Ritualizing your Yoga Practice to Create Calm and Consistency

Every morning I drink a cup of water out of one of my (many) favorite mugs while I stand and look out the window (seeing how the lilac grows) and let the hot water kettle get my coffee water boiling. After that I put on a wiggly song and get my coffee brewing and stretch out my shoulders and sleep-stiff body while I wait to push down my coffee and have a hot cup all ready to go. Often the little blonde and pink bobbed heads of my daughters are milling around me, a dance partner might join in, and the kitten threads my ankles as I find a forward fold across ancient wood floors. I’m present. The interruptions, voices, and little lips stealing first sips are all part of the ritual. My presence, reverence, and deep breaths invite them in. 

Ritual doesn’t only have to accompany the full moon, season change, or life event. It can wrap itself along your morning routine, dinner table, and even your yoga practice. 

Ritual in my day to day is taking something I do daily and adding in more weight and care. Making the average turn sacred by adding intention. It’s an opportunity to slow down, add value, and find focus and alignment in my everyday habits. Ritual doesn’t only have to accompany the full moon, season change, or life event. It can wrap itself along your morning routine, dinner table, and even your yoga practice. 

I take great slow joy in grinding my coffee beans, scooping them, pouring in hot water, and adding my frothed milk. This is a habit in the past that has looked like a sloppily poured cup, a splash of milk, and phone scrolling throughout. But during quarantine I’ve worked to add in extra ritual to my life. This is partially because, well… I’ve sure got the time! But it’s also because I was looking for grounding, meaning, and connection. Finding some significance in my day-to-day has become really important to my mental health and feelings of consistency in an ever changing landscape. 

Ritualizing your yoga practice can look many different ways. It can be as simple as how you prepare to practice. Laying your mat out, smoothing the ripples, folding your blanket, and putting the kitten out of your room so you can practice (just me?). Maybe it’s a bit more – lighting a candle, burning incense, placing a hand on your heart and dedicating your time. Rituals are personal, devotional, and possible for you to add in slowly.

Launching into ritual can feel overwhelming, and create a negative thought pattern if you don’t “do it right.” Instead, let go fo the idea that there is a right or wrong way to do it, and start by adding in one small piece of intention to your practice — this is enough. The thoughtful arrangement of your props. The closing of a door. Arriving in your space. 

Creating ritual around timing (morning/evening) or attending the same classes weekly can also help you find rooted consistency in your practice’s growth, as well as in your ability to cultivate space for your practice to be a priority. When this becomes your ritual, it also trickles into being seen by your family/ partner/ housemates as your time to be respected. 

One way that I’ve realized my yoga practice, even with kids, pets, a working at home partner, and a very small space, is by adding in a moment, in my seat, of silence. Where I practice isn’t consistent, neither is when or with whom. The oils I diffuse, the candles I light, the mantra’s I repeat, they’re all ever changing. But regardless of where I am, or what I am practicing or teaching, I close my eyes, put both hands on my heart, and take a few long breaths. That alone, is ritual. 

I let my lack of consistency be a barrier to ritual for many years. Believing that if I couldn’t do a full moon tarot reading every full moon, then it wasn’t worth doing one at all. This eroded my confidence, my connection to my own inner wisdom, and ultimately it served to create even less motivation to be present and hold ritual as important. As I’ve slowly embraced that rituals can evolve, come and go, and cease to serve all in one season, I’ve been able to find more and more spaces to honor my desire for more ritual connection. 

The rituals that fuel us will evolve. And what we need now is NEW. Many of us are feeling anchorless, and in need of connection. We reach out to zoom, and friends through text, but sometimes the most nourishing way to ground is with yourself. Ritual gives you the power to create sacred in-your-home habits. If you’re feeling adrift or without connection in this time, I encourage you heartily to do something (your morning drink, your breakfast, the way you unload your groceries, the way you call your pets to you for mealtime, how you water the garden, the way you make your bed, or the way you practice with us) with a sacred sense of connection and slowed down presence. Ritual. 

If you add any new ritual to your life, or you have rituals that are serving you thoroughly right now, we would love to hear about them! Share with the community on Facebook, or the comments here. I hope you are all well, cozy, and cared for. We miss you deeply.

Autumn Baughn brings play and into her teaching and is passionate about making yoga accessible to all. She teaches Gentle, Intuitive, and Dynamic class here with us at 3 OMS, as well as avidly Instagrams over @awholestory. Click here to learn more about Autumn and see her teaching schedule.

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