you are not around for half an hour.
But what if there was a five step way to bringing your daily practice into a reality?
Ayurveda is Yoga’s sister practice and it has many enlightening ideas about how Nature all fits together and how our relationship to Nature is extremely predictable. One of Ayurveda’s foundational teaching is about the five great elements. The pancha (five) maha (huuuuuge and important) bhuta (things that exist). The five great elements create the reality we see around us in a certain order.
First, to create the reality that we see around us (or the reality that we would like to see around us) is space (akasha). When we think about space, we also need to think about time. Let’s just pretend we know all about Einstein and physics and call it space-time.
So, for the next week, open up some space-time for yourself.
Pick a time each day. It can be a different time each day. Perhaps on Thursday you have an early start, but you finish early and can manage a late afternoon or an evening. And so on. Once you have a time for each day of the week, you’ll know as soon as you wake what you need to do to keep to that time. If you need to make any adjustments due to last minute plans and changes do. Don’t make it too rigid or it will be easily broken. Then decide how long you can spend. Doing what? Doing nothing for now. Just putting some time aside to be you!
Now, the next part of the practice needs to be quite organic. Don’t make any plans for what you are going to do or where you are going to be any earlier than necessary. Yoga is a listening practice and it is insensitive to ride roughshod over what may be a revelatory decision about where to be in the house or where to be outside of the house.
When the time comes for your ‘practice’ don’t practice yoga asana, pranayama or even meditation. Strange I know, but you are still trying to find your daily practice at this point and it won’t help to rush. Don’t rush a good thing! Tina Turner will tell you.
Once it is ‘time’ decide where you want to be. Under the covers? (did I mention that this is a solitary practice? It is) Do you want to be out in Nature walking? Running? Would you like to be sitting on your mat under the radiator or in a spare room with the window wide open and the fresh air rolling in? Perhaps you would like a hot water bottle or a million cushions under you (or just as many as you own). This is the ‘space’ part by the way. There’s no need to get too precious. After all, you aren’t going to do anything in particular. You’re just going to sit in it, lie in it, wander in it or be still, but above all be quiet in it. Are you wondering/worrying that you booked too much time for this now? Have you never given yourself a whole heap of time and space to just sit and think? And stare out of the window? And wonder? Wonder at yourself and everything around you? To daydream.
This may not be the gorgeous delicious time out that you were originally planning. Perhaps once you start you just start worrying or fretting or feeling guilty or feeling entirely fed up that you are not good at this or feeling angry at me for supplying such a stupid suggestion at how you can spend your valuable time. Perhaps you feel good but can’t understand why it’s helpful to simply feel good or maybe you feel connected but you want to know what to do next. You feel the need to know the how and the why to this ‘doing nothing’? Perhaps the whole experience feels utterly blissful…..until next door’s dog started barking. ‘Stupid dog. Ruined it!’. Don’t try to change how you feel. Just notice it.
Perhaps this is what has been underneath your physical practice all the time?
It’s all good. The good is good, the bad is good. It’s all useful……and it’s only for a few days. Soon, we’ll get moving. But for now, just notice yourself. Check yourself!