Sometimes relying on a solid structure can help bring a little more ease and happiness into our lives. The trick is to use the benefits of structure as a gateway toward feeling safe in the unknown.
As the poet Rumi writes, “This being human is a Guest House, every day a new arrival.” One never knows what emotions may arise—we cannot control the natural fluctuation of our vibrant heart, the ongoing flow of feelings and thoughts. What we can do, however, is work with our mind by accepting its nature and with our body by strengthening and opening it so that it is both powerful and spacious enough to welcome all sorts of interesting thoughts and sensations. A diligent yoga practice can help cultivate a sense of stability, trust, and ease in dealing with the unexpected.
How does one lay the foundation for a steady practice? A new year is not our only cue: Each new breath is an opportunity for refreshing.
Beginnings can be exciting because they help us find that childlike sense of wonder. Initially one might feel a deep sense of motivation and energy that helps take that first step, but eventually routine might become boring if not properly addressed. Two elements are essential in order to fully achieve your goal: diligence and the energy to stick with it.
With daily practice the physical work will become second nature and the mind will gain the ability to focus, trust, and let go. The repetition of a single routine will also bring changes to the body’s strength and flexibility. The trick is to work with no expectations of what you may achieve, but just with consistency. Humbly acknowledge and invite every emotion in without discrimination—simply observe and accept.
I invite you to practice the sequence below every day for 28 days. Set a start date and write it down, look up an end date, and circle it on your calendar, then every day after practicing, circle the day you are on and notice. Let your fingers touch a pen and paper. Make that little effort to reconnect to the basics. Notice each feeling, the change in your body depending on the circumstances, the day of the week; never judging, just listening. Lastly, try not to talk about it too much. Let this be your personal discovery, a secret you share with you and your body. Let the benefits of it reflect in the way you interact with yourself and others. And then if, and only if, the secret must be shared, you will know and trust who too can benefit.
A Yoga Sequence for Building a Daily Practice
The following sequence will wake up the body and activate essential muscles to infuse your day with stability and openness. Pay special attention to the use of the block and the floor when gliding in and through each pose. How is the block helping you create more length and strength? The block acts like a second pair of eyes. Because there is nobody there to check your alignment, you can use the block as a way to realign your posture. Make a mental and physical note of the sensations. If certain feelings arise, just let them in through your inhale and out through your exhale.
Also from our partner The Surprising Things I Learned by Starting a Daily Yoga Practice