Ayurveda is big on daily rituals for healing and self care. Repeating an action gently for an extended period of time allows that action to grow roots and bear desirable fruits. It’s through the slow, steady progress of ritual that we are able to consciously transform ourselves.
Ritual is more than just another word for routine. It encompasses a sacred aspect and a sense of love. And, if you’re so inclined, it can also be an act of honoring of the divine.
The intention of ritual is love. It’s about saying “I am going to do ______ because I love and care for myself.” When you use love as a motivation factor instead of stress, fear or low self-worth you create the conditions to feel more at ease, more peace.
Step 1: Make love your motivation.
This is the first step to giving your routine a greater capacity to cultivate peace.
Next is choosing the best moments for rituals. It’s important that you’re able to carve out some time to focus on yourself and what you’re doing. The time before bed and upon waking are ideal as they act like natural anchors for your day. Some other juicy opportunities for adding ritual include before/after eating, before/after bathing, arriving at work, taking your normal break or even when going to the bathroom.
You may also consider adding a ritual around a stressful event. For example, if you know that opening your email in the morning causes your stress levels to rise, then doing a loving ritual before and after reading emails can help you feel relief. This might look like getting a hot cup of herbal tea before sitting down at your computer, then doing 5 minutes of yoga after you’ve blasted through your emails.
Step 2: Identify when you’ll be doing your ritual.
Finally, decide on the activities you’ll be doing. Ayurveda and yoga give us many powerful tools to choose from, not to mention all of the other great things offered by the wellness industry. Just keep it simple. Choose a few options that seem easy or most powerful to you. Consider incorporating one new activity per week, working to get at least one activity from each category. I’ve provided a few suggestions below.
Step 3: Choose your calming activities.
Nourishment: drink calming herbal tea (Chamomile, rose, lavender), golden milk, sip warm water, get a supportive herbal formula for the mind
Movement: short yoga practice, stretch, qui gong, walk around the block, daily walk in nature, restorative yoga, cross country skiing
Contemplation: meditate, stare at the sky, watch the wind in the trees, observe animals, alone time
Breathing: breath deeply for a few minutes, even breath (inhale for the same amount of time as you exhale), cooling breath (exhale is about twice as long as inhale), So Hum (inhale and think “So”, exhale and think “Hum”), place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart while you close your eyes and feel the warmth beneath your hands for 5 minutes
Body care: take a bath in Epsom salts and lavender essential oil, massage your feet with sesame oil before bed, give yourself a full body massage 2-7x per week
Environment: keep a fresh flower by your bed, use a diffuser at home or work, declutter the space you stay the most at the beginning/end of each week, play calming music to drown out noise (or use ear plugs), eat one meal in peace and quiet, go to a rock shop and find a cool crystal to wear daily
Now that you’ve chosen some things to do that help you to feel more grounded. The next part is remembering to do them!
Step 4: Create reminders.
How will you remember to do your ritual? Here are a few suggestions to jog your memory when you’re on auto-pilot:
- Write a reminder on a sticky note (normal paper and tape work) and place it in the location where you’ll be doing your ritual
- Keep your ritual gear in an easy-to-see place so that seeing them will remind you to use them
- Add a reminder to your phone
- Create accountability by asking a caring friend to check in on your plans for creating more ritual on a weekly basis
And remember, love is the intention. As you’re doing your rituals, keep love in mind. And no need to get down on yourself if things don’t go according to plan. They won’t! But if you keep trying, then, then will.
Let me know if this is helpful or if there’s anything else I can stare to help you on your journey! I welcome your emails.