It can be safely assumed that our daily rituals are the foundation of our self growth. How we behave and the choices we make, however consciously or unconsciously, shape our path as we zig zag our way through the maze of life. Of course, epiphany-like AHA! moments do come sometimes, but the majority of our spirituality develops in the very place we least notice it: in the fine details of our everday routine.
A wise philosophy teacher once told me that we should choose our practice and stick with it for good. Meaning, life-long commit to it, whatever that may entail. It could mean for some of us a weekly Kriya, a nightly prayer, a daily sunrise meditation…anything that we feel balances us, cleanses us, and most importantly, propels us forward on our internal development as human beings.
Upon hearing this suggestion to never change our spiritual routine, I sat there, somewhat skeptical of what my teacher had just said. I wondered aloud, “what if I decide after five years that this pranayama/yoga/kriya no longer interests me? And won’t anything eventually get boring?”
His answer was quite simple: if you’re bored, add something new! But keep your foundation consistant.
As a transient person myself, having lived in 5 countries in the last 6 years, I know restlessness and boredom quite well. I am used to the fast pace of moving, the ever changing smells and sounds of new places. But the longer I follow this teacher’s advice- that is, practicing the same pranayama and meditation every day, the more important this routine becomes to me.
At first your regular practice may seem monotonous or restrictive. After a while it becomes more comfortable and enjoyable. Eventually, when you integrate it into your life consistantly, it becomes as necessary and natural as brushing your teeth in the morning.
We live in a world that desires and promotes instant gratification. Our throw-away society exalts what is new and detests what is old. We are constantly bombarded with messages of wanting more, as well as owning, doing, even being the latest trend. It is no wonder that we modern humans struggle so much with finding beauty in repetition.
Lots of people say, “I would really like to ________, but I don’t have the time!”
Start small and keep it simple. You don’t need to do an hour and a half of yoga everyday- begin with just 10 minutes of sun salutation every morning, or just 5 minutes of conscious deep yogic breathing. Time is all we have, and how we spend it is our choice.
It’s important to remember that no matter where we are or what we’re doing- we can nearly always make time for our daily rituals. Whether it means practicing pranayama on the train, doing a round of Ashtanga in the airport during our layover, or working on a standing balance posture in the breakroom at lunchtime, we have the power to distribute our time according to our priorities.
There is always room for addition- for experimenting, trying something new. But having a solid base to hold the weight of all you build for yourself is like having an anchor securely on the ocean floor while the sea of life twists and turns. When you find your own flow, you feel it. You and only you know when something is good for you. So when you have found your routine and are ready to really immerse yourself in your decided practice, stick with it, and it will ground you through the trials and tribulations of this wonderful, unpredictable life you have been given.