Evoking change... developing a daily practice
This last November, I was inspired to start making changes for what was left of 2011 and had begun setting my intentions for 2012. I am happy to say that as a result of that process, I have successfully been eating my veggies and fruits every day. Then in December, I committed to a 25-day Yogathon created by Teeg of Living in the (k)Now. I modified the requirements of her yogathon to fit into my life, while committing to change body, mind, and soul. My commitment was to:
practice yoga everyday - at a minimum, 5 sun/moon salutations each day (mind)
develop a daily meditation practice - 5+ minutes of seated meditation each day (soul)
eat healthier - 5 fruits/veggies each day, leveraging my November changes (body)
I found that by changing my mindset of what it meant to do yoga everyday, it was a lot easier for me to commit to practicing everyday. I also found that by not requiring myself to do more than what works out to about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes of practice, that it became easier to build my home yoga practice. There were days that my body wanted more than the 5 sun salutations and I ended up practicing at home for a lot longer, sometimes 45 minutes or an hour even. There were also days where 5 sun salutations was exactly enough.
Through this "yogathon", I also learned that I can sit and meditate without fidgeting. I would set the timer on my phone for 5 or 7 minutes the first couple days and when it would go off, I actually felt disappointed, I wanted to sit longer. So, then I increased the time 12, 15, 18 minutes and sometimes that even felt too short. I learned that I could sit, focus on my breath, and just be. It was amazing.
My preferred meditation was a Sanskrit mantra meditation, referred to as Soham or Hamsa. I would practice Soham during my yoga practice - inhale "so", exhale "ham" (like hum), as I moved through my practice. And I applied a visual that one of my yoga teachers taught me, envision on "so" energy as a bright light moving down the spine, on "ham" see the light explode and leave the body in all directions. After I completed my practice, I would come to sit and practice the inverse - Hamsa, inhale "ham", exhale "so". I'd visualize the energy moving up the spine this time. In and of itself, this mantra is suggested to be the natural mantra. It is the natural sound of inhalation and exhalation. I think this is why it resonates so much with me.
These last 9 months, I had found that I was having a lot of trouble finding my practice again, after becoming a yoga teacher. I found this yogathon to be my way of coming back to my mat and my practice. And it was a nice bit of encouragement to help me develop a meditation practice. Although I do falter some days and my practice may not be exactly what's expected, i'm learning to let that go and be happy that tomorrow is always a new day and another opportunity to come to my mat and meditation cushion.
Are there any daily practices that you have struggled with coming back to or have always wanted to develop? Are there any you "resolved" to start in 2012? What will you do to make it easier to keep them?