Vishva-ji, Eila Devi and the teaching team are preparing to start the winter season of Training at the Ashram next week with the arrival of the new YTT 200 studnets. Having taught the program many times, they still come to the group and the experience of the program fresh each time. This is one of the keys to joy through Yoga – coming to each day and each experience fresh and enjoying it as a new moment full of curiosity and enthusiasm.
We can do exactly this each day by living as ritual. Rather than becoming bored with routine tasks and going into autopilot, this repetition is exactly when we can drop into a deeper awareness and savour it all the more.
To understand more about how to do this, let’s look at the components of ritual:
- An opening or invocation of space in the now, drawing in the energy and an acknowledging of participants
- Bringing full awareness to the ritual experience through:
- Slowing down
- Keen attention
- Rhythm and repetition
- Curiosity and awe
- Sealing the experience with gratitude
These three steps can be practiced to bookend a discrete ritual event, a whole YTT program, a day in your life as well as specific encounters during each day. When you wake up in the morning, take a few moments to breathe yourself into the day. Connect with the directions and the pranas: grounding, uplifting, centring, expansion and connection to the Whole. Experience these as both eternally abiding and yet fresh and new in your experience of it in this unique moment.
In each part of the day, whether a meal, a meeting, being in transit to the next event of the day, keep in mind the princeples of acknowleding those present (even if you’re out in public – acknowledging the people around you internally, energetically), slowing down and keeping your whole attention to the moment-to-moment experience with curiosity and openness, and sealing each micro-experience as it comes to a close. If you’re leaving the bus, mindfully moving past others, mentally noting ‘I’m leaving the bus, thank you for sharing this journey’.
Sometimes when we’re new to this practice, we get bogged down in the attention part and it takes on a sombre tone. Remember when you bring yourself fully present to the fresh moment to get curious, bring in the playful and joyful attitude – imagine you’re on holiday in a new place – you may even notice something about your environment and the people in it that you never quite appreciated before.
At the end of the day, having already moved through acknowledging, experiencing and sealing through, you’ll come into the final closing of the day. You might want to have a gratitude circle with your family as a lights-out routine or simply remember to thank the universe for the time and ability to be fully present to it all. Self massage or even patting yourself down from crown to toes is a lovely way to seal the day.
Through living as ritual, I hope you’ll feel increased connection to others, increased joy for the small moments, the routine actions, and enthusiasm and excitement to embrace the day for what it has to offer.
Living Ritual at Sanctum Retreat
Join Vishva-ji and Prem at the annual Akhanda Retreat in Alberta this May! A retreat is a great time to experience living as ritual, to slow down and to joyfully soak in the community, the practice, and the natural environment. Sanctum retreat has been lovingly renovated and the vaulted yoga room is even more spacious and uplifting. Celebrate the new decade and fresh visions for 2020 at this vibrant 2-day gathering, which many consider a yearly event not to be missed!
When: May 29 – 31, 2020