ESTABLISHING ROUTINES AND CREATING A (YOGA) PRACTICE FOR DAILY LIFE
Whilst looking out at the quaint and quiet crescent green from my new home in North Yorkshire, I am beginning to settle in nicely to a new lifestyle, a new location, and new routines. I have seen my parents most days since I arrived 4 weeks ago as they live just 15 mins drive, compared to 4hrs for the last 26 years, this will become a new routine for me as they embrace their best and Golden Years. This was a HUGE move for me to be closer to them and a big adaptation to a lifestyle I had created and shaped living in and around London.
To coincide with losing some of my own routines and creating new ones in Yorkshire, our class theme last month was all about ‘Establishing a Routine’, not just in our yoga practice, but within daily life. This included systematic, structured, and often repeated rituals and sequences within our Yoga practice & classes.
To be able to create a new routine, a new routine takes practice!
Humans are creatures of habit, and just as it takes 20 years or more to develop our adult personalities, we’re developing behaviours and habits that will stay with us for a lifetime. Unfortunately, some of those behaviours and habits are not always healthy or helpful and some may cause long-term challenges as we move forward in our lives. Changing a behaviour or habit is not done overnight. If it took 20 years to learn, it’s likely it will take an equally significant (if not the same) amount of time to “unlearn” or to change a habit.
During the past two years I have no doubt your own ’schedule’ or ‘routine’ has adapted and diversified from the high level of uncertainty as to what we can & can’t do and when & where we can do it. What slipped from your routine during this time that has not found a way back to your diary just yet? Or, you have built new habits and routines during this time; some you wish to keep, some maybe not so much. The one constant you may already have is your Yoga; daily, weekly, monthly or an annual retreat, your yoga practice can always be added to and complemented. By creating your own self-practice, finding time for morning meditation, or following other Yoga paths, yoga doesn’t just have to be Asana or on the mat! It could be finding a passion volunteering and the selfless service of Karma, or 5 min breathing technique before you go to sleep for your Pranayama. You may even have regular rituals that you do before you come to your mat, washing, placing your mat, water, or props in a certain way. All are your Yoga practice!
To help us align with a manageable and realistic personal Yoga practice I have listed some things you can try for yourself to work towards establishing a fulfilling daily routine. I’m not suggesting doing all of them, nor are they led by time or length of activity; clocks are not important, but to be able to fit this into your own daily schedule is critical. The simplest routines to change are the smallest ones that mean the least to you. For some, it might be adding a smoothie or chia seeds to your breakfast or going for a walk each day. For others, it may be to read a book or to call/visit a loved one each week. The real key to changing routines isn’t to swap out existing routines for new ones, but rather to challenge yourself each day, or at least once a week, with something different or new.
What can you do to add a little Yoga practice to your daily life?
- Introduce 5-10 mins of meditation or breathwork into your day
- Eat at the same times throughout the day
- Create a Yoga sequence that supports you, which you can repeat each day
- Take 5-10 mins in Savasana or put your legs up the wall at the end of your day
- Go to bed at the same time each night
Reminding ourselves of the quote, both from Aristotle and William Durrant –
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Or put simply, excellence is a habit, and that is why we call ‘Yoga a practice’. The modern phrase of ‘Eat, Sleep, X, Repeat’ says it all, and could be used for anything that we wish to create as a practice or routine… what is your ‘X’?